The concept of smoking dried herbs is almost as old as time. The practice has evolved from being used in spiritual awakenings and religious ceremonies to becoming a vital component in healing and relaxation routines. Even ancient civilizations believed in the healing properties of botanicals. Today, a large number of common and popular pharmaceutical medications are derived from plants and herbs.
Marijuana is a wonderful plant to smoke. After all, it’s full of THC, CBD, and other known and unknown cannabinoids that produce some interesting mood-enhancing, beneficial, and therapeutic effects when they bind and interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body. These effects are reportedly enhanced when smoking medical cannabis with complementary herbs.
Smoking Cannabis With Botanicals: The Entourage Effect
It’s no secret that cannabis has a positive effect on health and wellness. Mixing marijuana with certain natural herbs may increase its therapeutic effects on disease activity. A recent study in the RJPT, highlights the synergistic effects of medicinal herbs with cannabis. Combining certain herbs or plants with marijuana produces an entourage effect that enhances its stimulating, antagonizing, and modulating influence on the endocannabinoid system in the body.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a homeostatic physiological regulator that affects practically every aspect of the body, from sleeping to eating, talking, and breathing. Now that more is known about the ECS system, numerous studies highlight its affinity for cannabinoids in other common and not so common herbs and plants that are used in many food, medicine, and practical applications today.
Health Benefits of Smoking Marijuana With Herbs
Today’s cannabis users not only have access to a wide variety of marijuana strains. They also have the opportunity to mix their weed with botanicals to customize their smoking sessions for the following health benefits.
Treat Skin Irritations
Support Brain Health
Boost Cognitive Function
Marijuana may produce unpleasant effects for some users. Many smokers find they can counteract adverse effects by mixing their cannabis with some of their favorite herbs and vice versa. Creating an herbal smoking blend can also help improve the flavor profile of certain cannabis strains.
Vaporizing Cannabis With Botanical Herbs
An alternative option for smoking marijuana and herbs is vaping. Anyone who is not a fan of smoking their herbs with cannabis may want to vape them instead. Why? Vaping carries significantly fewer risks than smoking.
Vaporizers reduce toxin exposure and respiratory symptoms and produce significantly lower amounts of carbon monoxide, according to a study by Springer Nature. Unlike marijuana pre-rolls, where fire is the combustible catalyst that transforms the wrap/smoke paper and marijuana into inhalable smoke that contains carcinogens, toxins, THC, and other cannabinoids, vaporizers work a bit differently to produce a more favorable and less toxic result.
Vaporizers are safer for people who smoke cannabis and ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to experience the harsh and somewhat unpleasant effects of conventional smoking. They are also better for heating dry herbs without burning them up. Instead of using fire to burn, vaporizers use a dry electronic element to heat dry herbs until they’re hot enough to release an inhalable cannabinoid-rich vapor. Cannabis vaporizers carry fewer risks and are a safer alternative to smoking the traditional way.
To enjoy the therapeutic effects of cannabis and herbs, you are not limited to vaporizing one herb at a time. Mixing one or a few herbs with the right marijuana strain can boost the overall health and therapeutic effects of the blend, enhance the overall flavor profile, and help stretch your personal cannabis supply.
Shopping for Medicinal Marijuana and Herbs
The dangers of purchasing cannabis and herbs from unknown or unvetted sources include questionable or harmful content. There are many botanicals marketed as safe and natural, but a closer review of their ingredients often indicates otherwise. Many places online and physical retailers sell synthetic marijuana and other herbal blends with unverifiable content.
A recent study from Springer Nature discovered that some synthetic marijuana and herbs contain masking agents that have a masking effect that decreases the influence of active ingredients. The study found that when vitamins E and E acetate, oleamide, and other non-cannabinoid substances are used as preservatives and fillers, the overall active properties of the blends diminished. When choosing herbs to smoke with cannabis, use the following key factors to guide your selection.
Risks and Benefits: Not all strains and botanical combinations produce a favorable effect. It’s important to learn about the properties of each plant and how they may interact with cannabis. Some pairings can lead to adverse side effects and turn what’s normally a great smoking session into an unpleasant experience.
Quality and Source: Quality matters, especially when it comes to choosing the best herbs and marijuana strains to combine for a smoking session. Smoking is not necessarily the safest way to use herbs or cannabis. But taking proactive measures can help minimize the potential risks and ensure a desirable smoking experience. Always use good quality herbs and marijuana.
