So we all know that certain drugs grow in certain regions. Cocaine grows in South America, heroin in the Middle East and marijuana in the Caribbean. So what about Africa? Africa has a drug called khat which is similar to cocaine but without the addictive properties. Keep in mind that this is a natural plant that has been around for centuries and is embedded in some cultures.
What Is Khat?
The khat drug which is also known as qat comes from the khat plant. This plant is a flowering shrub or tree that grows near the horn of africa. it is known to be drought resistant. The leaves and stem contain the active ingredient called cathinone. This is what gives the leaves it’s power. The leaves and stems are chewed or used in teas to get the effect. In order to get the best effect, the leaves and stems have to be moist and soft. So dried khat leaves will not be effective since cathinone in leaves fully degrades in 48 hours.
Cathinone produces a mild euphoria and excitement when chewed. Think of it as equivalent to having 6 cups of coffee in an hour. Oh Yeah. As an added bonus, it also works as an appetite suppressor. To give it perspective, imagine chewing gum and being able to skip meals because you are not hungry. Khat sounds good, doesn’t it?
Alas, all is not good, not even in nature. There are side effects to using khat. First let’s begin with the slight chance of addiction from chewing too much of it. So when an attempt is made to try to stop using it, you get symptoms of withdrawal, mild cases of depression and irritability. Now you can add to these symptoms with constipation, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, hallucinations, increased chances of heart attacks, permanent staining of the teeth, ulcers and a lower sex drive. Not very appealing to me and it doesn’t sound like it is not worth it.
Have you tried khat?