Catha Edulis: Mental effects

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 9:39 am

Although the main effects of chewing khat are a moderate degree of euphoria and excitation, users also report increased levels of:

• concentration

• loquaciousness

• confidence

• friendliness

• contentment

High doses or prolonged use, however, may induce sleeplessness, hyperactivity, and aggression. In addition, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), compulsive use “may result in manic behavior with grandiose delusions or in a paranoid-type of illness, sometimes accompanied by hallucinations.” Although psychosis has been reported, the phenomenon is rare. Khat has also been known to cause cognitive impairment.

International organizations have been confronting problems associated with khat since 1935. The World Health Organization (WHO) played a pivotal role in encouraging and funding scientific studies designed to understand not only khat’s active ingredients but also the physical, psychological, and social problems associated with its use. In 1980, the WHO classified khat as a drug of abuse that may produce mild to moderate psychological dependency.

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