💀 NJ lawmaker wants to regulate a controversial, potentially dangerous herb
💀 Kratom can increase alertness but it can also make you psychotic
💀 Right now kratom is sold in many forms with no controls

Some New Jersey residents describe it as being similar to an LSD trip while others have suffered psychotic episodes after using it.

For years there has been discussion about trying to regulate an herb called kratom, and it may finally happen soon in the Garden State.

According to New Jersey state Sen. Jon Bramnick, R-Union, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not banned kratom, a psychoactive tropical tree leaf found in Southeast Asia, but they are warning consumers not to use it because it can cause significant issues including seizures, hallucinations, vomiting and possibly even death.

Lack of awareness

“It can have really serious health effects and people are unaware of the potential dangers,” he said.

Bramnick is sponsoring a bill, S3549, that would require kratom to be regulated, prohibit the sale of kratom to anyone under 21 and establish administrative penalties for any person who sells a kratom product without product registration.


He said some people have claimed kratom gives them increased alertness and physical energy but others complain of drowsiness, delusions and confusion.

You don't know what you're getting

Angela Conover, the director of opioid response and prevention with the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, said buying kratom is risky cause you don’t really know what you’re getting.

“We want to make sure if we are buying something it is regulated because we don’t want to be buying something off the streets that could possibly be mixed with other drugs as well,” she said.

She pointed out there are also addiction concerns with kratom and “anything that we’re experimenting with that isn’t coming from a pharmacy or isn’t regulated could possibly even contain fentanyl, which we know is so deadly.”

Bipartisan support

Bramnick said his bill, which has bipartisan support, “is probably one of the most important pieces of legislation in the state because we’re going to see serious health effects on people who take too much of this, or don’t understand the potential effects.”

He said awareness of the negative impact the substance can have on people is now increasing “and that’s why I think there’s strong support in the legislature to get the Health Department to immediately start regulating kratom.”

Florida Struggles With Legal Herbal Supplement Which Mirrors Opiate Narcotic Effects
Getty Images

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has listed kratom, which can be smoked, chewed, brewed with tea or placed into gel capsules, as a Drug and Chemical of Concern, however it is not controlled under the Controlled Substances Act.

Bad things can happen

The DEA says kratom can cause a variety of side effects including nausea, itching, sweating, dry mouth, constipation, increased urination, tachycardia and loss of appetite. Users of kratom have also experienced anorexia, weight loss, insomnia and hepatotoxicity.

Some states have banned kratom including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

A class action lawsuit has been filed in California alleging Krave Botanicals failed to warn consumers about the highly addictive potential of its kratom products.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

LOOK: Here are the states where you are most likely to hit an animal

Hitting an animal while driving is a frightening experience, and this list ranks all 50 states in order of the likelihood of such incidents happening, in addition to providing tips on how to avoid them.

Weird things NJ taxes - and some they don't

In general, New Jersey assesses a 6.625% Sales Tax on sales of most tangible personal property, specified digital products, and certain services unless specifically exempt under New Jersey law.
However, the way the sales tax is applied in New Jersey sometimes just doesn't make sense.
New Jersey puts out an itemized list for retailers that spells out what is, and what is not, taxed. 
Perhaps because this is New Jersey, there are some bizarre and seemingly contradictory listings. 

Most affordable places to live in New Jersey

SmartAsset released a study analyzing the most affordable places to live in New Jersey. The eighth annual study weighed several factors, including taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and home costs relative to the local median income.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM