Dear Miss Grass,
Now that I’m home all day (because, you know, quarantine life), I’ve found that I’m smoking a little more than I used to. I don’t feel bad about it, but I also don’t want to get crazy high every time. I’ve thought about adding some tobacco to my weed, but as a former cigarette smoker I’m kinda nervous about getting back on the nicotine train. Should I just add some CBD to my weed, or, are there other smokable herbs that might be better instead? If so, can you tell me how to mix herbs with cannabis?
x Herb Explorer
Feel you. With everyone staying home these days, it’s definitely easy to smoke more weed. Which obviously we support! The stress-relieving benefits of a good ol’ fashioned J are amazing, especially during these strange times. But it also totally makes sense that there are moments when you’d want to keep things a little lighter. And, anyway, it’s always fun to shake things up.
You’re on the right track with your idea of adding something else to your J. Tobacco and weed is, of course, a classic combination, but—fun fact—tobacco can actually make the effects of weed stronger. A 2009 study found that tobacco increases the vaporization efficiency of cannabis which, in turn, increases the amount of THC inhaled by as much as 45%. Which basically means that a spliff can get you super high, super quick! Sneaky! That’s the opposite of what you want. (And although nicotine itself can be a pretty neat brain-boosting nootropic, it totally makes sense that as an ex-ciggy smoker you’d want to avoid it. And smoking unfiltered tobacco produces a lot of yucky tar.)
So that brings us to the alternatives. One super easy way to not get super high on your usual supply is to simply add some straight-up CBD flower to your joint (or bong or pipe for that matter). CBD can be a calm-enhancing wonder that can also make your high less intense; there are several studies that show that CBD can even help mitigate the effects of THC—which, incidentally, is a smart thing to keep in mind the next time you accidentally get over-baked on an edible.
And then there are also other herbs. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of good research that explore whether adding other herbs to your weed can make you *less* high; they may really just help your joint burn slower, like tobacco does in a classic spliff. But the really awesome thing about herbs is that many of the ones that are nice to smoke may also offer their own therapeutic or psychoactive effects—and many even share some of the same terpenes as cannabis.
So, mixing them together can not only enhance the flavor of your bud, it can also complement its other effects—or even bring new ones to the party. You know how lavender in the bath can help you relax and chamomile in a tea can help you feel sleepy? Same deal here. Plants are magical! As Dejanae Evins—one of Miss Grass’ favorite weed experts and host of our Instagram Live series High Q’s—puts it: “Mixing smokable herb blends into your cannabis ritual really emphasizes how expansive and creative we can be in the way we approach self-care.”
But before we talk about exactly how to mix herbs with cannabis—and which ones are most awesome—it’s important to point out that smoking anything could potentially harm your bod, so please be smart about whatever you light up. Definitely choose organically-grown, food-grade herbs; and, if possible, go a step further and buy ones that are also ethically-raised. That way you’re not tainting your beautiful bud with any gross, unwanted chemicals and toxins. (There are some very respectable companies, like Barbari, that offer organic herbal blends made specifically for smoking.)
Okay, back to the fun stuff. A good rule of thumb when mixing herbs with weed is to “start low and go slow”—decent advice for anytime you’re consuming anything new, by the way—with a just a sprinkle of one or two dried herbs. (Remember, some herbs, like mint, sage, and eucalyptus can impart a very strong flavor.) When using a pre-mixed herb blend, a ratio of 25% herb blend to 75% cannabis is a reasonable place to start, but if you’re feeling all what-the-hell, you can also do a 1:1 ratio, which is what Evins does. She recommends playing around with the placement of the herbs within the joint, too: “Sometimes I like to switch it up, adding a little bit of the herb blend at the base of a cone, saving the herbal tokes for last.” Like a dessert.
Check out the MG mini cheat sheet below featuring some favorite herbs to smoke along with the effects they may have when mixed with cannabis (or just on their own). Happy toking, Herb Explorer! Report back on how it goes.
With love + bud,
Best Buds: How to Mix Herbs With Cannabis and Hemp
Ashwaganda – may alleviate stress and promote good vibes
Blue Lotus Flower – may enhance the relaxing, mind-opening effects of cannabis
Blue Vervain – quiets mind and boosts mood
Chamomile – may aid digestion and enhance relaxation
Damiana – may promote relaxation and euphoria; often used as an aphrodisiac
Echinacea – may help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and support the endocannabinoid system
Eucalyptus – provides a spicy, menthol-like flavor and may open the lungs
Hibiscus – said to purify the blood; often used as an aphrodisiac
Holy Basil – may alleviate stress and reduce cortisol levels
Hops – a relative of cannabis that shares the terpene myrcene; can enhance relaxation
Jasmine – calms and balances emotions; boosts libido
Lavender – adds a beautiful flavor, contains the terpene Linalool which may promotes relaxation
Lemon Balm – mild sedative and sleep aid; evokes feelings of bliss
Mint – adds a fresh taste and might help clear respiratory passages
Mugwort – has a sage-like flavor and may promote restfulness, creativity, and lucid dreams
Mullein – cleans and soothes the lungs
Passionflower – has a sweet flavor and may also amplify or prolong a high
Rose – a few petals add a delicate floral scent and flavor
Rosemary – contains the terpene beta-caryophyllene which may help inflammation and soothe stress
Sage – can induce relaxation, help digestion, and stimulate appetite; a little goes a long way
Saint John’s Wort – brightens mood and may soothe muscle aches
Skullcap – calms nerves; gentle sedative
Yerba Mate – doesn’t affect flavor or add an extra high but makes a pleasant alternative to tobacco