Methcathinone, commonly called cat, is occasionally confused with khat. Methcathinone is a synthetic Schedule I substance that has a similar chemical structure to the cathinone in the khat plant. Methcathinone is produced in clandestine laboratories and sold as a methamphetamine alternative. The addictive properties and side effects of this synthetic are more intense than either of the naturally occurring khat substances.
How is it used?
Khat is typically chewed like tobacco. The fresh leaves, twigs, and shoots of the khat shrub are chewed, and then retained in the cheek and chewed intermittently to release the active drug. Dried plant material can be made into tea or a chewable paste, but dried khat is not as potent as the fresh plant product.
Khat can also be smoked and even sprinkled on food.
What are its short-term effects?
Compulsive use may result in manic behavior with grandiose delusions or in a paranoid type of illness, sometimes accompanied by hallucinations.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org, 2013
Khat Fast Facts (National Drug Intelligence Center)