Harnessing herbal smoking: Discover smokable herbs

Smokable Herbs - The Ultimate Guide - SPLIFF

What are smokable herbs? What herbs can you smoke? Can you mix herbs together? In this all encompassing article, we'll be looking at herbs used for smoking through the ages and how people are smoking them in modern days.

While smoking has been a part of human socialization activities and ceremonies for centuries, the fact that there exists nicotine-free smokable herbs as tobacco alternatives are still widely unrecognized.

The rise of herbal cigarettes was even a growing trend in many countries for a while, but much like cloves cigarettes these tobacco-free smokable alternatives unfortunately haven't been able to replace the tar and nicotine rich substance we all hate to smell. 

Even though herbal cigarettes are still used as prop cigarettes in movies (have you ever wondered how some actors can smoke SO MUCH), dishonest companies throughout the years have resorted to misinform and misdirect consumers by promoting herbal cigarettes as healthy alternatives to tobacco, with a range of ludicrous health benefits that have never been proven by science.

Because of the prominence of tobacco and marijuana aka skunk cannabis in mainstream culture as the two "only" smokable herbs, other plants you can smoke that have been used for centuries like grounded marshmallow roots (Althaea Officinalis) , uva ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and st. john's wort (Hypericum Perforatum) were relegated to fringe groups of users and given the status of "hippie".

Before moving forward, we'd like to specify that Spliff is an ecofriendly store selling not just in the U.S. and Canada, but everywhere in the world.

With that shameless commercial plug being said, the legalization of cannabis in some U.S. states, and countries like Canada and Germany, the re-emergence of herbal smoking blends in the recent years starts to be felt more and more.

From the trend about smoking lavender blunts (putting lavender in your blunts, basically.) as well as smoking damiana with weed, many individuals and small businesses now work with herbalists to craft curated mixes for flavor, aroma and effect.

You can also buy smokable herbs online in small shops, in marketplaces anywhere from Etsy to Amazon (where it's technically against their Terms of Service, but whatever big business wants to do, it does) and now herbal smoking blends can be found in a growing number of dispensaries and headshops as a natural complement for your favorite legal herb, kind of like a mixer for your drink, but for smokable cannabis products!


False advertising and herbal smokes - an industry-wide problem

Be wary of charlatans - we can't stress this enough! A lot of companies selling their herb mixes for smoking or herbal cigarettes online are going against basic science and do so by promoting unfounded various health benefits from their own herbal smoking blends without any supporting research. Those sometimes ridiculous claims from online shops vary between health benefits like smoking to help menstrual cramps, and mental health benefits such as smoking herbs to reduce stress and anxiety.


A lawsuit from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission against a Herbal Cigarettes manufacturer that settled in April of 2000 made it pretty clear cut : "The Alternative Cigarettes order also prohibits it from claiming that any herbal smoking product does not present the health risks associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes, or from making any other claim about the health risks associated with the use of any herbal smoking product unless the claims are true and the company has scientific evidence demonstrating its claims." 


Like essential oils or any other natural healing product, the proclaimed health benefits from smoking sage (Salvia apiana) or smoking red raspberry leaf (Rubeus idaeus) are widely recognized by a community of enthusiasts, but have yet to be proven by science in order to be able to legally hold these statements.

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels    

Tobacco smoking health risks have been known and supported by rigorous peer-reviewed studies for a very long time now, but herbal cigarettes risk only had a handful of studies completed throughout the years. Governments all over the world have tried pushing for ways to reduce the risks of tobacco smoke and their impact on the users and their peers by limiting the access to this substance as much as they could without outright banning cigarettes. From raising taxes, to restricting marketing and even forcing the packaging to be purposefully bland, these control measures have been effective in reducing smoking, but never able to eliminate that nasty habit entirely.  


Are herbal cigarettes safe?

At Spliff, we see herbal blends as a complementary measure to regulations for consenting adults that understand the inherit risk of smoking, but still enjoy the experience and would like an non-addictive alternative to smoking tobacco or even an alternative to smoking weed! Kind of like the millions of smokers who switch to vaping, but instead by offering a natural nicotine-free alternative to tobacco instead of forcing users to stop smoking cold turkey or purchasing expensive smoke-free nicotine alternatives.  

An alternative to smoking weed

Natural herbal smoking blends can be mixed with the user's favorite legal herb as a way to roll herbal spliffs or as a way to gradually stop smoking tobacco or stop smoking weed by mixing it and reducing the dose every so often, so the habit is not fully broken but the body can gradually wean off the Nicotine.


So what herbs can I smoke?

Did you know that there are A LOT of options for what can be smoked?

You can also make your own herbal blend recipe yourself by creating DIY herbal flower cigarettes or mixed with your favorite legal herb to better control the effects and reduce their expensive costs.

An important warning here : although many herbal smoking blends companies claim their products are "good for you", they're simply "less toxic". Even then, it's a dubious claim to promote as there is no definitive research on the toxicity of smoking most plants and general safety assessment compared to tobacco smoke concludes that it is still harmful to the body.  

Photo by HighBabe on Unsplash

Basically, you should always assume that anything that is smoked is by and of itself harmful to your health due to toxic compounds emanating from the combustion chemical process like carbon monoxide, tar and polyphenols.

Anything that is smoked should always be used with the utmost care, even if it looks cute like smoking lavender blunts (smoking lavender with weed) , but what is certain is in no case should you ever smoke when pregnant as it poses serious health risks to the parent and the baby.Having said that, herbal cigarettes are an inexpensive and effective way to help stop smoking cannabis and / or quit smoking tobacco by keeping the habit that is usually enjoyed or engrained in the user's routine, while gradually waning off the addictive effects of tobacco or cannabis to stop smoking completely eventually.

A simple way to enjoy a tobacco-free smoking experience would be to create your own herbal cigarettes at home. They are straightforward and quite fun to prepare when equipped with the best smoking blends.


Are smokable herbs legal?  

Herbal cigarettes or herbal tobacco is not always well defined depending on the country and can refer to a tobacco-free herbal blend rolled into a cigarette or rolling paper for smoking, sometimes even with tobacco still in there like the mid-90s / early 2000s popular trend of smoking cloves! Real natural herbal blends contain a mixture of botanicals, spices, flowers and herbs that emit an enriching aroma and flavors as you smoke.


For example, Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is a great smokable herb that provides a slow-burning texture and an expectorant effect to herbal cigarettes while smoking Damiana (Turnera diffusa), a smokable plant native to Texas and Southern American countries, gives a more fragrant aroma to build a smoking mix upon. 

Compared to tobacco cigarettes, these smokable herbal mixtures do not contain any addictive substances like nicotine, and also do not contain any regulated psychoactive compounds like THC or CBD or CBG which makes them legal in pretty much every country when they are in their bulk form.


How can you use smokable herbs?

There are various other powerful applications to using herbal smoking blends as a nicotine-free alternative to tobacco. The ideal smoking blend contains no stems so it can be easily rolled in a rolling paper without piercing it, has a fluffy texture to easily blend with any other herb you would mix it with and is pre-ground for ease of use and for the burning to be slow, controlled and equal during the act of smoking. You can also add visually stimulating herbs like smokable Butterfly Pea (Clitoria ternatea) that is a vibrant blue color or Calendula which is a bright orange to provide a stylish upgrade to your spliffs.

Great smoking blends for herbal cigarettes also need to take into account the flavor and aroma of the base legal smoking herb's terpenes so as not to overpower or completely mask the main herb it is rolled with as well as balance out the smoking experience. It can help with physical sensations like reducing the burning sensation in the throat or hiding the smell of cannabis smoke for people that don't appreciate the odor (or smoke inside a condo filled with anti-weed Karens). 

Photo by Marie-Michèle Bouchard on Unsplash

But be careful of charlatans! Most, if not all herbal smoking blends manufacturers currently on the market attribute and promote effects and health benefits for the body or mind that are completely unproven, stating ridiculous facts like they could initiate a detoxification process for the body and even relieve pressure on the nervous system without supplying any proof whatsoever. 

Herbal tobacco is also a possibility for people searching for help on how to stop smoking weed.  Compared to marijuana joints, these flower smoking blends are a safe and effective way to experience therapeutic benefits. They also come with a lesser risk of addiction compared to weed, which makes it a superior choice to relish.


