Kratom has been officially removed from the narcotics list, paving the way to its legalisation as a cash crop.

The delisting was announced in the Royal Gazette follows an amendment passed by Parliament in January to legalise the plant, which has been used as a traditional herbal remedy in Thailand for centuries.

Mitragyna speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. It is indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea, where it has been used in herbal medicine since at least the nineteenth century. Kratom has opioid properties and some stimulant-like effects.

Thai farmers have chewed the leaves as a mild stimulant, akin to coffee, to alleviate fatigue while working in tropical heat. When one chews the leaves or brews a small amount into a tea, one feels a swift energy kick and a slightly elevated mood.

If one drinks a very concentrated kratom tea, one will feel pleasantly calm and a slight analgesia, similar to a slight tipsiness or a very mild opiate high. In addition to using kratom for productivity and recreation, several centuries of Thai herbal doctors have employed kratom teas and powders for medicinal purposes.

The legalisation of kratom will come into effect 90 days from the announcement.

“To be in line with international principles and the context of Thai society in areas that consume kratom, it is necessary to delist kratom as a narcotic,” the announcement read.

Thailand’s stance on kratom began changing at the end of 2019 after the government legalised the production, possession, and use of cannabis and kratom for medical purposes.