The effects of khat

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The effects of khat

Learn More. Catha edulis khat is a plant grown commonly in the horn of Africa. The leaves of khat are chewed by the people for its stimulant action. Its young buds and tender leaves are chewed to attain a state of euphoria and stimulation. Khat is an evergreen shrub, which is cultivated as a bush or small tree.

The The effects of khat have an aromatic odor. The taste is astringent and slightly sweet. The plant is seedless and hardy, growing in a variety of climates and soils. Many different compounds are found in khat including alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids, sterols, glycosides, tannins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. The phenylalkylamines and the cathedulins are the major alkaloids which are structurally related to amphetamine.

The major effects of khat include those on the gastro-intestinal system and on the nervous system. Constipation, urine retention and acute cardiovascular effects may be regarded as autonomic peripheral nervous system effects; increased alertness, dependence, tolerance and psychiatric symptoms as effects on the central The effects of khat system. The main toxic effects include increased blood pressure, tachycardia, insomnia, anorexia, constipation, general malaise, irritability, migraine and impaired sexual potency in men.

Databases such as Pubmed, Medline, Hinary, Google search, Cochrane and Embase were systematically searched for literature on the different aspects of khat to summarize chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology of khat Catha edulis Forsk.

The effects of khat

Khat is a natural stimulant from the Catha edulis plant that is cultivated in the Republic of Yemen and most of the countries of East Africa. Khat can be grown in droughts where other crops have failed and also at high altitudes. Khat is harvested throughout the year.

The effects of khat

Planting is staggered to obtain a continuous supply. The vast majority of those ingesting khat do so by chewing.

The effects of khat

Only a small ingest it by making a drink from dried leaves, or even more rarely, by smoking dried leaves. The chewer fills his or her mouth with leaves and stalks, and then chews slowly and intermittently to release the active components in the juice, which is then swallowed with saliva. The plant material is chewed into a ball, which is kept for a while in the cheek, causing a characteristic bulge. Only a minority frequently chew alone. A session may last for several hours. During this time chewers drink copious amounts of non-alcoholic fluids such as cola, tea and cold water.

In a khat chewing session, initially there is an atmosphere of cheerfulness, optimism and a general sense of well-being. After about 2 hours, tension, emotional instability and irritability begin to appear, later leading to feelings of The effects of khat mood and sluggishness.

Chewers tend to leave the session feeling depleted. Chewing khat is both a social and a culture-based activity. It is said to enhance social interaction, playing a role in ceremonies such as weddings. In Yemen, Muslims are the most avid chewers. Some believe that chewing facilitates contact with Allah when praying. However, many Christians and Yemenite Jews in Israel also chew khat. Khat is a stimulant and it is used to improve performance, stay alert and to increase work capacity.

Students have chewed khat in an attempt to improve mental performance before exams. Yemeni khat chewers believe that khat is beneficial for minor ailments such as The effects of khat, colds, body pains, fevers, arthritis and also depression. Khat contains more than forty alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. In the Yemen Arab Republic, about 44 different types of khat exist originating from different geographic areas of the country. The cathedulins are based on a polyhydroxylated sesquiterpene skeleton and are basically polyesters of euonyminol. Recently, 62 different cathedulins from fresh khat leaves were characterized.

These compounds are structurally related to amphetamine and noradrenaline. The plant contains the - -enantiomer of cathinone only. Cathinone is mainly found in the young leaves and shoots.

The effects of khat

These compounds seem to contribute less to the stimulant effects of khat. Cathinone is unstable and undergoes decomposition reactions after harvesting and during drying or extraction of the plant material. Both the dimer and phenylpropanedione have been isolated from khat extracts. The phenylalkylamine content of khat leaves varies within wide limits. Fresh khat from different origin contained on the average 36 mg cathinone, mg cathine, and 8 mg norephedrine per gram of leaves.

Khat contains many different compounds and therefore khat chewing may have many different effects. The major effects include those on the gastro-intestinal system and on the nervous system. As cathinone, and to a lesser extent cathine, are held responsible for the effects of khat on the nervous system, the effects of the many other constituents of the khat The effects of khat are frequently overlooked.

As a consequence, much research has been focused on the pharmacological effects of cathinone and cathine, and much less on the other constituents of khat.

The effects of khat

Because The effects of khat the large of different compounds in khat, it is not feasible to include all effects of all components of khat. But this report will focus on the psychoactive properties of khat and the main psychoactive compounds, cathinone and cathine, found in khat. Rats fed C. In pregnant rats, khat reduces food consumption and maternal weight gain, and also lowers the food efficiency index. Many reports have since confirmed the enhanced locomotor activity.

In addition, khat extracts and - -cathinone produce stereotyped behavior, self-administration and anorectic effects in animal species. Both khat extract and - -cathinone enhance baseline aggressive behavior of isolated rats. Cathinone is also able to act as a discriminative stimulus in a food-reinforced operant task. Dopaminergic antagonists e. Further evidence for serotonergic involvement is given in a recent study in which both khat extract and cathinone produced a ificant The effects of khat of serotonin and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in both the anterior and posterior striatum.

