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Last updated : February 22, 2018
Khat is a stimulant drug, which means it speeds up the messages going between the brain and the body. The drug is the leaves and buds of the khat plant (Catha edulis Forsk).1
The leaves may be used fresh or dried.1
qat, kat or chat
The leaves and buds of the khat plant. The leafy green shrub that can grow to tree size.
The chewing of khat leaves is common in some countries of east Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It has a deep-rooted social and cultural tradition in some Muslim, Somali and Yemeni cultures. In some Muslim countries in which alcohol is prohibited, khat is commonly used in social situations, although it is often condemned on religious grounds.2
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Khat affects everyone differently, based on:
The following effects may be experienced immediately:
Regular use of khat may eventually cause:
Giving up khat after using it for a long time is challenging because the body has to get used to functioning without it.
It’s not clear whether it’s possible to become dependent on khat, but there is some evidence to suggest that if it’s used heavily, withdrawal symptoms may be experienced for several days after the last time the drug was used. These symptoms may include: