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What you need to know:
Individuals chewing khat have psychotic symptoms including hallucinations, delusions, and disturbed thoughts, according to a study conducted by Kenya’s renowned psychiatrist, Prof Lukoye Atwoli.

The new study undertook a large household survey to determine the association between  psychotic symptoms and khat chewing in a rural khat-growing and chewing population in Kenya.

Prof Atwoli and his team of 14 experts randomly selected 831 participants aged 10 years and above residing in the Eastern region of Kenya.

“We used the psychosis screening questionnaire (PSQ) to collect information on psychotic symptoms and a researcher-designed sociodemographic and clinical questionnaire to collect information on its risk factors,” read the study.

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In addition to its euphoric acute effect, khat users also commonly report increased levels of alertness, decreased hunger and fatigue and a general sense of well-being during chewing.
The euphoric effect is felt within an hour of chewing khat.

Cathinone which is the main alkaloid constituent of khat reaches peak plasma levels 1.5–3.5 hours after the onset of chewing.
Its average elimination half-life is four and a half hours.

—Source: NMG 

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