ALTERNATIVES TO TOBACCOCannabis and tobacco go hand in hand. However, there are many alternatives which not only open up new dimensions of taste, but that are also healthier than tobacco. Some of them are also psychoactive and enhance or complement the smoker’s experience.
Are you one of the many people who mix cannabis with tobacco? Why?
Tobacco contains nicotine and at least 250 toxic substances that will damage your health. For decades, the cigarette industry kept telling us that tobacco was the one and only plant for smokers.
It is true that it has been used for centuries in many cultures, but plenty of other plants were used too. They were not only smoked for pleasure, but were also used in traditional healing ceremonies. Damiana, for example, was one of the Maya peoples’ most important medicinal plants.
Over the last few years, more and more natural tobacco mixes have come onto the market that do not contain any chemical additives. There are also mixtures that contain no tobacco at all and which are becoming ever more popular.
It’s a bit like cow’s milk. In the past, nobody asked for anything else, now more and more people are opting for alternatives. There is plenty of truth in the old saying: “Variety is the spice of life.”
10 alternatives to tobacco that are a perfect partner for cannabis
Basically, you can smoke almost any dried herbs or leaves. That said, some are better suited to it than others. As well as offering a pleasant smell and taste, a herb or leaf should also burn smoothly.
Here we introduce you to ten alternatives to tobacco that not only taste and smell wonderful, but are also all 100% natural and nicotine free. Let’s get started!
1. Damiana – the aphrodisiac from the Americas
Even its name sounds like a seductive murmur. Damiana is regarded as an aphrodisiac in its native Mexico. Alongside its aphrodisiac qualities, consumers report mood-enhancing, anxiety-reducing and relaxing effects.
Damiana leaves contain terpenes, caffeine, tannin and resins. Its taste and odour range from sweet to bitter. Some smokers find that Damiana is too rough on their throats. It is very affordable.
2. Chamomile – the old magic ingredient that grows by the roadside
Good old chamomile tea is one of the best-known remedies for a common cold. Chamomile is also supposed to be good for relieving stress, anxiety, inflammation or to settle the stomach. Along with several essential oils, the yellow flowers contain flavonoids, whose positive effects on health have a healthy reputation.
Chamomile grows throughout Europe, and so is a good choice for those who are looking for an ecological and healthy alternative to tobacco. However, you do need to buy dried buds and not just cut open some tea bags.
3. Sage – the Cabernet Sauvignon of herbs
Just like the Cabernet grape, sage is very uncomplicated and resistant. Unlike other herbs, sage leaves grow more aromatic as the plant ages. Their flavour continues even after it has flowered. It is best described as pleasantly spicy and bitter. Sage is full of essential oils such as thujone, camphor, cineole and borneol. It has an antibacterial effect and also works as a partial anti-virus, which is why sage has been a medicinal plant throughout the ages.
4. Mate – the trendy picker-upper from the jungle
The Spanish name “yerba” just means “grass”, but mate is in fact a tree, given its size. It is a native of South America, where it has been drunk as tea for centuries. Its complex aroma is not to everyone’s taste – mate tastes earthy, smoky, sweet and sour all at the same time.
Thanks to its high caffeine content it is regarded as a stimulant and a slimming aid. This makes mate highly cosmopolitan, and it has been reinvented as a soft drink. Mate can also enhance an exciting sativa high.
5. Kratom – the power plant from Southeast Asia
The leaves of the kratom tree have been used traditionally as a medicine, intoxicant and opiate substitute. In small doses kratom induces euphoria and is a stimulant, in high doses it is a sedative and painkiller. Consumers report intense highs from mixing cannabis and kratom. Little is known about how they interact, so be very careful with this combination!
6. Lavender – the blue flower that does everything
Whether as a herb, or to combat greenfly, tension or treat burns, lavender is good for everything. Just like many types of cannabis, it contains the terpene linalool, which is known for its effects on reducing anxiety and inducing calm. Its bitter-sweet taste is a little reminiscent of rosemary.
There are indications, that THC, CBD and terpenes reinforce each other’s therapeutic effects. Another benefit: lavender appears to reduce the itchy feeling in your throat when smoking or steaming cannabis.
7. Mint – the ultimate fresh kick
Tea, cocktails, sauces, desserts – mint is the universally adaptable herb that brings a special freshness to food and drink. The cosmetic industry discovered mint for itself a long time ago, but not all mint is the same.
There are 600 different varieties, the most popular being peppermint and spearmint. They are full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, copper, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Mint and cannabis are the perfect pair; whether you grow them together or combine them in a joint or vaporizer.
8. Rosemary – the Mediterranean classic
Rosemary lends its unmistakeable aroma to many dishes. You should not overdo it with fresh twigs, as the bitter taste will dominate. This herb is full of anti-oxidants and beta-caryophyllene, which are also found in black pepper and cannabis.
Why not enhance the healing effect and combine all three of them in a blended smoke? Helps with depression and inflammation, and strengthens the immune system.
9. Echinacea – the queen of flowers
With its attractive colours and star-shaped flowers, echinacea is everyone’s idea of a beautiful flower. Echinacea supplements fend off colds and strengthen the immune system.
As a tea, echinacea really only tastes good when blended with other herbs; in its pure form the aroma is too flowery (which is no surprise when you look at the flowers). Echinacea tends to make your mouth and lips tingle, but this only happens with extracts and teas, not when smoking or vaping.
10. Ashwagandha – the Ayurvedic classic
Ashwagandha, or Indian ginseng, has a prominent place in the Ayurvedic healing system. The plant is known for its soporific qualities, but also helps with anxiety, tension, impotence and inflammation. Traditionally, the leaves and the root are ground into a powder and served as a tea.
Just like tobacco, ashwagandha belongs to the nightshade family. It is the only substance on our list that contains traces of nicotine. Like CBD, ashwagandha is said to reduce the anxiety that can be caused by consuming (too much) THC.
Finding the right blend
Everyone is different and has their own taste. While some will only consume pure cannabis, others swear by tobacco or create their own smoking blend. You need to experiment to find the right blend for you and the perfect balance.
At the end of the day, it just needs to taste good. We would love to hear from you in the comments column about the alternatives to tobacco you enjoy most in a joint or vaporizer.