Lavender, St John\u2019s wort, mugwort, rose petals, blue lotus, peppermint and raspberry leaves. No, it\u2019s not infusions for a delicious cup of tea or even ingredients for a particularly avant-garde cake. Instead, these are all recommended online to include within cannabis blunts or smoke on their own.\u00a0 Herbal cigarettes, which often (but do not always) contain tobacco alongside botanicals like these, have been sold in China, Korea and Thailand for decades. Now, TikTok\u2019s popularising the trend for a new audience. For Bee, who smokes once a week, mixing cannabis and lavender helps a lot with \u201ccalming and anxiety\u201d, as well as helping her to sleep. However, she finds lavender does \u201cburn more and hurt more\u201d to smoke, limiting its efficacy. Next, she\u2019s looking to try rose petals. Intuitively, it\u2019s easy to imagine. Perhaps this is why Leikeli47\u2019s song \u2018Girl Blunt\u2019 has become the official soundtrack for those sharing their recommendations on TikTok. The use of herbs feed into our wider understanding of traditional medicine, often predominantly practiced by women.\u00a0 These videos recommend blends for anxiety, depression and insomnia \u2013 just to name a few. Others humorously share the misconceptions surrounding smoking cannabis, describing those containing botanical products or stained with lipstick as being \u201cgirl blunts\u201d. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vxI8w-h-HCAg There are potential benefits. Dr Hideki Kashiwadani, of Kagoshima University in Japan, has studied linalool, a compound in lavender, finding that the smell could help to relieve anxiety. Speaking specifically about smoking lavender or blending it with cannabis, he was optimistic: \u201cthe interaction between the odour of linalool and the flavours might produce some benefits by serendipity.\u201d Anecdotally, lavender has been described as having a \u201ccalming effect\u201d, relieving headaches and anxiety and acting as a painkiller. Unlike tobacco, it isn\u2019t addictive too. For those familiar with herbal teas, room sprays or massage oils, lavender may seem to be the perfect calming substitute.\u00a0 However, what\u2019s safe to consume in one way \u2013 whether by smelling or eating \u2013 isn\u2019t always safe to smoke. Diacetyl is used as an artificial food flavouring for popcorn and baked goods. It\u2019s safe to ingest. When inhaled, though, it can be dangerous.\u00a0 It impairs lung function by damaging the cilia (which help to keep the human airways free of mucus and dirt). Decreased cilia function is associated with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Inhaling diacetyl can also cause \u2018popcorn lung\u2019, a rare disease causing the lungs\u2019 airways to become stiff and scarred. As a result, diacetyl is banned as an ingredient in e-cigarettes and e-liquids in the UK. While the impact of inhaling diacetyl has been studied, there\u2019s no similar scientific literature for smoking botanical substances, making it harder to assess the likelihood of or highlight adverse reactions. Even for those that we know carry risks, the potential danger often isn\u2019t explained.\u00a0 St. John\u2019s wort, a plant with small, star-shaped yellow flowers, is described as having \u201canxiety-healing powers\u201d and dubbed \u201cnature\u2019s antidepressant\u201d. It\u2019s a type of herb known as a nervine. Nervines are believed to impact the nervous system so have the potential to lessen pain. Many videos on TikTok advise that it alleviates depression, especially when mixed with cannabis or other herbs like lavender. However, St John\u2019s wort can react badly with anti-depressants, causing serious complications \u2013 including worsening depression or causing serotonin syndrome, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. St John\u2019s wort can also reduce the impact of chemotherapy drugs and certain statins, along with decreasing the effectiveness of hormonal contraception methods like the pill.\u00a0 Like other botanicals, researchers don\u2019t know how (or if) the risks of ingestion of St John\u2019s wort would transfer to inhalation. And, while botanicals are often seen as alternatives to tobacco, they aren\u2019t entirely dissimilar. Lewis Nelson, chair of the department of emergency medicine and chief of the division of medical toxicology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told Mic that \u201cfor the most part these are safe herbs\u2026 these are safe things to add to the cannabis\u201d. Mark Waters, Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia\u2019s School of Molecular Sciences warned that \u201cI would be very surprised if tobacco were the only carcinogenic species to smoke\u201d as \u201cfundamentally, all plants are made of much the same kind of stuff\u201d. However, he did conclude that smoking botanicals was likely \u201cpretty low risk, unless the extract is very concentrated\u201d. For those who are reluctant to admit to the nicotine addiction which comes from mixing cannabis and tobacco, other botanicals present a compelling alternative with potential health benefits or even just the placebo effect at play. There are rich opportunities for further study, including the benefits of ingesting herbs more generally or how they transfer to inhalation. However, it isn\u2019t without risk and should be considered carefully, rather than immediately inspired by an online trend. This can include researching the specific herbs recommended and speaking to a GP, especially if you\u2019re on medication with a possible adverse reaction or if you have a high likelihood of lung diseases.