LEWISVILLE, TEXAS - When Jordan Dodson got the news Wednesday, she cried tears of joy.
"I am still elated," she said.
She's elated at a sudden decision by the Drug Enforcement Agency. A little over a month ago, the DEA announced its plan to outlaw Kratom, an herbal supplement. But Wednesday, the agency reversed course.
There had been an outcry from veterans who use it for PTSD, and from many others who use it to treat pain. The herb will remain legal while the agency considers public comment.
"It's given back quality of life for me. For sure," Dodson said.
Dodson, 27, started using the herb two years ago. She's a three-time transplant recipient who has suffered from chronic back pain, depression and anxiety.
She says Kratom helps with all those symptoms, and that it hasn't had any adverse side effects. She has disclosed her use to her doctor and closely monitors her health through blood tests.
"I used to be on so many medications, it was hard to keep up with," Dodson said. "Those medications are just so hard on your whole body."
Dodson orders Kratom from a vendor online, and she drinks it as an herbal tea.
"It does not taste good,” she said. “It is so bitter!"
But she said she starts to feel positive effects within an hour, easing her pain and anxiety. She's a student in Corinth, where she's studying network security.
While it's legal for now, it's no secret that some use Kratom recreationally. The drug is said to have similar effects to opioids, with minimal risk of addiction. It's often sold at head shops.
In Lewisville, The Zebra's Head House of Glass stopped stocking Kratom anticipating the DEA ban, but now that will change.
"We're going to have it back on our shelves tomorrow," said employee Aaron Poret.
Poret said they get calls daily from people asking about the herb.
"Most people are for pain relief," he said.
The DEA will now take public comments until December, and Dodson says she and many others will make clear what Kratom has meant for them.
"We got this. We still have a long fight, but we got this, I feel like," she said.
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