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Khat or Ghat

Khat or Ghat (Catha Edulis)

Street names

Chat, Quat, Qat, Qaadka, Catha Edulis

General Information

Khat is a stimulant with similar effects to Amphetamines. It is used regularly by the Somalian and Yemeni Community, but primarily by men. There is a suggestion that the social stigma surrounding Khat use by women, means they may be more likely to use it on their own, in small groups or keep their use a secret.   Khat comes from a leafy green plant of the same name and is a herbal substance containing many different compounds. The plant is native to tropical East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The main active ingredient is Cathinone. Users chew the leaves over a number of hours for their stimulant properties. It can suppress the appetite.


  • It can make people feel more alert and talkative
  • Khat can produce feelings of elation
  • Although it is a stimulant many users report a feeling of calm if used over a few hours.


  • Khat can make a user psychologically dependant (with a desire to keep using in spite of potential harm)
  •  When they stop using users may feel lethargic or mildly depressed.
  • If used a lot, Khat can cause insomnia, heart problems, increased blood pressure and sexual problems like impotence.
  • It can give feelings of anxiety and aggression
  • Some people find Khat makes them irritable and in some cases angry and violent
  • Some users suffer from nightmares, mood swings hallucinations, giddiness and confusion
  • Uses can also suffer from dry mouth, hyperthermia, sweating, aching and constipation
  • Khat can make pre- existing mental health problems worse.


Khat is Class C as of July 2013.