A flowering shrub that grows in East Africa and Southern Arabia is known as Catha edulis and the leaves and small stems of this shrub are known as Khat. Khat is a stimulant type drug that's been abused for years for the euphoric effects received when it's chewed. Individuals that use khat to get high usually take the leaves and stems and chew them. They typically keep the mixture near their cheek and chew it off and on until all of the juices are gone.
The taste of khat is quite bitter so people drink a lot of water, soda or other liquids to get rid of the unpleasant taste. Most of the time khat is chewed but some people make tea from dried khat, smoke it or sprinkle it on their food.
There are psychoactive ingredients in khat known as cathine and cathinone, it's not as potent as amphetamine but does have stimulant effects which is why khat is used by many people to get high. Khat isn't a commonly used drug or a huge problem in the United States right now but people do use it and someday it could be. We know that khat is still being trafficked into the country because it is still being seized from time to time by authorities. There are around 10 million people around the world that chew khat for the physiological effects which are quite similar to cocaine and methamphetamine but nowhere near as intense.
As stated above, khat is found around East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The use of khat has been around for centuries and is a cultural tradition in some countries. Khat is also used among certain migrant communities in the United States and Europe. No one yet knows just how prevalent it is in the U.S. though. Khat is more likely to be found in areas where there are Somali, Ethiopian, and Yemeni populated communities.
The Physical Effects of Khat When Used
There are quite a few negative effects associated with khat use especially if the stimulant drug is heavily used or with long term use. Some of the physical effects associated with frequent use of khat include:
- Manic behavior
- Grandiose delusions
- Suicidal depression
- Physical exhaustion
- Decayed teeth
- Periodontal disease
- Inflamed stomach
- Irregular heartbeat
Khat Street Terms
Even though khat isn't extremely popular in the United States there are quite a few street terms used to describe khat on the streets. Khat's slang street terms include:
- Abyssinian tea
- African salad
- Bushman's tea
- Somali tea
It is worrisome that khat could become popular throughout the United States someday. A lot of adolescents and teens experiment with drugs when they become accessible and khat could easily become a problem as well as cause health issues. Fortunately authorities work tirelessly seizing drugs like khat keeping large scale amounts of illegal drugs from being distributed among our young people.