Khat use and neurobehavioral functions: Suggestions for future studies

Richard Hoffman, Mustafa N al'Absi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Although there is a rich body of research available regarding the effect of acute and chronic khat dosing in animal models, research on the behavioral and cognitive effects of khat in human subjects is not extensive and several of the available studies have been done only in the context of observational and single-case studies. In light of the absence of a substantial literature on the neurobehavioral deficits associated with khat use and to provide a context that could be used to identify themes for future research we review previous research that has focused on other stimulant drugs. This review highlights multiple areas of neurocognitive deficit that have been identified in previous studies of individuals who have been chronic users of stimulants, such as amphetamines and methamphetamines. The review highlights a substantial body of evidence demonstrating a wide range of learning and memory impairments including deficits that persist during abstinence from active drug use. This review does not imply a similar khat effect, but due to some similarities pharmacologically between the active components of khat (cathinone and cathine) and amphetamines, future studies examining these same domains of cognitive functioning in chronic khat users and abstinent khat users appears to be warranted, if possible using some of the same or similar laboratory measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-563
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


  • Amphetamine
  • Catha edulis Forsk
  • Cathinone
  • Khat
  • Neurobehavioral effects


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