Due to the psychoactive nature of kratom, it’s been banned in Sweden.
Only a select few countries remain skeptical towards kratom and impose laws that prohibit its use. Most parts of the world have rescinded these outdated laws — but Sweden is not one of them.
Here’s a look at kratom’s history in Sweden, why people are afraid to use it, and if it’s really as dangerous as people think.
Kratom Legality in Sweden & Elsewhere
Kratom is illegal in Sweden. Mitragynine (kratom’s main active alkaloid) is named in the Regulation (1992:1554) On the Control of Drugs.
Kratom became a controlled substance in Sweden in 2016, thanks to their Comprehensive Strategy for Alcohol, Narcotics, Doping, and Tobacco. This was the same year that the U.K. banned the usage of kratom.
Before the ban went into effect, kratom was available and often consumed in a popular product called Krypton. However, this product was contaminated with the potent mu-receptor agonist O-desmethyltramadol and ended up causing the death of nine people .
We already know that kratom shouldn’t be mixed with opioids unless under direct medical guidance (such as for weaning off an opiate addiction).
The Krypton tragedy is a good reason why it’s critical you’re only buying kratom from reputable brands that don’t adulterate their products with opiates for the sake of making them stronger. Always check for third-party labs before you buy, and make sure the product you’re ordering doesn’t contain anything beyond pure, powdered kratom leaf.
Kratom Laws Around the World
Kratom comes from Southeast Asia, indigenous to countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
In Thailand, planting kratom was banned as of 1943. In 1979, they went much further by banning the use and sale of kratom.
This was widely seen as a way for Thailand to remain in control of a roaring opium market. As of 2018, Thailand has reversed its ban, and kratom can once again be legally bought and sold throughout the country.
Indonesia is planning to ban kratom as of 2024. If this truly happens, the global kratom supply will dwindle quickly. In the meantime, kratom’s proponents have a few years to mount a defense of the substance.
Malaysia also has a ban in place, but it’s not very effective. Certain groups are trying to enact harsher control of kratom. However, the plant grows in Malaysia naturally, so it’s relatively easy for someone to access it.
The World Health Organization & Kratom
Kratom had a big win in December 2021 when the World Health Organization (WHO) reviewed the evidence and found no reason to put kratom on the list of controlled substances. Governments don’t have to listen to the WHO, but many tend to abide by its suggestions. Time will only tell what this means for future legislation regarding kratom.
Can I Buy Kratom in Sweden?
There are currently no legal places in Sweden where you can buy kratom.
Even though it’s illegal, there will always be people who have kratom to sell in Sweden. However, these are illicit traders, and it’s impossible to know exactly what you’re getting; it has a high risk of being adulterated. In other words, it could be mixed with anything, including substances that are highly addictive.
Why is Kratom Banned in Sweden (& Other Countries)?
There are several different reasons that kratom is banned. For the most part, though, most governments say it’s for public safety.
It may also be that kratom has been banned to protect the interests of pharmaceutical companies, but there’s no way to prove that either way.
Since at least the 19th century, people have been using kratom for traditional medicine. It could lead to a major income source if kratom becomes more widely recognized and legalized.
Known Side Effects of Kratom
It’s rare for a moderate user to experience any side effects.
Kratom is well-tolerated when used responsibly and on its own. Those who regularly consume large amounts or mix their kratom with other substances can experience unpleasant effects, including possible overdose.
Some of the most common side effects of kratom include:
Some people can become addicted to kratom; although it takes a lot more to become addicted to kratom than heroin and other opioids, there are some telltale signs. The most important thing to look for is the blackening of the skin, in particular around the cheeks.
Kratom Use: A Quick History
Opioid-based painkillers have their place, but they’ve been far over-prescribed, resulting in an opioid epidemic. As a result, many individuals are looking for a healthier substitute.
People in Southeast Asia have traditionally used kratom to treat various issues, including fever, insomnia, and diarrhea. They use it for social and religious purposes as well. We don’t know exactly how long this has been in practice, but it dates back to at least the 19th century.
One thing that has made kratom so popular is its opioid-like properties, but it doesn’t come with the risk of respiratory failure. Additionally, opioids are far more likely to be addictive, especially because of how fast a tolerance builds up.
Kratom Deaths: Can Kratom be Fatal?
As long as you use it responsibly, kratom is safe and doesn’t seem to have any fatal side effects.
However, if you mix kratom with opioids or other substances, it becomes dangerous.
Scientists who study kratom have discovered that it’s almost always found post-mortem along with other substances. For example, mixing it with an opioid has led to several deaths .
What is the Correct Dosage for Kratom?
The dose will vary depending on what effects you’re after, along with other factors. In order to get the most accurate amount, use this kratom dosing guide and calculator.
Usually, the dose will fall between 2-12 g. If you take less than 2 g, you’re microdosing. Taking more than 12 g is not recommended as it makes you more susceptible to addiction and other issues.
Each person’s physiology also impacts how much kratom they can take. Therefore, it’s best to start with no more than 2 g and see how it makes you feel.
How to Take Kratom Safely
There are many ways to take kratom safely, so it comes down to your personal preference. Here are the most popular ways to take kratom:
- Brew the powder into tea
- Use a kratom tincture (make your own, if you’re feeling adventurous)
- Toss and wash
Never mix kratom with painkillers, as those can have an especially bad interaction. View other medications critically to determine if they’ll cause problems.
One of the most important things is always to buy your kratom from a well-respected online vendor. The best vendors test their kratom, and they’ve also earned their reputation by selling high-quality products. You can check a variety of platforms to see what vendors are recommended.
Key Takeaway: Is Kratom Legal in Sweden?
Kratom is illegal in Sweden.
Sweden’s ban was put in place during the last decade, but with the WHO’s recent take on kratom, maybe the laws will shift in Sweden and other parts of the world.
At present, though, there is no way to purchase kratom in Sweden legally. Your best choice for obtaining kratom would be to go to a nearby country where it is legal.
Remember: kratom can be taken safely and is generally well-tolerated if people don’t take more than 12 g. This is vastly different than opioids, which can cause a crippling addiction and may even kill you.
- Kronstrand, R., Roman, M., Thelander, G., & Eriksson, A. (2011). Unintentional fatal intoxications with mitragynine and O-desmethyltramadol from the herbal blend Krypton. Journal of analytical toxicology, 35(4), 242-247.
- Henningfield, J. E., Grundmann, O., Babin, J. K., Fant, R. V., Wang, D. W., & Cone, E. J. (2019). Risk of death associated with kratom use compared to opioids. Preventive medicine, 128, 105851.