Kratom is a psychoactive substance that has gained popularity in smoke shops and kava bars across Florida. Marketed as an all-natural supplement used to treat conditions such as pain, diarrhea, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, many users feel it is safe because it comes from a plant and is legal.

However, many negative side-effects associated with kratom, including dependence and addiction, have led Florida legislators to impose some restrictions on the sale and consumption of kratom. Let’s take a closer look into the details of “is kratom legal in Florida?”, including recent legislative changes to the sale and possession of kratom.

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Understanding Kratom and Its Uses

Kratom commonly refers to the herbal substance derived from the tropical tree native to Southeast Asia which can produce both opioid- and stimulant-like effects. Traditionally used throughout Southeast Asia during religious ceremonies and as a medicinal remedy, kratom has gained popularity across the US in recent years. Many users consume kratom as an alternative to alcohol and other drugs.

Its popularity has gained traction from users advocating it as a natural remedy for the treatment of chronic pain, anxiety, fatigue, and even opioid withdrawal. Online communities back up these claims with testimonials claiming to have found relief from a wide range of health issues through the use of kratom.  However, there is not much research to back up these claims, and can lead to concerning side effects as well as physical and psychological dependence.

Kratom affects the opioid receptors of the brain, producing feelings of euphoria and pain relief. When taken in small doses, it has a stimulant effect increasing energy and enhancing mood. In large doses, it has a sedative effect similar to opioids. It is important to note that there are no FDA-approved uses for kratom in the US.

The Legal Status of Kratom in the United States

Currently, there is no federal regulation of the drug, and kratom possession and consumption are legal in some states. It is not listed as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), but they do consider it a “drug of concern”. In 2016, the DEA temporarily banned kratom, citing it necessary ‘to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety’ but reversed that decision months later.  Kratom is also not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which poses risks to quality control, potency labels, and the risk of adverse effects.

kratom legal in florida

Different states have varying regulations on the consumption and possession of kratom, with some completely banning the substance. US states where kratom is illegal include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

Current Kratom Laws and Regulations in Florida

So, what about Florida? Is kratom legal in Florida? The short answer is yes. Kratom is legal to possess and consume in Florida, except in Sarasota County. However, on July 1st, 2023, House Bill 179, also known as the Florida Kratom Consumer Protection Act, went into effect which bans the sale of kratom to anyone under 21 years of age.  

Potential Changes to Kratom Legislation in Florida

More recently, Florida Senate Bill 842 pushed to amend the original bill to make it illegal to sell kratom mixed with a harmful substance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that recent kratom-related deaths involved a combination of the substance with other drugs like cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers.

Health Risks and Concerns Associated with Kratom Use

The FDA has warned about the potential negative effects of kratom, including dependence, addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and even the potential for overdose when mixed with other depressants. Because it is not regulated by the FDA, there is no guarantee on the quality and safety of kratom products sold in the US. There are reports of commercially available kratom products containing high levels of addictive substances, dangerous contaminants, heavy metals, and harmful bacteria.

Kratom acts on opioid receptors in the brain, which can lead to physical dependence similar to opioids like heroin and painkillers. Long term or heavy kratom consumers can experience withdrawal symptoms such as joint and muscle pain, watery eyes, runny nose, depression, anxiety, sweating, and fevers when attempting to stop use.

The risk for serious adverse effects associated with the use of kratom includes seizures, liver toxicity and substance use disorder. Research on the short- and long-term effects of kratom is fairly new and scarce compared to other substances. Self-reports vary widely, but some of the more commonly reported side effects of kratom include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Some individuals have experienced rate but more serious adverse effects, including:
  • High blood pressure
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Tremors and twitching
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Hallucinations

Recognizing Signs of Kratom Abuse and Dependence

One of the reasons states banning kratom is its potential for dependence and addiction. While there is no specific diagnostic criteria for kratom use disorder outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), patterns of kratom dependence are similar to those of other addictive substances, including:

  • Needing more kratom to get the same effect.
  • Neglecting responsibilities due to kratom use.
  • Spending large amounts of time thinking about, acquiring, using, or recovering from kratom.
  • Inability to stop using even when there are negative consequences associated with use.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family.
  • Lying about use.
  • Developing cravings for kratom.
  • Using kratom in dangerous situations, such as driving.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop use.

Treatment Options for Kratom Addiction in Florida

Recognizing the signs of kratom addiction early on is key for successful, long-term recovery. Substance use disorder usually requires the help from treatment centers that can address the body, mind, and spirit aspects associated. Due to uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms, treatment for kratom addiction in Florida can begin with medical detox. Individuals can receive medications, mental health support, and holistic therapies which can ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of early relapse.

After medical detox, inpatient treatment is often needed to further address psychological aspects of dependence and allow patients to remove themselves from outside triggers. Patients can also focus on their recovery fully and have around the clock support from addiction specialists, doctors, and even others in a similar situation as them.

Outpatient treatment is also a great option for individuals dealing with kratom addiction in Florida or as a step down from inpatient treatment. Patients are able to attend treatment during the day and return to their homes or a sober living facility at night as a way to ease back into the real world. It is important to follow up with aftercare services as addiction is a lifelong disorder which will require management.

How WhiteSands Treatment Can Help with Kratom Addiction

WhiteSands Treatment offers comprehensive addiction treatment for kratom addiction and dependence. With 17 locations across Florida, patients can get the care they need close to home and receive continued care as they learn to manage recovery on their own. Our treatment programs focus on providing personalized treatment programs that get to the root of kratom addiction while providing dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders.

What sets our treatment centers apart is our commitment to treating every patient as a guest and ensuring their comfort during this difficult journey. We work to create an environment with a resort-like atmosphere and allow patients access to electronics, their own private rooms, and personal time after completing a full day of group and individual therapy.

If you or a loved one are struggling with kratom dependence or addiction, please give us a call today at (877) 855-3470 to learn more about what your personalized treatment may look like and begin the admission process as soon as possible. 

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.