As many people move away from smoking tobacco, alternative herbs to smoke alongside cannabis have started cropping up. As an alternative filler, herbs that are safe to smoke provide varying effects to complement your smoking experience.
Before experimenting with mixing herbs into your smoking routine, make sure the herb is safe to smoke by doing some research.
Lift & Co. corresponded via email with Amanda Midkiff from Locust Light Farm, a New Jersey herb farm and online store that creates and sells herbal products, including smoking blends.
“Do some research to see if herbalists are talking about it as a smoking herb or if herbal companies are selling the herb as part of a smoking blend,” Midkiff says. “Don’t assume that simply because it’s a plant, it’s safe.”
While some herbs are used to add a distinct flavour to a smoking blend (mint, sage, lemon balm), others affect the body and spirit, Midkiff explains.
“Smoking herbs is a great way to add flavour and extra magic to cannabis,” she says. “Herbs have an infinite variety of flavours, from floral to bitter to savoury to minty, and they can help to enrich your smoking life.”
Smoking herbs has a history of traditional uses in meditation practices, ceremonies, and what Midkiff refers to as “other soul-expanding activities.” Here are a few recommendations to get you started on your herbal smoking journey.
Most often associated with brewing beer, hops have the potential to be smoked for a citrusy and juniper flavour similar to a hoppy beer. Hops are part of the Cannabaceae family and contain the terpene myrcene, which is also found in cannabis. Hops can be overwhelming in large quantities or smoked on its own.
“I adore hops, but hops go straight to my head in a high-pitched, unpleasant way,” Midkiff says. “So I include them in a blend in small quantities.”
Early research shows that lungs have bitter flavour receptors.
“Herbs such as mullein and marshmallow leaf are more mild, and supportive of lung health, so I use them as a base for my blends,” Midkiff says.
Mullein leaf is considered by some as a medicinal herb who use it to soothe inflamed or infected lungs. A gentle and non-toxic herb, smoking mullein has almost no taste. It’s a bit like smoking air.
Other herbs that are said to assist the lungs are horehound and jimson weed seeds.
Known for its calming properties, lavender is a popular herb to mix in a herbal blend or with cannabis.
“Lavender is a strong herb that I enjoy but only in a mix,” Midkiff says. In other words, a small amount goes a long way when smoking lavender. The calming scent of lavender is thanks to the terpene linalool, which is found in certain strains of cannabis. The interaction of this terpene when mixed with cannabis creates an interesting high.
Midkiff recommends mixing with St. John’s wort, skullcap, or elephant’s head for the ultimate calming toke.
Considered a common weed in North America, mugwort has a long history of being revered all over the world, including ancient Greek and traditional Chinese medicine. Midkiff says Mugwort can be used to “aid in vivid, lucid dreams” and can help smokers reach a meditative state. It’s also used to treat a slew of ailments such as headaches and insomnia.
Note: if you get bad allergies in the spring time, you may be allergic to the plant and should avoid smoking it to prevent an onslaught of sneezes and mild rashes.