Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri said that his department was considering legalizing kratom to stop people from using yaba.
Chaikasem cited a recent study that found that kratom leaves are less addictive than caffeine and that the plant could be an alternative for those who want to quit stronger drugs with severe side effects such as yaba or methamphetamine (ice).
The subject will be raised for discussion when the Ministry of Public Health and the Office of Narcotics Control Board next meet.
The minister said the idea of replacing kratom with yaba is identical to using methadone to prevent or reduce the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms from heroin. In New Zealand kratom is used as an antibiotic. In Thailand kratom is categorized as a category 5 drug, the Daily News reported.