Overview:

Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub that is abused for its stimulant-like effect. Khat has two active ingredients, cathine and cathinone.

Street Names:

Abyssinian Tea, African Salad, Catha, Chat, Kat, Oat

Looks Like:

Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub. Khat that is sold and abused is usually just the leaves, twigs, and shoots of the Khat shrub.

Methods of abuse:

Khat is typically chewed like tobacco, then retained in the cheek and chewed intermittently to release the active drug, which produces a stimulant-like effect. Dried Khat leaves can be made into tea or a chewable paste, and Khat can also be smoked and even sprinkled on food.

Effect on body:

Khat causes an immediate increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Khat can also cause a brown staining of the teeth, insomnia, and gastric disorders. Chronic abuse of Khat can cause physical exhaustion.

Effect on mind:

Khat can induce manic behavior with grandiose delusions, paranoia, nightmares, hallucinations, and hyperactivity. Chronic Khat abuse can result in violence and suicidal depression.

Drugs causing similar effects:

Khat’s effects are similar to other stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

Overdose effects:

The dose needed to constitute an overdose is not known, however it has historically been associated with those who have been long-term chewers of the leaves. Symptoms of toxicity include delusions, loss of appetite, difficulty with breathing, and increases in both blood pressure and heart rate. Additionally, there are reports of liver damage (chemical hepatitis) and of cardiac complications, specifically myocardial infarctions. This mostly occurs among long-term chewers of khat or those who have chewed too large a dose.