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Khat

KhatSCIENTIFIC TERM:

Catha  Edulis

STREET NAMES:

Khat, Quat, Qat, Qaadka, Chat.

EFFECTS:

Khat is a stimulant and chewing it can make people more alert and talkative and can produce feelings of elation.  It can also suppress the appetite.  Although it's a stimulant, many users report a feeling of calm if it's chewed over a few hours. Some describe it as being 'blissed out'.

DRUG FORM & METHOD OF USE:

Khat is a leaf which is chewed over a number of hours.  Because Khat comes in recognisable leaf form, it can't be cut with anything.

HEALTH RISKS (long term) which includes withdrawal & tolerance:

If you use it a lot, you may develop insomnia, high blood pressure and heart problems and sexual problems like impotence. There’s also a longer-term risk of development of mouth cancers. It can give you feelings of anxiety and aggression.  It can make pre-existing mental health problems worse and can cause paranoid and psychotic reactions (which may be associated with irritability, anxiety and losing touch with reality).  Khat can make a user psychologically dependent (with a desire to keep using in spite of potential harm). When they stop using they may feel lethargic or mildly depressed.

LAW:

 From 3rd July 2013, the Government announced that Khat will shortly become a Class C drug. This means that if you are caught with the drug (possession) you could go to prison for two years and get an unlimited fine.  If you are caught dealing or supplying (and that could just mean giving some to your mates) you could get 14 years in jail.  It will also be an offence to bring Khat in and/or out of the country, so if you’ve been abroad you cannot bring it back to the UK with you. 

  1. Khat is a flowering plant native to tropical East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
  2. Khat contains the alkaloid called Cathinone, an Amphetamine like stimulant which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria.
  3. In 1980 the World Health Organization classified Khat as a drug of abuse that can produce mild to moderate psychological dependence.
  4. Khat is a slow-growing shrub or tree that grows to between 1.5 metres and 20 metres tall, depending on region and rainfall.
  5. The earliest recorded use of Khat medically is believed to be within the New Testament. The ancient Egyptians considered the Khat plant a "divine food" which was capable of releasing humanity's divinity. The Egyptians used the plant for more than its stimulating effects; they used it as a metamorphic process and transcended into "apotheosis", intending to make the user god-like.
  6. Chewing Khat predates the use of coffee.
  7. Both of Khat's major active ingredients - Cathine and Cathinone are Phenylalkylamines, meaning they are in the same class of chemicals as Amphetamines.
  8. When the Khat leaves are chewed, Cathine and Cathinone are released and absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth and the lining of the stomach
  9. Khat can induce manic behaviours and hyperactivity.
  10. It is estimated that several million people are frequent users of Khat.
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