The United States Committee on Appropriation has recommended funding kratom and natural product research with $1 million in 2021. That's double 2020's budget, which was $500,000.
The Committee called for the budget increase in their 2021 Appropriations Bill. They also encouraged the country's drug abuse institute (NIDA) to "expand research on all health impacts of kratom." That recommendation includes further study of kratom alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which are responsible for the plant's effects.
According to the bill, the budget increase is motivated by the "potential promise" of "...safer alternatives to sometimes dangerously addictive and potentially deadly prescription opioids." Widespread opioid misuse has ravaged the United States for over two decades, with opioid drugs responsible for two out of three overdose deaths in 2018. Now, the US government has joined many citizens in turning to "natural products" — namely, kratom and CBD — for a helping hand.
"The Committee notes that little research has been done to date on natural products that are used by many to treat pain in place of opioids," the bill reads. "These natural plants and substances include kratom and cannabidiol (CBD). Given the wide availability and increased use of these substances, it is imperative to know more about potential risks or benefits, and whether or not they can have a role in finding new and effective non-opioid methods to treat pain."
The Committee also specified that the increased budget should go towards evaluating kratom and CBD in regions "...hardest hit by the opioid crisis."