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Is Miraa Legal in Kenya?
In a word, yes.
However it is illegal in 15 European Union Member States and Norway. Tanzania has also recently banned miraa (also known as khat) consumption, while The United Kingdom and Netherlands banned miraa in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Miraa is also targeted by anti-drug organizations such as the DEA in USA.
Reasons for this change in policy varied among the countries. The Netherlands barred miraa imports saying consumption had adverse health and social effects. The UK, on the other hand, feared becoming the new smuggling route for miraa into Europe. Despite these facts, sale, and consumption of miraa are legal in Kenya, as well as Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen.
What are the Benefits of Miraa
According to www.drugs.com there are no well-controlled clinical trials, therefore assertions that it is a viable means of weight loss or other such claims are without substance. Conversely, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified khat (locally known as miraa) as a drug of abuse that can produce psychological dependence. In other words, although it isn't associated with physical addiction, it can create a continuing desire for its consumption.
Military and Civilian use of miraa in Somalia has been blamed for draining the nation's economy, fueling civil war, and undermining international relief efforts. This may sound extreme, but it raises the question: What is it about this drug that would cause anyone to believe such a charge? What exactly happens when you chew miraa?
Effects of Miraa on the Mind
Initially, during miraa sessions, there is an atmosphere of cheerfulness, optimism and a general sense of well-being. Effects such as mood changes, increased alertness, excessive talkativeness, hyperactivity, excitement can be expected, so can aggressiveness, anxiety, manic behavior, paranoia, and mental disorders. After about 2 hours, tension, emotional instability and irritability begin to appear, later leading to feelings of low mood and sluggishness. Chewers tend to leave a session feeling depleted. Trouble sleeping (insomnia), loss of energy (malaise), and lack of concentration usually follow.
Effects on the Body
Physiologically, effects include elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, heart palpitations, faster breathing rates, increased body temperature, sweating, eye changes, mouth ulcers, inflammation of the esophagus and stomach, gum disease, jaw problems (TMJ), and constipation. Severe side effects include migraine, bleeding in the brain, heart attack, lung problems, liver damage, changes in sex drive, and last but not least, inability to get an erection (impotence).
Not only can chewing miraa lead to a decrease in food consumption, which in turn leads to a loss of overall health and condition, studies have shown miraa may also impede food absorption, multiplying the effect of lost appetite. Rats fed miraa have shown a retardation of growth, not from loss of appetite, but from decreased absorption of food. They were not properly digesting what little food they were eating.
Miraa is Often Associated with Other Substance Abuses
We at Kayole Mtaa Safi believe in healthy body, mind and spirit. Our aim is to promote and encourage a healthy, productive, creative lifestyle in and around the Kayole area.
Feel free to contact us for more information.
Post in this blog are contributed by the various members of Kayole Mtaa Safi Initiative.