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Bull World Health Organ. 1984;62(5):681-6.

Khat: an amphetamine-like plant material.


The chewing of leaves of the khat shrub is common in certain countries of East Africa and the Arabian peninsula, and many khat users are subject to psychic dependence on the drug. The syndrome observed after khat consumption is characterized by a certain degree of CNS stimulation and by sympathomimetic effects; it is reminiscent of that induced by amphetamine.Recently, the alkaloid (-)-cathinone has been isolated from khat leaves and this substance produces effects in animals that are analogous to those of (+)-amphetamine and that correlate well with the effects observed in humans after khat consumption. Furthermore, it has been shown that (-)-cathinone acts by the same mechanism as (+)-amphetamine, i.e., by inducing release at physiological catecholamine storage sites. Taken together, these studies indicate that khat must be considered an amphetamine-like material.

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