Smoking Catnip - Good Idea or not?
Catnip, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria, is a strong-smelling herb native to eastern and southern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. The plant is also known as catmint, catwort, and catswort and various publications on natural healing attributes some medicinal properties to this smokable herb, much alike to dried kratom leaves.
Catnip gets its name because up to two-thirds of cats (both domestic and wild) are attracted to it. The plant contains a chemical known as nepetalactone, which causes a range of pleasant feelings in cats.
Nepetalactone triggers mild euphoria in cats when consumed in small amounts. Some of the expected behaviors displayed when cats nibble on the leaves or stems of catnip include rolling on the ground and pawing in the air.
But like all recreational substances, consuming too much catnip may trigger unpleasant effects. Common side effects of catmint for cats include anxiety, drooling, sleepiness, and excess purring.
Can Catnip Get You High?
We’ve just mentioned that catnip can trigger mild euphoria in cats. But can the same be said about humans?
If you’re into herbal cigarettes, you may find yourself intuitively drawn to catnip. But unlike most herbs, catnip is not precisely the correct answer if you’re looking for tips on quitting smoking.
While catmint can induce euphoria in cats, the plant seems to present no psychoactive effects on humans when smoked. And while catnip has several medicinal properties, you’ll hardly benefit from those properties by smoking the herb.
So, right off the bat, it’s vital to reiterate that smoking catnip will not get you high.
But why doesn’t catnip induce euphoria in humans?
For smokable herbs to get you high, the plants must bind directly to receptors in the brain. Most importantly, the herbs must interact with specific brain receptors that control the body’s reward system.
Unfortunately, no scientific studies indicate that nepetalactone, the primary psychoactive chemical in catmint, can induce euphoria in humans. The mind-altering properties of nepetalactone are so feeble that even most cats recover from their trance within ten minutes.
So, there are numerous herbs that you can turn to if you’re looking for tips on how to quit smoking. But catnip is, unfortunately, not one of them.
Benefits of Catnip for Humans
- It may calm your mind.
Much as catnip doesn’t induce mind-altering effects in humans, the herb contains sedating properties that may help calm the mind. Catnip’s sedating effects make the plant suitable for relieving various mental conditions like stress and anxiety. The herb might also aid sleep by shortening sleep onset time.
It’s worth noting that catnip’s sedative properties are mainly based on anecdotal evidence and some old animal studies.
However, researchers have established a close similarity in the effects of nepetalactone and valerian. Since valerian is a popular herbal sedative, it’s safe to conclude that catnip might also promote relaxation.
- It may relieve headaches.
According to older studies, the sedating properties of catnip might also come in handy in relieving headaches. Generally, anxiolytic herbs also tend to contain analgesic properties.
A possible explanation for this theory is that sedatives tend to impact the same neurotransmitters that pain-relieving drugs interact with, such as anandamide. However, note that there’s still no clinical study supporting catnip’s analgesic claims, which makes it necessary to talk to your doctor before using the herb as a headache remedy.
Also, remember that headaches are some of the common side effects of catnip. So, if you must use the plant to relieve headaches, do so in moderation.
- It might boost your sex life.
Many herbs contain aphrodisiac properties, and catnip is no exception. The plant has been used for years to relieve sexual performance issues like erectile dysfunction.
While catnip’s aphrodisiac properties haven’t been tested on humans, older animal studies point to the herb’s effectiveness in aiding sexual performance.
According to these studies, rats offered catnip-infused chow demonstrated increased penile erections than those that did not.
- It may aid bladder and bowel functions.
Catnip can aid bowel functions by relieving gastrointestinal issues like indigestion, flatulence, and cramping.
It’s still unclear how it impacts the digestive system. However, some researchers believe that it has a lot to do with the plant’s high fiber content.
Catmint is also a renowned diuretic. As such, it might increase urination, thereby decreasing water retention. This might help to relieve various conditions, particularly renal issues like kidney stones.
- It may prevent disease.
Disease prevention is another potential health benefit of catmint. Extracts from the herb contain antibacterial and antifungal properties.
That explains why catnip poultices made from dried flowers and leaves of the plant have been used to relieve toothache and prevent periodontal diseases for years.
There’s scientific evidence indicating that using catnip-infused dental products might go a long way in treating or preventing oral infections.
Other potential benefits of catnip for humans include;
- Relieving coughs and hives
- Relieving fevers
- Addressing delayed menstruation by stimulating the contraction of the uterus
- Insect repellent
But really, can you smoke catnip?
Yes, you can smoke catnip. According to older anecdotal reports, catnip was one of the filler ingredients used in cannabis products. That’s because the plant creates similar effects as cannabis, such as sedation.
However, you should probably not smoke catnip, and there are reasons why.
For starters, catnip tends to burn too fast on its own. When added to other herbal cigarettes, catnip can increase combustion rate, making it difficult to savor your puffs.
Also, there’s no point in smoking catnip since the plant doesn’t induce any significant euphoria on its own. The best way to enjoy catnip’s therapeutic properties is by drinking catnip-infused tea.
Here’s a brief procedure on how to prepare catnip tea;
- Crush dried catnip flowers or leaves
- Place 1-2 teaspoons of the powdered catnip extracts in a teacup
- Pour hot water into the cup
- Add flavor-enhancers, such as natural honey or lemon juice, and stir
- Allow for 10 – 15 minutes to steep
- Strain the mixture into another cup and enjoy your cup of catnip tea
Other healthier ways to consume catnip include adding few catnip extract drops to your favorite beverage drink or using catnip as an essential oil.
There you have it. Conclusion is, smoking catnip won’t get you high but if you wish to benefit from catmint‘s health benefits, the best way to consume the plant is by drinking catnip-infused tea.
This smokable herb is of course a great addition to rolling filler. Smoking Catnip is sure to provide that extra bit of help on the wallet and the dependence level to those who decide to use it as an alternative from the typical expensive legal herbs and tobacco.
As part of your switch from smoking pure or smoking tobacco to herbal smoking blends, you may find that smoking Damiana, smoking Raspberry Leaf or smoking Uva Ursi may also suit you as base smokable herbs.
*This article is not to be interpreted as a statement of any form by Spliff but merely a compendium of information compiled from other sources. These statements have not been evaluated by Health Canada, FDA or any other regulatory body. Consult your doctor before ingesting or smoking any herbal product.*
Wanna learn more about Catnip? Browse our sources below!
Grognet, J. (n.d.). Catnip: Its uses and effects, past and present. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1480656/pdf/canvetj00079-0049.pdf
Bernardi, M. M., Kirsten, T. B., Lago, J. H. G., Giovani, T. M., & Massoco, C. de O. (2011). Nepeta cataria L. var. citriodora (Becker) increases penile erection in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 137(3), 1318–1322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2011.07.061
Zomorodian, K., Saharkhiz, M. J., Rahimi, M. J., Shariatifard, S., Pakshir, K., & Khashei, R. (2013). Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activities of Essential Oil of Nepeta Cataria L. Against Common Causes of Oral Infections. Journal of Dentistry (Tehran, Iran), 10(4), 329–337. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3875507/