PT343 – Soren Shade – Kratom and Anti-Prohibition: Lessons Learned and Applied

In this episode, Joe interviews Soren Shade: passionate anti-prohibitionist, producer of the third season of “Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia” and his new podcast, and Co-Founder of Top Tree Herbs, a kratom tea company dedicated to educating people about kratom, normalizing its use, and defeating the prohibitionists who want to ban it. 

He tells his story of learning from Dr. Carl Hart at Columbia, discovering kratom, and meeting Hamilton Morris, and tells us all about kratom: how to pronounce it; its legal history (which is also summed up nicely in a blog he wrote for us); its ties to opium overuse and why it’s still political; how people typically use it today vs. how it was consumed traditionally; why people use it; caffeine and kratom as a coffee substitute; and what he and Joe like most about it. 

And he talks about the lessons we can learn from kratom’s path to legality, which came into play recently when the DEA attempted to schedule 4-HO-DiPT, 5-MeO-aMT, 5-MeO-MiPT, DOI, and DOC. This episode was recorded as a lot of attention was being paid to this attempt, after Hamilton Morris had previously sounded the alarm and people were beginning to prepare for a fight. But after only a few months of public comments, the DEA backed down last week, proving that what happened with kratom may not have been a fluke, and we should all be taking notes and applying the lessons learned to future DEA battles.

Notable Quotes

“That’s kind of the bat signal for: ‘Whoa, maybe there’s something interesting here; maybe there’s something that’s not being said’ – when something is getting (without debate) solely bad attention through the typical media-sphere, through news outlets. It’s just: ‘Alright, here’s a plant, everyone’s hating on it. Hmmm… seen that before…’”

“Kratom has the roadmap for how to stop prohibition of a substance that’s announced, and I think that it should have more attention – that people should take more lessons from the one successful instance of overturning a ban and apply it to the bans that are currently ongoing now in regards to psychedelics.”

“I think normalizing drug use and use of traditional plant compounds and trying things in curiosity and talking about something despite there being a possible social stigma are all hard, but things that have to be done in order to get us into a post-prohibitionist paradigm.”

“Many millions of others count on this plant every day, and we’re just trying to keep it out there, keep it available for people and have people not afraid to use it; not lose their job, not lose their kids, not lose their freedom for using it. That’s our mission. And as soon as kratom seems like it’s in a safe position from that, it’s on to the next one until prohibition is just a reprehensible chapter in our history that we look back on and go, ‘Wow, glad we’re not dealing with that anymore.’”


Psychedelics Today: The Intertwined Prohibitionist Histories of Psychedelics and Kratom, by Soren Shade

Kratom Science podcast: 30. Dr. Darshan Singh, University of Science in Malaysia

Psychedelics Today: PT236 – Dr. Carl Hart – Drugs: Honesty, Responsibility, and Logic Eric Eyre of Charleston Gazette-Mail, Charleston, WV Drug Distributors Shipped 20.8 Million Painkillers To West Virginia Town Of 3,000 (Peter Gorman) The Rational Choices of Crack Addicts Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia – “Kratom: The Forbidden Leaf” NEGRO COCAINE “FIENDS” ARE A NEW SOUTHERN MENACE; Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower Class Blacks Because They Have Taken to “Sniffing” Since Deprived of Whisky by Prohibition (1914) Thailand legalizes kratom, popular plant-based painkiller This Healthy 27-Year-Old Bodybuilder Died After Using a Common Supplement The Half Life of Caffeine

Hamilton Morris’ tweet about 4-HO-DiPT, 5-MeO-aMT, and 5-MeO-MiPT

Hamilton Morris’ tweet about DOI & DOC

Federal Register comments: Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI) and 2,5-dimethoxy-4-chloroamphetamine (DOC) in Schedule I

Federal Register comments: Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of 4-hydroxy-N,N

Hamilton Morris’ tweet after the DEA backed down David Nutt’s drug harm ranking chart Hamilton Morris

Apple Podcasts: The Hamilton Morris Podcast

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan

Psychedelics Today: PT281 – Oliver Grundmann, Ph.D. – A Thorough Exploration of Kratom

About Soren Shade

Soren Shade is a staunch anti-prohibitionist who engages in this belief through a number of ventures. He produced the third season of the drug-science documentary series, “Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia,” upon graduating from Columbia University in 2019. Upon completion of the show, Soren went on to co-found Top Tree Herbs with Sam Weber, whom he met while they were both studying under Dr. Carl Hart. Top Tree Herbs is a premium kratom tea brand hellbent on normalizing kratom and defeating the prohibitionists who want to ban it. Soren also continues to work with Hamilton Morris, and is the head producer of his podcast, “The Hamilton Morris Podcast” available on Patreon and YouTube. He lives on his family farm in the wilderness of West Virginia, and spends his sparse free time foraging and tuning into nature.

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