Smoking plant substances has been going on since shortly after man started using fire. The first time may have happened by accident but evidence indicates that it started in prehistory.
Hemp and other herbs Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)
When thinking of plants that are smoked, two come to mind almost instantly. Tobacco and marijuana or Hemp are the two most commonly thought of when someone mentions smoking. However they are not the only plants that have been or can be used.
This plant can be found ranging from parts of Texas in the United States down into South America as well as in the Caribbean. Its use predates history. It is mostly known as an aphrodisiac and as a bladder tonic. A study done on rats seems to verify the claim that it is an aphrodisiac. Caution should be used when using damiana. Taking or smoking more than the recommended amount could cause headaches, insomnia and/or hallucinations. People with liver problems should not use this plant. This would make a great blend with CBD hemp flower.
While this plant is naturalized to North America it is originally found in Europe and Asia. As with damiana the uses predate history. It is most commonly associated with lung conditions. There is mucilage and saponin in the leaves. The former helps to soothe the lung tissue and the latter helps to get rid of phlegm. This herb is on the GRAS list (generally recognized as safe by the FDA). There are no known side effects or interactions other than a few reports of contact dermatitis. Some terpenes found in hemp are also known to be expectorants which may make this a great compliment to blend together with a couple other herbs.
This plant is about a foot tall and spreads like ground cover. It has been used by herbalists and shamans in North America for centuries as a treatment for depression and anxiety. A study done in the UK by Westminster Research shows that those who have anxiety issues may benefit from using the plant. The study did not find any side effects or interactions, however if you are planning on having surgery make sure your doctor knows that you are using it. Skullcap seems to act on the central nervous system so anesthesia could interact. CBD in Hemp may pair nicely with skullcap because they can work together to tackle some anxiety symptoms.
Like mullein this herb is often used for lung complaints. Herbalists consider it particularly good for ridding the lungs of tar from tobacco smoke. This has not been verified. According to the Alaskan Native Knowledge Network it has been used as far back as the times of Pliny for bronchitis. He apparently used a hollow reed to smoke it. Coltsfoot does have its drawbacks. Overdosing can cause severe coughing and there is a possibility of liver damage. People with liver problems should not use this herb and or combine with hemp.
Knowledge and use of uva ursi dates back at least until the second century. It was known as kinnikinnik by the Algonquin’s and used to treat problems of the bladder and urinary tract. According to the Hershey Medical Center website it was the drug of choice until sulfa drugs were developed. As with many herbs there are possible side effects and interactions. People with kidney or liver disease should avoid this plant as should those with high blood pressure. If you are taking any medications talk to your doctor before using uva ursi.
This is more of a family than a single plant due to how closely it is related to others. Lemon balm, bergamot, catnip and the various flavors of mint have a great deal in common. Some provide benefits the others don’t. As an example lemon balm, bergamot and catnip can have a somewhat relaxing effect. Peppermint and spearmint are more likely to be stimulating. These plants are all on the GRAS list and most are common additives to various types of smoking herbs. Peppermint in dried leaf form should not be a problem but if the oil is going to be used do not use it around children under two years of age. It can cause serious breathing issues.
This plant is sacred to some religions, including some Native American tribes. It is thought to be cleansing especially when it is burned. It is frequently used in sweat lodges. Herbalists have many uses for this herb as well. It can help calm an irritated colon, soothe sore lungs and ease breathing for asthmatics. It is also often used to help women ween their children as it dries up milk. There are no known side effects for sage but very few studies have been done. If you are pregnant or nursing it is unwise to use this herb, at least until you are ready to stop breast feeding.
Most people know that chamomile is used to help them relax and to relieve anxiety. Studies published on PubMed suggest that it is an anti-inflammatory and that inhalation can help reduce symptoms of a cold. Studies are also being done on whether or not it can help prevent cancer. Personal reports found on-line suggest that it can help relax when it is smoked though there are no studies to prove or disprove this claim.
The fragrant leaves and flowers of this herb are beloved by humans… and bees. Herbalists use it to help people relax, sleep better and for anxiety attacks. Several well organized studies have been done on the effects of this plant and they suggest that not only does it work it should be added back into the treatment plans for those who suffer from anxiety and/or insomnia. People that have smoked it report that it does have the same effect and the smoke gives the room a pleasant smell.
Herbalists often pair this with lavender and chamomile. It has calming and relaxing properties. Studies have shown it to be useful for those who suffer from ADHD though more research is needed for that. It is an approved herb on Germany’s Commission E list, an agency similar to the FDA.
All of these are excellent additions to hemp. For those with health problems, who are pregnant or nursing and those taking medications it is always best to consult with your doctor before using them.