Also know as:
Chat, Qaadka, Qat, Quat
Khat is a leafy green plant containing two main stimulants which speed up your mind and body. The main effects are similar to, but less powerful than, amphetamine (speed). Khat is used mostly in Africa, but it is becoming more common in Europe.
How it is taken
A small bunch of its leaves are ‘balled up’ and chewed over a number of hours.
Khat is a stimulant and when chewed it can make people feel more alert and talkative, produce feelings of elation, suppress appetite and produce a feeling of calm if it’s chewed over a few hours. It can also lead to periods of insomnia.
Khat can increase feelings of anxiety and aggression. Some users find it makes them very irritable, in some cases extremely angry and even violent. Frequent users may develop insomnia, heart problems and sexual problems like impotence, while others report periods of increased libido.
High blood pressure, heart palpitations and heart problems can come with heavy use. Khat can inflame the mouth and damage the teeth. It can also reduce appetite and cause constipation.
When some users stop using they can feel lethargic or mildly depressed and may have a withdrawal period with fine tremors and nightmares.
There is concern about a longer-term risk that Khat can cause the development of mouth cancers. It can make pre-existing mental health problems worse and can cause paranoid and psychotic reactions (which may be associated with irritability, anxiety and losing touch with reality).
There is a small risk of significant liver disease, which has the potential to be life threatening. Khat can make a user psychologically dependent, with craving and a desire to keep using in spite of potential harm.
Khat is an illegal Class C drug. Anyone caught producing, possessing, supplying, importing or exporting Khat will be liable to arrest and will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal, risking prosecution for Class C drug offences.
Simple possession of Khat may attract sanctions of up to 2 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine on indictment (up to 3 months in prison and/or a £1,000 fine on summary conviction).
Khat is an illegal substance in many other countries like the US and taking khat into the US could result in a heavy prison sentence.