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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Facts about Khat

Khat,
Khat is a slow-growing shrub or tree with evergreen leaves, that grows to between 1.5 metres and 20 metres tall, depending on region and rainfall.
The ancient Egyptians considered the khat plant a "divine food" which was capable of releasing humanity's divinity. It has been grown for use as a stimulant for centuries in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. There, chewing khat predates the use of coffee and is used in a similar social context.

Khat contains the alkaloid called cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant
which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite, and euphoria. In 1980 the World Health Organization classified khat as a drug of abuse that can produce mild to moderate psychological dependence.

Its fresh leaves and tops are chewed or, less frequently, dried and consumed as tea, in order to achieve a state of euphoria and stimulation.
The leaves or the soft part of the stem can be chewed with either chewing gum or fried peanuts to make it easier to chew.
Khat use has traditionally been confined to the regions where it is grown, because only the fresh leaves have the desired stimulating effects, but due to the availability of rapid, inexpensive air transportation, the plant has been reported in several countries in Europe as well as in Australia, New Zealand,Canada, and the United States.

Individuals become very talkative under the influence of the drug and may appear to be unrealistic and emotionally unstable. The drug can induce manic behaviors and hyperactivity.
A state of drowsy hallucinations (hypnagogic hallucinations) may result when coming down from khat use

Withdrawal symptoms that may follow occasional use include mild depression and irritability. Withdrawal symptoms that may follow prolonged khat use include lethargy, mild depression and, nightmares.

It is a controlled or illegal substance in many countries, but is legal for sale and production in many others.

Side-effects include: constipation. Dilated pupils, difficulty sleeping, erectile dysfunction, and high blood pressure. Occasionally, a psychosis can result, resembling a hypomanic state in presentation.

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