*Special Note: Always discuss the risks of smoking and the side effects of specific plants, with your health care provider, before use.
If smoking marijuana flower is your preference, you may wonder if other smokeable plants can offer a similar experience. Humans have harvested plants for food, textiles, spiritual ceremonies, and medicinal practices for centuries. Cannabis, and its scientifically proven benefits, have been at the forefront of new-age medicine yet is still not fully legal or accessible to everyone.
Whether you need a cannabis tolerance break or an alternative to smoking weed, here are five smokable plants that you can grow in your garden that are not marijuana.
SAGE – (Salvia officinalis)
Sage is an evergreen shrub with a woody stem and various coloring flowers. Scientifically known as Salvia officinalis sage originated in the Mediterranean region and is the largest genus in the Lamiaceae family. Ancient civilizations have used sage to heal snakebites, stop bleeding wounds, soothe sore throats, remove evil curses, and improve female fertility.
Modern science reports the health benefits of sage are derived from an organic compound called" rosmarinic acid,” also found in rosemary (a sister herb). These studies confirm that the active compounds found in this plant are purifying, enhance cognitive activity, and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
Sage is a hardy perennial that is easy to plant, grow, and harvest. Plant sage in areas exposed to full sun, in well-draining soil, two feet apart, with seeds planted two weeks before the final frost of the season. Be sure to water and regularly prune to avoid dryness. Once fully established, each sage plant can be harvested three times in one season.
Mullein – (Verbascum Thapsus)
This invasive species is commonly found in the United States, Europe, and parts of Asia. Mullein was utilized as a holistic medicine for centuries. Due to active compounds, such as verbascose, ascorbic acid, coumarins, saponin, flavonoids, and antioxidants, this herb surprisingly can improve lung health when smoking the leaves of the plant.
In the late 1800s, Mullein was used to treat tuberculosis across the United States, Europe, and the United Kingdom. This herbaceous biennial grows from 2 to 7 feet tall and up to two and a half feet wide. When planning your garden, be sure to plant in full sun in slightly alkaline, well-draining soil. Expect yellow flowers to bloom freely in the summertime.
Hyssop – (Hyssopus officinalis)
Typically found in Europe and the Middle East, this wooden shrub originated in Ancient Greece and Egypt. Unique compounds such as thujone, rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, cineole, and other antioxidants can create natural soothing effects. A member of the mint family, this herb is known to have a medicinal scent.
Plant Hyssop 6 to 12 inches apart, allowing enough space for their extensive root systems. This herb prefers full to partial sun and thrives best in well-draining soil. Expect blooms in late summer through the early autumn. The white, deep blue, pink or red flower spikes will attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Passionflower – (Passiflora incarnata)
There are over 500 species of this herb that are all derived from the Passifloraceae family. Each of these plants has differing levels of toxicity. Therefore, care should be taken when selecting this flower for your garden. However, when used responsibly, Passionflower can be a valuable resource for those seeking an alternative to smoking marijuana.
It has been reported that the Passionflower was discovered in Peru by a Spanish doctor named, Monardes in the year 1569. It was first introduced as an ornamental plant in Europe years later, and it eventually found its way to be included in Europe’s treasury of medicinal plants.
In 1633, the Jesuit Ferrari published a book called "De Florum Cultura," where he describes the flower to represent the imagery of Jesus Christ which gave birth to the name "Passionflower." Indigenous communities in North and South America have used this plant for centuries to nourish as food, medicinally as a sedative, and when practicing ceremonies.
Passionflower is a perennial vine that grows 3ft – 6 ft wide and up to 30ft tall. The flowers design vibrant variations of red, white, purple, pink, and blue colors that bloom in the summer. Plant in full sun or partial shade with moist soil that drains well.
Lavender – (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender is classified in the mint family and can be found all across the globe in regions including Europe, Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean, and the United States. This purple flowering herb is multifaceted for cooking, fragrances, cosmetics, and plant medicine.
Science has indicated various benefits of lavender, including its ability to reduce inflammation and insomnia used topically, ingested, or through aromatic delivery methods. Lavender use has been recorded as far back as 2500 years ago. Historians report that Egyptians, Phoenicians, and the people of Arabia used lavender in mummifications and perfumery.
This woody shrub is similar to rosemary, yet lavender's scent is floral, sweet, and clean. The purple blossoms bloom in the summer and do best in well-draining soil exposed to full sun. Unfortunately, this plant is known to be evasive once established, with some even considering it a weed.
Whether you prefer dried flower rolled in a paper “joint" or enjoy blazing a glass pipe, choose a smoking blend that considers taste, terpenes, and aromatic qualities in conjunction with plants that will thrive in your climate.
Crafting Your Herbal Smoking Blend
Harvesting can be an exciting time! Seeing the progress of all the hard work you’ve done to nurture these plants all season offers a sense of pride and accomplishment.
- Fresh leaves are best harvested when the morning dew has dried. All leaves should be brought indoors and dried slowly over time by binding bundles with string and hanging them from the ceiling or lying flat on a screen.
- The leaves should never be dried in the oven.
- Once the leaves are fully dry, they can be crushed into smaller sizes by hand or a grinder.
- Store in a sealed mason jar or container in a cool dark place.
CLICK HERE to get 15% OFF your Entire Order of magnetic smoking pipes using Coupon Code: PENNCANNAFEST
Have you harvested and smoked dried flower as an alternative to marijuana? Share your experiences in the comments!