Intended for healthcare professionals

Fillers A memorable experience

The qat party

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 21 August 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:500
  1. D N Baron, retired professor of chemical pathology
  1. London

    About 15 years ago I went on a medical academic visit to the Yemeni capital, Sana'a. Everyone was very hospitable, and one afternoon a Yemeni colleague invited me to join him socially to chew qat [khat] This grows as a small tree (Catha edulis) that flourishes around the Red Sea, with leaves like privet. These leaves contain cathinone (α-aminopropiophenone, related to amphetamine) as the most powerful substance, which breaks down within days to the weaker cathine (norpseudoephedrine), and related compounds. So they act as uppers; a near equivalent Western upper is “speed”. …

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