Whilst many cannabis users add tobacco to their joints, nicotine is renowned for damaging people’s health. Data from the World Health Organisation shows that tobacco kills up to half of its users, and around 78,000 people in the UK die due to smoking-related illnesses each year. Because of the dangers, tobacco has become increasingly expensive over the years too. So why do so many people still use it to pad out their joints – even those who don’t smoke cigarettes?
Swapping out tobacco for various herb mixtures is becoming increasingly popular, and it makes sense. Not only is it safer than tobacco, but natural herb alternatives have some health benefits! They are also much cheaper, readily available (you’ll find them in most health shops and anywhere online) and they aren’t addictive! Here is a list of some natural tobacco alternatives to put in your joints and give your lungs a well-deserved break! It’s as simple as adding them to your grinder with your cannabis. Just a warning, always do your own research before purchasing, to make sure the herbs you’ve chosen are right for you.
Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
Damiana is known for its calming properties and serves as a great base herb in a joint. It burns well, it’s inexpensive, and has been known to help with digestion and relieve constipation. It has a smell slightly similar to cannabis, but much less potent, which won’t be a problem if you’re using it for a joint anyway. Damiana is also said to be an aphrodisiac – never a bad thing hey!
Traditionally used as a remedy for anxiety, passionflower is known for its sedative properties. This means it is a perfect addition for cannabis smokers that use it to relax, as well as those who struggle with their sleep. It has a natural, slightly earthy taste, and smokes nice and smoothly too.
Dried lavender has a fragrant, also smoky property to it, which produces a much more pleasant smell than tobacco smoke. It also has a slightly sweet taste, which compliments cannabis nicely. It is meant to have natural anti-inflammatory effects, being good for pain relief and muscle relaxation.
Mint in particular is a great smoking alternative, providing a natural menthol taste that is much more pleasant than tobacco. It is another herb that’s good for anxiety, is meant to increase lung capacity (although smoking anything too much isn’t going to be good on your lungs, despite being better than tobacco) and potentially helps with blood circulation.
Commonly mixed with Damiana and Raspberry leaves, Mugwort is another great base herb. It has a neutral smell and flavour when smoked and has a great light texture that makes it easy to roll with, and much smoother on the throat than tobacco. Historically, it was a popular tobacco alternative for sailors, who called it ‘sailor’s tobacco.’ In addition, Mugwort is said to enhance dreaming too – though there isn’t much scientific evidence about this claim, it might be true. Only one way to find out!
Smoking with rose petals is said to help alleviate symptoms of depression and help improve mood. In addition, rose petals are great at helping people reduce their tobacco intake as they take the edge off nicotine withdrawals. They are often used in combination with Mugwort and Damiana when paired with cannabis. Dried petals also have the benefit of being aesthetically pleasing – the vibrant pink colour means you’ll have a very pretty looking joint too!
Raspberry leaf (Tubus idaeus)
This herb burns nice and slowly due to its fluffy texture, which makes it great as a base herb. Raspberry leaf is a good alternative to tobacco as it helps neutralise poison caused by nicotine – perfect for long-time tobacco users who are working to kick the habit. Like many others, raspberry leaf is known to have calming effects on the nervous system when smoked.