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Medical Botanical Blends: Using Other Medicinal Plants Alongside Cannabis

September 2, 2020 04:18 pm ET
Medical Botanical Blends: Using Other Medicinal Plants Alongside Cannabis

Cannabis product varieties continue to expand, and people are becoming more creative with its use. From make-up to medicine, from clothing to concrete, cannabis is proving itself more beneficial than many substances combined. Now, the possibility of making a natural super substance has come to light. It seems the future of smoking cannabis may involve other botanicals. 

My Personal Experience with Using Medicinal Botanical Blends

I had the opportunity to speak with South African brand, Jozi Dreams, in order to get a better understanding of the notion of a botanical super substance used for smoking. Jozi Dreams’ Smoke Blend is an all-natural blend of smokable herbs, which smells delicious by the way, with flavors such as ‘Lemon Raspberry’. When this blend is smoked in combination with cannabis, the botanicals in the blend act complementary and offer up mild effects. All the ingredients are botanical, meaning that it is a substance that has come from a plant. The theory behind combining this blend with cannabis is that it can boost the beneficial effects of cannabis while offering additional benefits from the botanicals and a sweeter taste while containing no nicotine and tobacco. 

Q: Why did you decide to produce a smoking blend consisting of botanicals?

A: “I went to Israel to take a course in permaculture design and found the cost of cigarettes to be too expensive. During the course, I met some people who introduced me to smoking different kinds of botanicals as an alternative to tobacco. During my time there, I was mostly smoking a botanical known as wormwood. After learning about different kinds of botanicals that can be smoked and the potential benefits which they can offer, I decided to create a smokable blend for individuals looking to get away from the harmful substances associated with tobacco and cigarettes”. 

Q: What does your blend contain and what makes it significant?

A: “All our ingredients can be found on our website as we believe in total transparency but you will find plants such as chamomile and mullein. Each of the ingredients was chosen based on their abilities to offer benefits as well as on how well they fair together.  The significance of the ingredients is explained well enough by their benefits but evidence thereof dates back centuries”.

Q: Did you originally begin smoking botanicals on their own, or did you combine the plants with cannabis? Is smoking the only method of consumption?

A: “The main objective was to create a product for individuals which serves as a beneficial alternative to cigarettes. Combining cannabis with botanicals such as those in our blends is just another perk of the product and what’s more, is that cannabis and blends work synergistically. The manner in which the blend is makes it applicable for versatile application. If someone isn’t interested in smoking, the blend can be used as a tea too”.

Q: Would you recommend that cannabis be combined with botanicals?

A: “How could I not? The cannabis plant is a botanical itself. It only seems logical to combine cannabis with other smokable AND beneficial botanicals”. 

Prior to the interview with Max, I was presented with one of the herbal blends to try ahead of the interview. Although I was unable to notice any physical effects from smoking the blend on its own, I was able to notice an improved smoking experience when I mixed it with my cannabis. The raspberry leaf from the blend made my smoke a lot sweeter and even better than that is that the cannabis with the blend left my respiratory tract feeling uncongested, my throat wasn’t left with a burning/scratchy or itchy sensation and it left behind a more pleasant smell on my hands. As one who struggles with sinusitis, smoking can cause a lot of congestion and it can cause a flare of inflammation in my nose and throat, making the botanicals more intriguing to me. Let’s dive deeper into the notion of smoking botanicals with cannabis.

Smoking Opioid-Free Plants That Have Medicinal Properties

Smoking with botanicals may sound new and exciting but it has been around for thousands of years dating back to ancient traditional methods of medicine, particularly in Asian and African cultures. Smoking plants for their medicinal properties has been done all around the world, however, some of the plants considered “smokeable” are opioid-based, which means that it is best to avoid those. The table below contains opioid-free botanicals that offer medicinal benefits. 

Botanical Name Common Name Native Location Medicinal Benefits
Mentha Mint Europe, Asia, North America, South Africa, Australia • Calms the nerves. 
• Assists with curbing nicotine cravings. 
• Clears airways which lead to breathing easier. 
Leonotis Leonurus Wild Dagga South Africa • Alleviates pain and muscle spasms. 
• Has anticonvulsant properties. 
• Contains antioxidants.
• Has cardioprotective properties. 
Rubus Idaeus Red Raspberry Leaf Europe, northern Asia but often found worldwide. • Antioxidant properties
• Helps Protect against cell death. 
• Specifically beneficial for women seeking to alleviate symptoms related to menstruation, labor contractions, and PMS
Verbascum Thapsus Mullein Europe, Mediterranean, North Africa, Asia but often found worldwide • Expectorant (helps break up and expel congestion)
• Cleanses lungs of infections. 
• Reduces lung inflammation
Scutellaria Galericulata Skullcap Northern Hemisphere • Alleviates insomnia. 
• Boosts the central nervous system.
• Reduces anxiety. 
• Alleviates tension headaches. 
• Contains antioxidant properties.
Matricaria Chamomilla  Chamomile Southwest Asia, Southern to Eastern Europe but also found worldwide • Curbs tension.
Alleviates anxiety
• Improves the quality of sleep
Hyssopus Officinalis Hyssop North America, Southern Europe, Middle East • Used as a treatment for emphysema.
• Helps clear lungs. 
• Soothes irritated mucous membranes.
• Reduces anxiety.
• Stimulates focus. 
Lavandula Lavender Mediterranean, Middle East, India but often found worldwide • Helps alleviate insomnia
• Improves the quality of sleep. 
• Reduces agitations. 
• Assists with dementia.
Leonurus Sibiricus Honeyweed China, Mongolia, Russia and Siberia but often found worldwide • Improves circulation.
• Prevents clotting. 
• Alleviates symptoms and helps resolve menstrual issues.
• Effective for helping arthritis.  
Althea Officinalis Marshmallow Europe, Western Asia, North Africa • Alleviates coughing. 
• Eliminates dry mouth.
• Protects against ulcers. 
• Helps accelerate wound healing.
• Protects the throat against gastric reflux.

Why You MUST Consult a Physician BEFORE Attempting Herbal Remedies

Always speak to a medical professional before using ANY herbs for medicinal purposes. Some plants have the potential to cause negative outcomes if used too often in large amounts or if combined with other plants, and they could also potentially interfere with medications. For instance…

  • Hyssop is such a powerful body cleanser that some people experience uncomfortable sweating as the herb detoxifies the body through the skin.
  • Some smokeable botanicals, such as certain species of poppy plants, contain opioids. If you are already taking an opiate medication, this could lead to an unintended overdose or could possibly exacerbate the risk of addiction.
  • Any type of smoking is considered unhealthy and harmful due to combustion. If you have a lung condition, consider alternatives such as nourishing teas or herbal infusions.

Making Your Own Medicinal Botanical Blend

To make a smoking or tea blend, it will need to consist of 3 parts. The base botanical, the supportive botanical, and the botanical for flavor. Only use botanicals that have been proven to be safe, such as those listed above. For example, mullein can act as the base, honeyweed could be the supportive and then lavender can act as the flavor all while still offering benefits. 

Some are put off by the skunky smell and earthy taste of cannabis. But smoking cannabis alongside these botanicals could help improve the overall experience. Smoking cannabis with a botanical blend can also help you control the potency, use cannabis more sparingly, make it taste and smell great as well as potentially offering the individual benefits of the other botanicals. 

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