Is Khat Drug Illegal?

Medically Reviewed on 12/23/2022
Is Khat Drug Illegal?
Khat has been used as a recreational and religious narcotic by people of the Middle East.

Khat is prohibited in the United States because they contain an illegal controlled drug. Khat or qat is a stimulant widely used in East Africa, Yemen, and southern Saudi Arabia.

Fresh khat leaves contain cathinone (a stimulant). Khat is classified as a Schedule I narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Schedule I drugs are highly addictive and have no valid medical function. The notable psychotropic chemicals discovered in khat are amphetamine-like molecules.

When khat leaves lose their freshness (usually after 48 hours), their chemical composition deteriorates. The leaves contain cathine (a schedule IV drug) at that time. Although schedule IV drugs may have a lower potential for misuse, they can still cause limited physical or psychological dependency. Individuals with a physician's prescription can lawfully get a schedule IV drug.

Khat includes many chemicals, including alkaloids, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and others. The environment in which the shrub is cultivated influences the unique chemical composition of the leaves.

What is khat?

Khat is a naturally occurring stimulant similar to coca leaves, coffee, and amphetamine. Cathinone, one of khat's psychotropic compounds, impacts the central nervous system like a moderate amphetamine.

The fresh leaves of a khat tree are rolled into little balls and put into the side of the cheek, forming a big bolus (soft mass of leaves). Although the activity is commonly referred to as khat chewing, the leaves are held on the side of the cheek to masticate over time. About 100 to 300 grams of khat could be chewed during each session; 100 grams of khat typically contains 36 mg of cathinone.

The debris is either ingested or spit out once the juice (and the hallucinogenic alkaloids it contains) has been swallowed. Due to its astringent flavor, khat users frequently consume sweet beverages or chewing gum.

The traditional khat high progresses through several phases. The first wave is excitement, euphoria, and talkativeness and is called “mirquaan” in Arabic. This euphoria begins within ten to fifteen minutes into the mastication process and puts the user in utmost excitement. It is followed by a calmer and more contemplative period.

How was khat used traditionally?

Khat has been used as a recreational and religious narcotic by people of Eastern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Middle East. Khat usage is widespread among immigrants from Yemen and the East African countries of Somalia and Ethiopia in the United States.

Khat leaves from the evergreen shrub Catha edulis are commonly chewed fresh. They can be smoked, made into tea, or sprinkled over food. Earlier its application was culturally specific and only men used them in particular gatherings. However, the use of khat leaves has grown among women.


What are opioids used to treat? See Answer

What are the side effects of khat drug?

Khat contains psychoactive compounds, which can damage the nervous, respiratory, circulatory, and digestive systems and produces various side effects, including:

How is khat overdose treated?

There is no recognized treatment regimen for khat abuse. No drugs are available to address the symptoms of khat misuse or probable withdrawal symptoms from the substance. The treatment approach is like the treatment used for other stimulant use disorders, such as cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine, and others.

Individuals from khat-using populations often have a distinct perspective on drug usage. It is essential to consider their cultural preferences if they exist.

In cases when an individual has a markedly different cultural worldview, encouraging abstinence must be culturally appropriate. This would entail involving the individual's friends, family members, and even spiritual leaders in the overall therapy plan for the person. This might imply combining family and group therapy with psychoeducation to create a practical, culturally sensitive approach.

The most effective method to recover from any substance use problem entails abstaining from the specific drug of abuse and other potential substances of addiction.

Medically Reviewed on 12/23/2022
Image Source: Getty image


What Is Khat.