qat-induced hallucination

   The name qat is also spelled as quat, khat, chat, cat, kat, and kaht. All names stem from qat, which is the Arabic name for Catha edulis Forskall, an evergreen shrub indigenous to northeast African countries and the Arabic peninsula, where it has been used at least since the 12th century. Qat tends to be classified as a mild CNS stimulant or a minor * hallucinogen. To obtain the stimulant effects of qat, the leaves and/or other parts of C. edulis are chewed or infused to make a tea. The plant's psychoactive properties are attributed to the alkaloids cathenine, cathe-dine (A, B, C, and D), cathinone, and cathine. Cathine, or norpseudoephedrine, in particular, has long been held responsible for the induction of stimulant effects such as euphoria, mental alertness, suppression of appetite, and a diminished need for sleep. However, on the basis of more recent studies it has been suggested that cathinone, a compound structurally related to D-amphetamine, may be even more important in producing these effects. The aftereffects of qat consumption include physical fatigue, apathy, anorexia, irritability, mild paranoia, and mild depression. The most common type of hallucination reported by qat users is *formication, i.e. a *tactile hallucination of bugs swarming on or beneath the skin, as in * cocaine bugs. Qat users tend to attribute this type of hallucination to the use of relatively cheap - yet strong -varieties of qat. Occasionally, qat intoxication induces amphetamine-like * psychotic symptoms such as * visual and * auditory hallucinations, excitation, disorientation, and formal thought disorder. A group headed by the American psychiatrist and anthropologist John G. Kennedy, who studied the effects of qat in North Yemen, found that 50-60% of the women and 80-85% of the men chew qat at least once a week. In their study sample, 30% of the habitual users reported having experienced hallucinations on at least one occasion. Chronic psychotic states induced by qat were virtually unknown. A person intentionally employing qat for the purpose of exploring the psyche may be called a * psychonaut.
   Kennedy, J.G. (1987). The flower of paradise. The institutionalized use of the drug qat in North Yemen. Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company.
   Rudgley, R. (1998). The encyclopaedia of psychoactive substances. London: Little, Brown and Company.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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