Alere is now Abbott

Khat

Stimulant

Khat, Catha edulis, is a flowering evergreen shrub cultivated in East Africa and the South-West Arabian Peninsula. The principle active constituents of khat are cathinone (ß-ketoamphetamine) and cathine (norpseudoephedrine), both central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. Chewing khat leaves releases these substances into the oral fluid.

Cathinone has a similar chemical structure to amphetamine and although less potent shares similar chemical and physical properties. Cathinone is very unstable and decomposes to the less potent ingredient cathine as the leaves dry. The taste and potency of the freshly picked leaves is lost within 24–36 hours.

Eating

Chewing

Khat is most commonly chewed over several hours but it can also be brewed as a tea.

  • Makes your more energised, alert and talkative
  • Elation
  • Calming
  • Increases anxiety
  • Makes your more irritable and aggressive
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations and heart problems
  • Increased libido
  • Inflammation of the mouth
  • Damage to teeth
  • Reduced appetite
  • Causes constipation
  • Possible cause of mouth cancer
  • Paranoia
  • Psychotic reactions
  • Liver disease
Bunch of Khat

Structure

Molecular structure of cathinone

Street Names

khat, quat, qat, qaadka, chat

Legal Status

Class C Substance

Possession of the drug can lead to up to two years in jail, an unlimited fine or both. Supplying the drug can lead to up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

For more information about drug classifications and the associated penalties visit the Home Office website.