Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) conducted a limited meeting with several ministers at the Presidential Palace on Thursday to discuss the legalization of the kratom plant (Mitragyna speciosa).

Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko underscored the need to formulate steps for the management of the kratom plant since no standardization has been in place, thereby making it difficult for people to export the herbal plant.

"We also need a trading system. The trade minister is currently drafting the regulation, but it must be accelerated immediately to offer certainty to related stakeholders," Moeldoko remarked before attending the meeting.

Furthermore, the government needs to confirm whether kratom is classified as a narcotic due to the differing opinions of the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) regarding the safety of using this plant.

"We want to ensure the actual condition of this plant. With circulating perceptions, I asked BRIN to conduct research. The research found that it contains (narcotics), but in a certain amount. I then asked them for the specific amount," Moeldoko remarked.

Kratom leaves are known to contain active ingredients, namely the alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These two active ingredients have analgesic or pain-relieving effects.

The active compound of mitragynine contained in kratom has the potential to cause addiction, similar to narcotics.

Kratom consumption elicits feelings of relaxation and comfort as well as excessive euphoria if taken in high doses.

Widely grown in the Kalimantan region, kratom leaves are usually used to make tea or processed into supplements that are useful in reducing pain, improving skin health, and increasing libido.

However, the side effects of using kratom are quite dangerous when the appropriate dosage is not taken into consideration.

The BNN stated that the use of kratom is not yet regulated in the Narcotics Law, so regional government regulations cannot limit its usage.

The widespread increase in the use of kratom is also apparent from the large number of farmers switching to planting kratom since it is considered to be more economically promising.

''The prospect is quite good since it can support 18 thousand families who work in the planting area. It is important to ensure the classification for certainty in the community," Moeldoko remarked.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa P, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Aditya Eko Sigit Wicaksono
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