Cannabis and tobacco go hand-in-hand. In addition, 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 is this?
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 blends have come onto the market that do not contain any chemical additives. Blends that do not contain any tobacco at all are becoming increasingly popular.
It’s a bit like cow’s milk. In the past, nobody asked for anything else, but now more and more people are opting for alternatives. There is plenty of truth in the old saying: “Variety is the spice of life.”
So, what are good tobacco substitutes?
Many dried herbs and leaves can be used as tobacco alternatives, but some are better suited than others. That said, some are better suited to it than others. As well as offering a pleasant aroma 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 100% natural and nicotine-free. Let’s get started!
1. Damiana – the aphrodisiac from the Americas
Even its name sounds sweetly seductive. Damiana is regarded as an aphrodisiac in its native Mexico. In addition to 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, which are rumoured to have positive effects on health.
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 a tea bag.
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 and partly antiviral effect, which is why sage has been used as a medicinal plant throughout the ages.
4. Mate – the trendy pick-me-up from the jungle
The Spanish name “yerba” just means “herb”, but mate is in fact a tree, given its size alone. It is native to South America, and has been drunk as a tea there 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 popular in the big cities, and it has been reinvented as a soft drink.
5. Kratom – the power plant from South-East Asia
The leaves of the kratom tree are traditionally used as a medicine, intoxicant and opiate substitute in South-East Asia. In small doses, kratom induces euphoria and acts as a stimulant, whereas in high doses, it acts as a sedative and painkiller. Some 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 is a real allrounder
Whether as a herb, or to combat greenfly, tension or treat burns – lavender is a real all-rounder. Just like many varieties 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 vaporizing cannabis.
7. Mint – the ultimate fresh kick
Teas, cocktails, sauces, desserts – mint is the universally adaptable herb that brings a special freshness to food and drink. The cosmetics industry also discovered mint a long time ago. But not all mint is equal.
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 take over. This herb is full of anti-oxidants and beta-caryophyllene, which are also found in black pepper and cannabis.
Why not enhance the healing effects 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. Aside from damiana, 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 consume only 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 which tobacco alternatives you enjoy most in a joint or vaporizer.
- Disclaimer:This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your doctor or other licensed medical professional. Do not delay seeking medical advice or disregard medical advice due to something you have read on this website.