legalize catnip by cecile appert

Nepeta [neh-puh-ta] is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae, commonly known as ‘catnip’ because of their attractant effect on cats—the nepetalactone contained in nepeta binds to the olfactory receptors of cats, typically resulting in temporary euphoria. Catmints are also used in herbal medicine for their mild sedative effect on humans.

Nepetalactone is an organic compound, first reported in 1941 after it was isolated by steam distillation of catnip. The compound is also present in the wood of tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), shavings of which are often used in cat toys. Around 80% of cats are affected and susceptibility is gene-linked. The chemical interacts as a vapor at the olfactory epithelium. Nepetalactone has effects on some insects: it repels cockroaches and mosquitoes.

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