What is the difference between a smokable herb and a traditional herb? 

Pre-rolled Herbal cigarettes currently available on the Canadian and U.S. markets can still contain some percentage of tobacco. The sourcing of herbs for those pre-rolled cigarettes is hard to trace so it isn't really the best choice if you're trying to go all-natural. Even though they might carry various botanical blends that can look appealing at first glance, they might end up being just as toxic as traditional tobacco cigarettes with nicotine. 

For example, Calendula, Lemon Balm and Spearmint are some smokable herbs that are just as popular in herbal tea blends as they are in smokable mixes. 

The best way to stop smoking remains to switch to a natural alternative to tobacco and is to roll your own herbal cigarettes from smokable dried plants or smokable flowers, like Passionflower who provides a great structure for a slow burning spliff, Mullein that can act as an expectorant and even smokable flowers like Blue Lotus that provide a great color to your spliffs, guaranteed to make all your best buds turn heads the next time you light up!

A simple way to enjoy a tobacco-free smoking experience would be to create your own herbal cigarettes at home. They are straightforward and quite fun to prepare when equipped with the best smoking blends.


What are the major types of smokable herbs? 

The first step towards creating unique herbal cigarettes at home is to choose the right herbs and aromatics that will go into the blend. Typically, the mixture would contain a base ingredient, a secondary ingredient that compliments the base, and finally, a flavoring agent. 

The base ingredient would constitute about 50% of the mixture. Therefore, choose soothing and full-bodied choices like Mullein, Damiana, Mugwort for smoking.  

The secondary ingredient can be anything that gives the blend a particular kick or punchy touch. Hops, skullcap, chamomile, thyme, sage are good choices for your smoking blend. 

Finally, you need a bit of seasoning to make your blend stand out of the crowd! Pick a flavoring agent that can be an aromatic spice like cloves, a herb like mint, lavender, ginseng, or a botanical like jasmine or even smokable rose petals.

How to make herbal cigarettes

How to roll a spliff

  • 0.25 to 0.5 gram of your favorite Herbal Smoking Blends 
  • 0.5 gram of your favorite legal herb *wink wink*
  • Rolling papers 
  • A filter
  • "Dry herb" grinder 

How to prepare a herbal smoking blend

  1. Start by creating the herbal mixture that requires grinding the ingredients chosen from the previous step. You can use cannabis  accessories or dry herb smoking accessories commonly bought in smoke shops or dispensaries like a grinder to make a fine combination of the herbs even if you're not using marijuana or tobacco! 
  2. In a rolling tray, mix your herbal smoking blend and your favorite herb thoroughly. 
  3. Spread the ingredients evenly and be sure to remove any left over stem or element that could puncture the rolling paper. 
  4. Verify that the mixture isn't too dry, or your cigarettes will burn fast or unevenly and will feel much harsher on your throat when inhaling. 
  5. Place a sheet of rolling paper on a smooth surface. Make sure to place the adhesive side facing up if your rolling paper has adhesive ends. 
  6. Use medium-weight paper to create a V shape. 
  7. Add a pinch of the herbal mixture to the paper such that they settle at the crease of the ‘V.’ 
  8. Slowly sprinkle the dry herbal smoking blend mix into a line throughout the paper. 
  9. Remove any excess mixture falling outside the line. Do not add too much mixture to the sheets to avoid spills when you roll. 
  10. Roll the sides of the sheet to form a perfect cigarette. Make sure to leave the adhesive ends to stick out if your rolling paper has a gluable edge, which sometimes isn't the case when rolling backwoods or rolling blunts. 
  11. Insert your filter at one end and then lightly lick the edges of the paper and seal the side completely. In the case of adhesive edges, you can simply glue the roll. 
  12. Compact the herbs with a pusher or a small solid object like the end of a pencil (but not too much or you won't be able to inhale!) and then twist the ends of the spliff to close it. 
  13. Your homemade all-natural herbal tobacco alternative is ready for use.

 Tip  : You can also use multiple flavoring ingredients like peppermint and rose petals together to create a fancy fusion you can enjoy.


What are the risks of smokable herbs?  

Once your cigarettes are ready, you are all set to smoke them. But be careful, herbal blends being natural tobacco alternatives and helping to stop smoking does NOT mean they are healthy and anyone who says otherwise is quite frankly dishonest.

