Central Asian green chew that gets you high?
June 25, 2008 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Anybody heard of a Central Asian drug that's green and gets you high when you chew it?

When I was at the border in Turkmenbashy, Turkmenistan, there were these soldiers in this back-room that tried (for hours) to get me to give them a bribe. They were stoned out of their minds on this bright green powder they were chewing and/or snorting. It was all over their gums. They had it in a little plastic bag. They offered me some but I didn't try it.

I thought maybe it was heroin ... but isn't heroin brown?
posted by metajc to Grab Bag (10 answers total)
Betel nut?
posted by bizwank at 4:16 PM on June 25, 2008

posted by moift at 4:23 PM on June 25, 2008

Yeah, sounds like khat
posted by doctor_negative at 4:32 PM on June 25, 2008

Khat is chewed as whole leaves, though, not snorted as a powder, as metajc describes, no? A spot of googling reveals that there's a synthetic version of khat that's snortable, which has found popularity in South African rave culture, but that seems a stretch. Also, isn't Turkmenistan a bit far north for Khat/Qat, which needs to be eaten fairly fresh?
posted by mumkin at 4:43 PM on June 25, 2008

Qat powder, we called it. You can get it in powdered form, but it's supposedly way better chewed as a fresh leaf. Probably what you saw was powdered because it's more native to places like Somalia than Turkmenistan, so it's harder to get fresh there.

It's fairly safe, actually. You should have tried it. Mildly addictive after long-term use, but nothing like heroin; its primary drawback is how it stains teeth.

People don't chew heroin!
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:46 PM on June 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, yall. I think you're right about the Fat Qat. I couldn't remember if they were snorting it or chewing it. They were mostly sneering and making fiendish remarks about my red hair.

The scene pretty much looked like this (but with nicer furnishings):
posted by metajc at 5:44 PM on June 25, 2008

Be careful; some places have started cracking down on it as a drug. If I remember correctly, one guy in my area went through an INS inquiry despite claiming some sort of religious/cultural exemption.
posted by Madamina at 6:33 PM on June 25, 2008

If you are interested in learning more about Qat/Khat culture check out EATING THE FLOWERS OF PARADISE by Kevin Rushby. (I just happen to be about half way through the book.)
posted by cinemafiend at 6:36 PM on June 25, 2008

It's not really pronounced to rhyme with "cat," it sounds more like "cot." By the way.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 8:19 PM on June 25, 2008

There was a qat tree in the Botanical Gardens here in South Australia. And then the Somali refugees found out about it.

They love that stuff for sure.
posted by Wolof at 5:51 AM on June 26, 2008

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