DRY KHAT LEAVES
WHAT IS KHAT?
Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub that is abused
for its stimulant-like effect. Khat has two active
ingredients, cathine and cathinone.
WHAT IS ITS ORIGIN?
Khat is native to East Africa and the Arabian
Peninsula, where the use of it is an established
cultural tradition for many social situations.
What are common street names?
Common street names for khat include:
• Abyssinian Tea, African Salad, Catha, Chat, Kat, and Oat
What are its overdose effects?
The dose needed to constitute an overdose is not
known, however it has been historically associated
with those who are 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.
What does it look 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.
How is it abused?
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.
What is its effect on the mind?
Khat can induce manic behavior with:
• Grandiose delusions, paranoia, nightmares, hallucinations,
• Chronic khat abuse can result in violence and suicidal
What is its effect on the 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
Which drugs cause similar effects?
Khat’s effects are similar to other stimulants, such
as cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine.
What is its legal status in the United States?
The chemicals found in khat are controlled under
the Controlled Substances Act. Cathine is a
Schedule IV stimulant, and cathinone is a Schedule
I stimulant under the Controlled Substances Act,
meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, no
currently accepted medical use in treatment in the
United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use
under medical supervision.