What is Khat?
Description of Khat?
Khat, which is pronounced “cot,” is a substance that is derived from the catha edulis shrub, which is native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The drug is a highly addictive stimulant that creates feelings of euphoria and excitement, along with loss of appetite. The two active ingredients are Cathine, a Schedule IV drug, and Cathinone, a Schedule I drug.
What is the Scientific Name of Khat?Catha Edulis
What is the Chemical Formula of Khat?
- C9H11NO (Cathinone Molecular Formula)
- C9H13NO (Cathine Molecular Formula)
What is the Origin of Khat?
Khat has a long history of use in Saharan and Arabian culture; ancient Egyptians considered khat a divine food and it with the intent of making the user “god-like.” According to journals of the 13th century, Arab doctors used it to treat lack of energy and depression. It’s stimulating properties were appealing to peasants who worked long hours. In some social environments, khat is used in place of alcohol.
What is the Legal Status of Khat in the US?
- Cathinone is a Schedule I Drug.
- Cathine is a Schedule IV Drug Formula
What are the Common Street Names of Khat?
- Abyssinian Tea
- African Salad
- Arabian or Abyssinian Tea
How is Khat Used?
The most common form of khat ingestion is by chewing the leaves, twigs, and shoots of the plant; the juice is swallowed while the masticated material is stored in the cheek and later spat out. The effect is most potent when the leaves are still fresh, as the potency of the cathonine starts to decrease within 48 hours of cutting. Khat can also be taken as an infusion or tea, smoked, or sprinkled on food. A typical dose is about 100-200g of khat leaves (one bundle) consumed in a single session. The effects last for several hours. Most khat users do not mix its use with other drugs or alcohol, with the exception of tobacco. However, users generally drink a lot of water or sugary drinks to make up for the drugs bitter taste.
How Long Does Khat Stay in Your System?
An average dose of khat starts to take effect 15 minutes after ingestion, and last from 90 minutes to 3 hours. It stays in the bloodstream for up to 24 hours. As the effects wear off, the khat user may feel depressed and irritable, and suffer a loss of appetite or difficulty sleeping.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Short-Term Khat Use?
What are the Short-Term Effects of Khat Use on the Body?
- Breathing Difficulties
- Increase of Arousal
- Increase of Alertness
- Increased Alertness
- Increased Blood Pressure
- Increased Concentration
- Increased Motor Activity
- Physical Exhaustion
- Tachycardia (Elevated Heart Rate)
What are the Short-Term Effects of Khat Use on Behavior?
- Mild Euphoria
- Manic Behavior
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Long-Term Khat Addiction?
What are the Long-Term Effects of Khat Use on the Body?
- Cancer of the Mouth
- Cardiac Complications
- Decayed Tooth
- Gastric Disorders
- Heart Attack
- High Risk for Heart Disease
- Inflammation of the Mouth
- Kidney Damage
- Liver Damage
- Stomach Ulcer
- Tachycardia (Elevated Heart Rate)
- Urine Retention
What are the Long-Term Effects of Khat Use on Behavior?
- Loss of Motivation
How to diagnose if you are Addicted to Khat?
- Sings of Addiction
- Energy Increase
- Loss of Appetite
The above symptoms of khat addiction typically tart to subside about 90 minutes after use. The high can last for three to 24 hours, depending on the potency of the khat and intensity of the addiction. Once the high subsides, the user crashes. This results in:
- Extreme Fatigue
- Feelings of Anxiety
- Heart Arrhythmia
- Suicidal Thoughts
What are the Withdrawal Effects of Khat?
Difficulty Performing Normal Daily Activities
- Extreme Tiredness
- Mild Depression
- Minor Laziness
- Slight Tremor
How is Khat Addiction Treated?
An addiction to khat is treated similarly to other stimulant addictions. The addict must first undergo detox; medical staff may administer anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications to alleviate the worst of the symptoms of withdrawal. In order to prevent health problems, the addict's vital signs and and kidney function will be monitored so that problems can be treated before any irreparable damage is done. Detox may last a only two or three days or as long as a week, after which the addict is advised to enter rehab for khat addiction, where they will learn to manage cravings and learn to manage daily stresses and demands without depending on the drug. Treatment generally includes one-on-one counseling and support group therapies. Rehab typically lasts between 60 and 90 days, with aftercare programs that include ongoing therapy and group sessions as required. Prescriptions for antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may continue after rehab to prevent the onset of long-term depression.
What is the Extent of Khat Use?
In Yemen and some east African countries, chewing khat is a traditional practice, and it has been reported a substance of choice among Somalian, Ethopian, Kenyan, and Yemenese immigrants to the U.S. and Europe There has been a lack of research identifying the prevalence of general use, but the available studies indicate significant levels of use within these communities of migrants. A 2005 U.K. study reported that 34% of the Somalis interviewed had used khat during the previous month, though daily use was reported for fewer than 4% of participants.