In comments submitted last week to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) urged the agency to refrain from using its authority to effectively remove a plant from the existing marketplace because naturally occurring constituents become scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
AHPA's comments were submitted in response to DEA's request for input on consideration for scheduling two naturally occurring constituents (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine) of the kratom plant under the CSA.
"AHPA is opposed to DEA using its scheduling authority in a manner that would have the effect of removing from the existing marketplace an herbal article simply because of the naturally occurring presence of one or more constituents that have become subject to scheduling under the broad standards established in the CSA," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "In AHPA's view, such scheduling would be an abuse of discretion."
When considering if a constituent of a botanical that is currently and traditionally used for recognized health benefits should be scheduled under the CSA, AHPA recommends that DEA abstain from any decision that would restrict future research on new medical uses, health benefits, or other uses of the constituent or the herb in which the constituent is naturally occuring.
"AHPA believes restrictions on research are contrary to the interests of science and ultimately detrimental to the public interest," McGuffin said. "AHPA members want to ensure that any process that proposes to classify a naturally occurring constituent of a plant as an illicit substance, includes a thorough evaluation of available scientific data and full consideration of potential risks and benefits of consuming the substance."