We mixed cannabis and other plants into blends – here’s what we found out
We recently noticed that our readers are really wondering, can you smoke lavender? I’ve both smoked cannabis and been an amateur at-home herbalist for some time. I’ve made lavender tea, edible lavender butter, and topical salves with the flower’s buds—but I’ve never used it in herbal smoking blends. So I dove into my home apothecary to find some of the herbs listed as suitable for smoking– all for the sake of research.
It’s important to note that smoking herbal blends isn’t a new practice. Indigenous American and First Nations people have used a variety of plant matter in ceremonial mixtures for generations. Tobacco and other native plants are consumed by Indigenous Peoples through smoking, making teas, or grinding into powder to eat on food. Prior to colonization, Indigenous cultures used native plants in ceremonies and medicinally.
In America today, the line between plant medicine and recreational applications is blurred. Many people buying cannabis products in recreational stores, for example, are actually medical patients in states that all but killed their medical program when adult-use regulations were implemented. (It’s me, I’m people). Mixing herbs and flowers with cannabis, to me, is one way that the plant is slowly mixing back in with traditional herbalism– a place where it’s always belonged.
In this edition of “Cara tries herbal smoking blends so you don’t have to,” I mixed lavender, raspberry leaf, mullein, and damiana individually with locally grown Bear OG. The flower was produced and sold in the licensed Washington market. I rolled each herb up with the Bear OG in a three-hit mini-joint.
When I smoke this cannabis variety by itself, I feel relaxed– melting away my anxiety and stress of being a mother with a full-time job and a DIY house project, and ten animals plus a husband to care for. Sometimes, I can experience anxiety in the first 10-20 minutes after lighting up. Now that we’ve got the control set– let’s see how I fared with these herbal cannabis blends.
2:1 cannabis to lavender
Grinding lavender and cannabis together emits a divine aroma. This alone may have steered my entire review of this smoking blend. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of Bear OG alongside the floral, probably linalool-heavy lavender buds. The smoke was smooth but lacked the crisp, clean flavor of cannabis I’m used to from a joint. It took about three pulls for the lavender to come through, and shortly after that, the effects took hold. This blend caused me a lot of paranoia at the start but soon leveled out into relieving my aching neck, relaxing my muscles, and maybe even causing drowsiness. I enjoyed this combination and will probably continue experimenting with these plants together.
2:1 cannabis to raspberry leaf
This was by far my least favorite experience and possibly the cause of my headache later in the evening. I’m unsure if it was because I didn’t crumble the plant matter well before rolling it into the joint or because of the herb itself–but it was harsh and overpowered all of the cannabis flavor. The flavor of this blend was quite herbaceous, with no clear notes. Unfortunately, that harshness didn’t wear off—my throat didn’t feel great the rest of the evening. Shortly after trying this herbal mixture, I felt a heaviness behind my eyes. It was relaxing but not necessarily in my body. I won’t use raspberry leaf in a smoke blend again—I’ll stick with tea blends.
2:1 cannabis to mullein
The smoke created from a mullein cannabis joint seems thicker than others. Mullein added an astringent flavor to the familiar profile of the Bear OG. It was easy to hit the joint with mullein, my throat didn’t get sore, and I didn’t need to cough. The experience was very similar to what I experienced when with pure cannabis flower, but with a more open breath—I could feel my sinuses open.
3:1 weed to damiana
After trying a few blends with two parts cannabis and one part traditional plant, I decided to use a little less of the damiana after examining the previous trials. This ratio produced a much more positive experience for my throat, but the muddled taste of dried plants wasn’t pleasant. My damiana has been in a jar for a while, so perhaps this experience could be altered by fresher flowers. I didn’t notice much difference in effect compared to a pure cannabis joint.
Each of these blends had a specific flavor and experience. Lavender was my favorite blend by far. From the aroma of grinding the buds to inhaling the joint–the experience of smoking lavender in cannabis was enjoyable.
The experience of the damiana and mullein blends wasn’t all bad, but I don’t see the need to try them again. Both allowed the cannabis flavor through a bit– but other than that, I didn’t feel anything noteworthy compared to pure cannabis flower.
Lastly, the raspberry leaf is my least favorite. Raspberry sits at the bottom of the list because the flavor was harsh, the smoke was harsh, and the effects weren’t positive.
From this experience, I gleaned that without extensive research or ancestral teachings, smoking cannabis blends is a game of coughing roulette. I don’t recommend taking this gamble if you have a compromised immune or respiratory system–but I don’t discount blends entirely. There’s something to discover regarding the synergistic nature of how cannabis works with other herbs. It’s just that more research is needed.