Chris McCurdy, Ph.D., a professor of medicinal chemistry in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, was invited to present at the World Health Organization’s 44th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, or ECDD, on Oct. 11. McCurdy is recognized internationally for his expertise in studying the science of kratom, an herbal medicine derived from the leaves of the tropical tree Mitragyna speciosa.
The World Health Organization’s 44th ECDD was conducting a pre-review of kratom to determine whether it warrants an Expert Committee critical review. The pre-review is the first step in a process that could lead to the plant being scheduled as a drug internationally.
McCurdy delivered a five-minute presentation before the ECDD that outlined kratom’s history, its chemistry and pharmacology as well as its abuse potential. He highlighted several recent research studies underway in his lab, including two grants totaling more than $11 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In his closing remarks, he said more studies on kratom are warranted before any decision is made to ban the substance.