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What Is Khat?

January 2013---What is Khat?

This substance is not popular, or apparently even existent (it seems), in the area that I work. What I know about this drug is from research and speaking to other officers, who have dealt with this drug.

First, it is generally pronounced like "cot" and sometimes "cat". However; is not to be confused with a designer drug called Cat. They are entirely different substances. Khat is a naturally growing plant whose users chew the leaves, swallow the juice and ultimately spit out the leaves when done. The designer drug "Cat" is far less "natural" and designed in a laboratory.

Once the leaves are picked from the plant, they start to lose their potency. They are only effective for a few days after picking them. So, once they are harvested they must make their way to the end user fairly quickly as they are a "perishable" product. This may explain why little of this drug is seen in the USA because it is not grown here.

I have had a few requests to write about this drug, but since I have no real world experience with it, I decided to "steal" a bit of info from Wikipedia. I am not in the habit of doing this, as I prefer to write from personal knowledge; however the goal of this site is to get as much comprehensive drug knowledge in one place.

"Catha Edulis, commonly called Khat is a flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but is also grown in other countries. Among communities from these areas, khat chewing has a long history as a social custom dating back thousands of years."

"Khat contains cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant, which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria. In 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a drug of abuse that can produce mild to moderate psychological dependence (less than tobacco or alcohol), although the WHO does not consider khat to be seriously addictive. The plant has been targeted by anti-drug organizations such as the DEA. It is a controlled substance in some countries, such as the United States, Canada and Germany, while its production, sale and consumption are legal in other nations."

"Khat is a slow-growing shrub or tree that grows to between 1.4 m and 3.1 m tall, depending on region and rainfall. It has evergreen leaves 5–10 cm long and 1–4 cm broad"

Want to know what ibogaine is click here.


Man chewing Khat January 2009

Chief Kyle J. Fittro
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