Herbs and spices are packed with health benefits and are great to have as part of your diet. But you don’t just have to use them in cooking – they can also be paired up with marijuana to great effect. Indeed, you can add them to your cannabis edibles, but they’re excellent to infuse into teas and tinctures too. If you’ve found a spice or herb you like the sound, consider checking with your doctor whether it’s suitable for you.
Here are seven wonderful herbs and spices that can enhance your marijuana experience.
The beta-caryophyllene (BCP) terpene is present in black pepper, marijuana and rosemary, and scientists have discovered that the compound interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
BCP binds with the CB2 receptor, which controls inflammation and the immune function in the body. A natural solution for anxiety and depression, new research suggests that BCP can be used to withdraw from addictive substances when paired with CBD.
Therefore, if you’re making tasty edible treats, why not add some black pepper or rosemary to the recipe to maximize the therapeutic effects of the marijuana.
Echinacea is an herb that has a few functional similarities with CBD – this is thanks to the N-aclethanolamines (NAEs) compounds. These work with an enzyme that facilitates endocannabinoid breakdown in the body. This interaction betters the body’s endocannabinoid tone.
NAEs and N-alkylamides, compounds which intertwine with CB2 receptors, are known as cannabimimetic compounds – a reference to their likeness to cannabinoids from cannabis in their chemical makeup and how they interact with the EC system.
Traditionally, Echinacea has been an alternative remedy for the common cold, but it also has anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting and anti-oxidant qualities. While unconfirmed, many suspect that the herb is an effective analgesic too.
Ashwagandha is an age-old natural Indian Ayurvedic medicine that is now building a reputation in the West. An adaptogenic root, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) can help to control stress levels in the body. Research has shown that Ashwagandha is an anxiolytic and an antidepressant, making it popular with those seeking alternative mental health medicines.
Ashwagandha was found to have similar effects to lorazepam (for anxiety) and imipramine (for depression) when tested on animals. Researchers touted the herb’s potential at regulating mood in their final analysis of the tests.
In India, Ashwagandha has been used for both physical and mental purposes. A natural nootropic, the root can improve concentration levels. It also acts as an energizer and helps to stave off fatigue.
4) Black Cohosh
Marijuana is liked by middle-age women going through the menopause for its ability to control mood swings and eliminate hot flushes. Black Cohosh has the same qualities. Therefore, throw the two together and you get a powerful menopause-busting combo. Black Cohosh encourages balance in the hormone-regulating endocrine system.
Phytoestrogen is lost in the menopausal period, but Black Cohosh is presumed to replenish some of it. The herb tends to be found in extract or tincture form, which can be taken sublingually or added to a beverage.
As we know, marijuana plays its biggest role in the endocannabinoid system, which also helps to regulate estrogen levels. Therefore, taking cannabis with Black Cohosh brings even more control over mood than consuming just one. Feel free to check with a herbalist or doctor if you’re unsure about mixing Black Cohosh with existing medication.
Lavender has always been known for its relaxing qualities, with its mesmerizing scent able to promote calm and tranquillity. The herb is a firm favorite in aromatherapy treatments and the massage industry. Marijuana and lavender also have a compound similarity, both containing the terpene linalool. Terpenes are the compounds which give marijuana its distinct odor. This is why some cannabis strains actually smell a bit like lavender.
Linalool has its own unique reactions with both CBD and THC. When linalool and non-psychoactive CBD interact, the anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory qualities are multiplied, while marijuana’s analgesic (painkilling) properties also receive a boost. Linalool’s muscle relaxant traits come to the fore when reacting with psychoactive THC.
Lavender works well when infused into a marijuana topical (cream, balm, salve), as the gorgeous scent makes for an immersive aromatherapy experience while medicating. Topicals are brilliant for localized pain and enhance the pain relief offered by the linalool further still. Lavender can also be added to your cannabis edibles and beverage.
6) Holy Basil
Holy Basil is recognized for its stress-relieving and acne-treating qualities. Adding Holy Basil when making cannabis oil is the best way to utilize this herb. Dab the Holy Basil-infused oil on topically to treat acne.
Holy Basil is closely related to Ashwagandha and has a long history in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Historically, the herb, which is sometimes known as Tulsi, has been used to combat stress and anxiety. Animal testing has shown that Holy Basil reduces cortisol levels – a stress hormone. It’s also thought to have anti-diabetic qualities.
7) St John’s Wart
St John’s Wart has a multitude of health qualities and is combined with olive oil in the Balkan regions to amplify its ability to treat burns. St John’s Wart is used to make teas, concentrates and pills, and is a popular herbal treatment for depression.
The real advantage of St John’s Wart over prescription, antidepressant medication is the noticeable absence of side effects. This was revealed in a 2009 study which compared prescription meds with St John’s Wart and a placebo. A St John’s Wart-infused tea is a nice accompaniment for cannabis and produces a natural mood boost.
St John’s Wart doesn’t mix well with everything, so if you are taking other medication, you may wish to consult your doctor before enjoying this herb. However, you don’t necessarily need to ingest – for localized pain relief, add St John’s Wart to a topical and apply as normal.
Final thoughts on combining marijuana with herbs and spices
The medicinal potential of combining cannabis with herbs and spices is massive. They help to enhance the qualities of both substances in a number of areas.
It’s important to respect the power of any herbs that you ingest and to use them responsibly. Having an open mind to alternative medication is crucial, but it’s common sense to double check with a professional before adding any new spices to your concoctions.