When one of the boys told me they sometimes substituted tobacco for chamomile in their spliffs/cones, it got me thinking (or rather, googling). What less harmful herbal substitutes could we use to make our fid bags stretch that little bit further?
This small shrub is native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America, and has long been hailed as an aphrodisiac. Arousal is sometimes hard to achieve through the fug of a body high, so if you want to be a stoned horndog this could be the plant for you. It is said to also produce feelings of euphoria and soothe anxiety, which makes it the perfect accompaniment for your nightly unwinding cone. However, higher doses of the plant are said to produce a hallucinogenic effect. And we’re not talking third-eye opening, spiritual hallucinations; we’re talking hallucinations that give you symptoms similar to having fucking rabies. But this is only a risk if you’re honking through 200g+, so a dusting on top of your spliff every now and then isn’t likely to send you into a frothing frenzy.
Traditionally, the South Africans absolutely rave about this shit. They inhale it, chew it and brew it up for a relaxing cuppa. It’s said to decrease anxiety, tension and stress, which makes it a natural choice for a tobacco substitute. It starts off producing a euphoric feeling, which later settles into relaxation. However, it’s been said to produce the same effects as SSRI’s, which means you should consult with your doctor on its potential side effects if you’re already on SSRI medication or St. John’s Wort.
This pretty blue flower was revered by the Ancient Egyptians as an aphrodisiac for men and women alike (honestly wondering at this point whether there’s any plants that AREN’T aphrodisiacs). Smoking this with cannabis adds a nice flavour as well as complementing the bud’s euphoric effects. Fun fact: it’s believed that Egyptians soaked the flower in wine or other alcohol to enhance its psychoactive properties. It also has a sedative quality so would also be a great chop alternative for that ‘nightcap’ cone or spliff.
This is the cheapest alternative, coming in at $16.00 for 100g while the plants listed above have already soared well into the hundreds of dollars. This is probably its most appealing factor as its sedative/calming properties are nowhere near as potent as damiana, blue lotus and kanna. However, it has also been long used to treat stomach ailments so if you’re crook and poor, this is definitely the chop alternative for you. Just make sure you buy actual whole, dried chamomile flowers to crumble on top of your cone - cutting open one of those weak ass teabags won’t do shit.
This one goes out to all you bougie e-girls. Not only will this one mask the sour earthy smell of bud, lavender has the terpene ‘linalool’ which is also found in some strains of cannabis. Smoking lavender with cannabis is said to produce what is called the ‘entourage effect’, meaning that cannabinoids like THC and CBD synergise with the linalool to boost and alter your high. I also only read this on a cannabis forum with no scientific references whatsoever so don’t blame me if you just get a mouthful of lavender. Again, you’re a mug if you just go out into your garden and grab a bunch of lavender to mix into your cone. You need to pour boiling water onto fresh branches or dry flowers, then cover the plater for five minutes. You can then filter and consume it at your own pace.
I really ended up down the rabbit hole (and by rabbit hole I mean weird Reddit forums) to compile all of this newfound alternative smoking knowledge. You can buy the more niche herbs like Kanna and Blue Lotus from websites like Mindfuel, iHerb and Herbal House. Now go forth; curb your nicotine addiction and hotbox your room with some heady herbal goodness.