Avoid purchasing products from questionable or unverifiable sources. The best way to control the quality of marijuana is to go to a local dispensary. All products are tested and verified so you know exactly what you’re getting. Only use plants from credible sources, such as the grocery store or a local farm. Even, check the labels. Always research the brand, source, ingredients, and cultivation products used if possible to be safe.
Storage: Keep your smoking herbs and marijuana safe by storing them in a container that preserves their freshness. Many plants, including cannabis, lose their potency and freshness when they are exposed to the air. Consider keeping your marijuana in a stash box and herbs in glass containers and stored in a cool, dark place to keep them from losing their flavor and potency.
Best Herbs to Smoke With Cannabis
There’s no shortage of cannabis or CBD strain or botanicals to combine for smoke sessions. Check out some popular herbs that pair well with medical marijuana.
Lavender is a suitable smoking herb for those looking to soothe the nervous system, relax, reduce stress, reduce pain or help with sleep. It’s also a very aromatic herb that many patients enjoy. The verdict is still out on whether smoking produces similar therapeutic effects compared to using lavender as an essential oil. But many cannabis smokers are happy with the calming and aromatic enhancements it provides to their marijuana smoke sessions.
Rosemary is a good herb to mix with cannabis for patients to consider if they’re looking for cancer-fighting, cognitive enhancing, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Many smokers find it a pleasant addition to marijuana smoke blends.
Chamomile reportedly has bisabolol, a terpene that is also found in the cannabis plant. This terpene reportedly has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, calming, and antifungal properties. Pink Kush and Harle-Tsu are a couple of popular marijuana strains that are high in bisabolol. Combining any of those strains with chamomile can lead to amazing and highly therapeutic smoke sessions.
Mugwort is a bronchodilator which is something to take into consideration when smoking herbs or cannabis. Smoke inhalation is irritating to the nose and lungs. It’s not unusual for some smokers to cough while smoking herbs or cannabis. Blending mugwort with marijuana can help lessen some of the unpleasant physical effects of smoke inhalation, such as coughing, watery eyes, and stinging nostrils while giving the blend a subtle sweet flavor. Mugwort is also helpful in managing digestive issues, such as nausea and vomiting, and reducing pain and fatigue.
Echinacea is full of cannabinoids that help support the immune system and enhance nutrient absorption. Incorporating it into marijuana for smoke sessions can enhance its anxiety, fatigue, and migraine fighting properties, and overall medicinal qualities.
Of course, a couple of honorable mentions that would make great additions to anyone’s smoking stash are peppermint and rose petals. While these are very popular, we prefer the herbs we mentioned above more.
Peppermint reportedly has limonene, a terpene that’s also found in the cannabis plant. This terpene is known for its pain, stress, antinausea, appetite boosting and energizing properties. Peppermint is also beneficial for respiratory health and vascular function as well. Smoking peppermint with cannabis is an excellent way to add a minty and refreshing taste and aroma to your smoking sessions.
Rose petals are complementary to most cannabis strains. Mixing marijuana with rose petals enhances the positive effects of marijuana while adding a pleasant aroma and taste. The health benefits of rose petals reportedly include pain analgesic, mood enhancement, immune function and digestive system support, and anti-inflammatory.
Potential Health Risks of Smoking Herbs
We’d be remiss if we didn’t provide a warning about the dangers of smoking in general, especially in regards to tobacco and other herbs. Smoke inhalation can be dangerous. Not only can it damage your lungs, but the pain and discomfort of coughing can be unpleasant, even for those with a history of smoking. For some, edibles might be a suitable alternative to consider.
Even still, smoking is arguably one of the most mainstream and popular ways to enjoy cannabis. Not only does it reportedly help reduce inflammation in the lungs and respiratory system, but studies show it may also increase lung capacity. Medical marijuana has many medicinal and therapeutic benefits that directly and indirectly affect the endocannabinoid system, unlike tobacco, nicotine cigarettes, cigars, and smoking products.
Talk to a Marijuana Doctor Today
Whether you plan to smoke marijuana with a vaporizer or roll up a spliff, feel free to toss in a pinch or two of your favorite medicinal or botanical herbs for a transformative smoking session or experience. Don’t forget that dry herbs and flowers are best. Visit your local dispensary for your favorite marijuana strains and smoking paraphernalia.
To learn more about smoking marijuana with herbs for medicinal purposes or to apply for or update your medical marijuana recommendation, contact us to talk to a medical marijuana doctor about your situation.