Whilst smoking is in and of itself still harmful as any act of combustion releases dangerous chemicals like tar and carbon monoxide, herbal tobacco alternatives is still a way to enjoy the act of smoking without stressing about the addictive effects of normal cigarettes containing Nicotine.

Eliminating the act of smoking, including smoking tobacco, greatly reduces the chances of developing chronic ailments such as emphysema and life-threatening illnesses such as lung cancer or mouth cancer so if you're looking to improve your health, this is the only option that is actually proven to be beneficial.

These herbal cigarettes do not contain nicotine and therefore are not physically addictive. These kinds of herbal smoking mixtures are also completely free of psychoactive substances like THC or CBD found in hemp and cannabis. This makes herbal cigarettes and smoking blends a great alternative choice to smoking tobacco or smoking marijuana, or even to quit smoking those substances completely.


Important information about smokable herbs

The absence of tobacco doesn't mean that the mixture will burn faster than your regular cigarettes.

A simple way to quit smoking using these nicotine-free herbal cigarettes would be to start with a hint of tobacco in the mixture and reduce the concentration slowly until you completely replace tobacco in a natural way. This method is relatively easy to adhere to compared to stop smoking cold turkey. 

You can switch your cannabis joints with these herbal cigarettes to smoke catnip, smoke lavender and even smoke chamomile to enjoy a relaxing and calming feeling.


Conclusion - Where can I buy smokable herbs?

We hope this informative content enlightened you in your decision making process. Whether you opt to go the DIY herbal blends route or to purchase high quality ready to smoke herbal blends, make sure to experiment with different herbal blend combinations of smokable plants to find which one is right for you. 

Remember to choose only high-quality, reputable vendors that have proven traceability measures in place like us to guarantee their herbs can be smoked safely and avoid the small Etsy shops to reduce as much as possible the risk of toxic chemicals in your smokable mixture.And remember : Smoking is bad for you MMmmkayyy!  

*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.*

If you have any valuable information to add or a correction to address, please reach out to a member of our team at info@spliffherbals.com


Wanna learn more about Smokable herbs? Browse our sources below!   

Bader, P., Boisclair, D., & Ferrence, R. (2011). Effects of Tobacco Taxation and Pricing on Smoking Behavior in High Risk Populations: A Knowledge Synthesis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8(11), 4118–4139. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph8114118

Kasza, K. A., Hyland, A. J., Brown, A., Siahpush, M., Yong, H.-H., McNeill, A. D., Li, L., & Cummings, K. M. (2011). The Effectiveness of Tobacco Marketing Regulations on Reducing Smokers’ Exposure to Advertising and Promotion: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8(2), 321–340. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph8020321

Hammond, D., & Hammond. (n.d.). Mercadotecnia social S226 salud pública de méxico / vol. 52, suplemento 2 de 2010 “Plain packaging” regulations for tobacco products: the impact of standardizing the color and design of cigarette packs “Plain packaging” regulations for tobacco products: the impact of standardizing the color and design of cigarette packs. Salud Publica Mex 2010;52 suppl 2:S226-S232. https://scielosp.org/pdf/spm/v52s2/a18v52s2.pdf

Bak, J. H., Lee, S. M., & Lim, H. B. (2015). Safety Assessment of Mainstream Smoke of Herbal Cigarette. Toxicological Research, 31(1), 41–48. https://doi.org/10.5487/TR.2015.31.1.041

Guidotti, T. L., Laing, L., & Prakash, U. B. (1989). Clove cigarettes. The basis for concern regarding health effects. Western Journal of Medicine, 151(2), 220–228. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1026937/

Wikipedia Contributors. (2019, March 27). Terpene. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terpene

How to Quit Marijuana. (2019). American Addiction Centers. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/marijuana-rehab/quit-marijuana

Hughes, J. R. (2003). Motivating and helping smokers to stop smoking. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 18(12), 1053–1057. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-1497.2003.20640.x


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1 comment

Tara Fleming

Tara Fleming

Hi, I purchased your starter pack and really enjoy smoking it. If I want to make a tea what is the best way to prepare/brew to benefit from the herbs?
Thank you!

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