Khat

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Khat.

Khat is a stimulant found in the leaves of Catha edulis, a plant native to Africa and Southern Arabia. It’s uses are not deemed therapeutic in nature, therefore it is classified as a controlled substance. The drug is administered by chewing the leaves and holding it in the cheek. Similar to speed and other amphetamines, (although less potent) Khat’s main active agents are cathinone and cathine, which raise the neurotransmitter Dopamine in the brain causing a feeling of elation, alertness and arousal. The high only lasts 90 minutes to 3 hours and users report feeling depressed and irritable when ‘coming down’.

Via National Institute on Drug Abuse:

It is estimated that as many as 10 million people worldwide chew khat. It is commonly found in the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula and in East Africa, where it has been used for centuries as part of an established cultural tradition.

Khat does not seem to have become a popular drug among North Americans or Europeans, but it is prevalent in immigrant communities. Some of the dangers of use include cardiovascular problems, stomach diseases and tooth decay. It has been suggested that the frequent chewing of Khat can cause or play a role in the development of mental disorders, and it is unclear as to whether or not the drug has long term effects, withdrawal symptoms or addiction.

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Khat

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