Seeing as how Kambo is often popular among communities that are no stranger to using illicit substances such as psilocybin mushrooms, LSD or ayahuasca, many assume that Kambo is also illegal. You may be surprised to learn that in most countries, Kambo is unscheduled and unregulated, meaning it is 100% legal.
Australia’s recent ban on Kambo
While Kambo is legal most places in the world, there have been a handful of countries that have recently changed their laws. In march of 2019, an Australian women died after receiving Kambo, leading the Australian government TGA to ban the use of Kambo and list it as a schedule 10 substance. Schedule 10 substances are categorized by the TGA as “substances of such danger to health as to warrant prohibition of sale, supply and use”. Australia’s TGA made the decision to ban the substance despite pleas from practitioners, participants and researchers to reconsider the consequences of making Kambo illegal.
Brazilian restrictions on non-indigenous practitioners
In 2004, Brazil passed a legal measure that bans the commercialization and advertising of Kambo services and products by non-indigenous communities and individuals. This does not mean that it is illegal, but was enacted as a way of supporting the native origins of the ritual to protect from biopiracy.
Is Kambo legal in the US?
Currently, Kambo is 100% legal in the US. Kambo is completely unregulated in the United States which means that it is subject to similar laws as dietary supplements or other unapproved interventions. While this means there are no grounds for legal prosecution for the use, possession or distribution of Kambo, Kambo is still not considered an FDA-approved drug.
Despite an abundance of anecdotal accounts of benefits, Kambo is subject to restrictions on what health claims can be made. Any language used encompassing diagnosing, treating, curing, or preventing any sort of disease is forbidden without FDA approval in the US. Practitioners in the United States that fail to comply with these language restrictions have been fined for practicing medicine without a medical license.