Eight Factor Analysis on Kratom Peer-Reviewed, Published in Medical Journal

The American Kratom Association-sponsored Eight Factor Analysis has been peer-reviewed and published in Psychopharmacology, the official Journal of the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society.


This is significant for kratom advocates because previously the Henningfield Eight Factor Analysis existed as little more than a press release and public submission to government agencies. While there’s nothing wrong with those categorizations per se, a pro-kratom group paying a scientist to write a paper analyzing kratom is likely to have a predictable outcome.

The resurrected and abbreviated work, authored by Dr. Jack Henningfield (Reginald V. Fant, and Daniel W. Wang), with time and effort supported by Pinney Associates, and additionally supported by the American Kratom Association, is overwhelmingly positive:

  • “As demonstrated by the referenced sources in the DEA document, there has never been a published report in the literature of a death solely attributable to kratom…”
  • “To date, there have been no reports of fatal overdose that may be categorized as kratom-caused poisoning deaths…”
  • “Kratom has some opioid effects but low respiratory depression and abuse potential compared to opioids of abuse.”
  • “There has been no documented threat to public health that would appear to warrant emergency scheduling of the products and placement in Schedule I of the CSA carries risks of creating serious public health problems.”
  • “…banning it, risks creating public health problems that do not presently exist.”
  • “…kratom consumption is more likely associated with beneficial occupational and social outcomes…”
  • “…potential mechanism for low abuse and respiratory depression liability…”
  • “Unwanted side effects are generally minimal…”

But there are also some disheartening issues with the paper. For example, “Pain News Network” doesn’t strike me as a credible reference — which isn’t to say that I believe their staff doesn’t have relevant credentials, but rather that they produce second rate, derivative, work. Moreover, surveys assisted by pro-kratom groups are cited, with the unsurprising results that support the claims of the groups.

And this claim is dubious as best: “At the time of this writing, kratom products are lawfully marketed…” I’m unaware of any products that the FDA prohibits the importation of, with multiple rejected NDI notices, that are lawfully marketed.


What I find most problematic are the intimations that perhaps kratom ought to be placed in one of the least severe categories of the controlled substances act (i.e. scheduled):

Past the abstract we find this statement:

“From a pharmacological perspective, this review suggests, as concluded by Henningfield (2015) and Pinney Associates (2016) that a case could be made to place kratom in the CSA…
“If that was the case, whether the appropriate schedule would be IV or V is not clear, but the fact that its overall potential for abuse and harm is well within the range of many nonprescription over-the-counter medicines and nonscheduled medicines, suggests that prescription requirements of new medicines would be considered appropriate and that sufficient experience might then lead to its switch from prescription to nonprescription status as often occurs with medicines with a satisfactorily documented safety profile. “(emphasis added)

The claim here is that a sound case may be put forth that requires kratom to be scheduled for a (brief?) time, with the ultimate result of it becoming an over the counter/nonprescription medicine.

Do you know of any firms with kratom experts, who also specialize in helping companies take their prescription medicines to over-the-counter status? Oh yeah, the firm who employs the author of the paper…

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