Locomotor sensitization and deficits in prepulse inhibition PPI induced by psychostimulants are two paradigms that have been widely studied as animal behavioral models of amphetamine psychosis. Repeated oral administration of a standardized C. Clozapine, an atypical antipsychotic agent, was able to reverse this behavioral sensitization and the PPI deficits induced by C. In the remaining regions anterior and posterior striatum no ificant changes were found. Cathinone has vasoconstrictor activity in isolated perfused hearts from guinea pigs.

In rabbits, a khat extract given orally for 30 successive days induced a decrease in adrenal cholesterol, glycogen, ascorbic acid and an increase in adrenal phosphorylase activity, serum free fatty acids and urinary hydroxycorticosteroids.

This effect was also seen after oral administration of cathinone and cathine 6. Animal data are conflicting. Treatment of male mice with a khat extract over a period of 6 weeks produced a dose-dependent reduction in fertility rate in female The effects of khat in the first week after the 6-week khat treatment.

Cathinone also produced a ificant decrease in plasma testosterone The effects of khat of the rats. Although both enantiomers of cathinone produced deleterious effects on male reproductive system, - -cathinone was found to be more toxic. Khat given to pregnant guinea pigs reduces placental blood flow 52 and produces growth retardation in the offspring. The main effects of khat chewing are The effects of khat the central and peripheral nervous system, and on the oro-gastro-intestinal system Table 1.

Reported and suggested adverse effects of khat in human 9. Khat chewing induces a state of euphoria and elation with feelings of increased alertness and arousal. This is followed by a stage of vivid discussions, loquacity and an excited mood. Thinking is characterized by a flight of ideas but without the ability to concentrate. However, at the end of a khat session the user may experience depressive mood, irritability, anorexia and difficulty to sleep. In a Yemen study with adult healthy volunteers, functional mood disturbances were reported during khat sessions Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale.

The effect The effects of khat anxiety and depression was temporary and disappeared the next day. They did not report any severe adverse reactions. The chewing dose was 0. This is about one-half to one-fourth of the regular khat dose chewed in sessions. Khat induces a fall in average and maximum urine flow rate in healthy men 1955 The urinary effects are probably mediated through stimulation of alpha1-adrenergic receptors by cathinone. This is indicated by the complete blockage of this effect by indoramin, a selective antagonist of alpha1-adrenergic receptors.

Khat chewing has no clinically ificant effect on gall bladder motility. Khat chewing induces small and transient rises in blood pressure and heart rate. In a pharmacokinetic study, diastolic and systolic blood pressures were elevated for about 3 hours after chewing. The dose used was about one quarter 0. This resulted in a mean oral dose of 45 mg cathinone. This rather low dose did not affect heart rate, pupil size and reaction to light, and it did not induce rotary nystagmus or impairment of reaction.

An impairment of other psychophysical functions could not be objectified. Nencini et al. Khat usage affects cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, endocrine, and genito-urinary systems. In addition, it affects the nervous system and can induce paranoid psychosis and hypomanic illness with grandiose delusions.

Biochemically, khat leaves decreased plasma cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides in rabbits, 70 and increased plasma alkaline phosphatase and alanine aminotransferase in white rabbits. In addition, some kidney lesions were seen with the presence of fat droplets in the upper cortical tubules, acute cellular swelling, hyaline tubules, and acute tubular necrosis. Spleen was not affected and the histoarchitecture of the testes and cauda epididymis was normal showing, however, increased rate of spermatogenesis.

The amount of khat consumed by the rabbits cannot be evaluated from the details given. The authors reported that, in general, the activity and the behavior of the animals were observed to be normal. Khat chewing can induce two kinds of psychotic reactions. First, a manic illness with grandiose delusions and second, a paranoid or schizophreniform psychosis with persecutory delusions associated with mainly auditory hallucinations, fear and anxiety, resembling amphetamine psychosis.

Khat psychosis, however, is an infrequent phenomenon, probably due to the physical limits of the amount of khat leaves that can be chewed. In moderate users there was no excess morbidity. Chewing more than two bundles per day was associated with increased psychiatric morbidity. Case reports confirm that adverse effects occur at high doses of khat. Hypnagogic hallucinations have been reported in chronic khat users.

Patients may consider them as normal and do not usually report these hallucinations unless specifically asked about. Adverse effects of khat chewing include impairment of perceptual-visual memory and decision-speed cognitive functions. Toennes and Kauert investigated plasma khat alkaloid concentrations in 19 cases suspected of driving under the influence of drugs. In all cases, cathinone or cathine was found in blood and urine, but an association between alkaloid concentrations and impaired driving could not be established. Nevertheless, the authors concluded that chronic khat use might lead to a marked deterioration of psychophysical functions.

One case history of severe leukoencephalopathy associated with khat misuse has been reported. An increased incidence of acute myocardial infarction presenting between 2 pm and midnight, i. As a consequence of its mode of consumption, khat affects the oral cavity and the digestive tract.

The effects of khat

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Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Toxicology of Khat (Catha Edulis Forsk): A Review