How to blend the benefits of herbs, flowers + botanicals into your next cannabis experience
Looking to take your next session up an artisanal notch? Crafting a DIY blend of flowers, herbs, and other plants is not only a pleasant spring craft project, but also a delightful enhancement to the depth and flavor of your smoking experience. Consider it elevated potpourri for the purpose of self-care.
Gretchen Miller, of California-based cannabis farm and product line Kiskanu, is an herbalist educated in consumable combinations. “It’s fun to experiment with the herbal smoking blends, terpenes, and flavors of different herbs,” she says. “Always start small with blending and see how it treats you and your lungs. I would start with adding a small amount of cannabis.”
Chamomile, lavender, and mint are simple enough to come by; to obtain less common herbs like damania, a Mexican shrub known for being an aphrodisiac, and mugwort, used for pain relief and full of antioxidants, you’ll likely need to visit your local health food store to source them. Miller advises consuming organic botanicals, especially when smoking, and pairing your blend with organic cannabis as well.
When concocting your signature mix, make sure to consider terpenes, the unique scent profiles that exist across all plants. Terpenes add both flavor and aroma; for example, they’re why your Pineapple Kush smells and tastes like pineapple. These aromatherapeutic qualities are also part of the reason why certain strains of cannabis produce particular effects.
Terpenes can range from floral to peppery to spicy, and can incorporate notes of pine, musk, citrus, or lavender. Botanicals offer more of a straightforward, understandable terpene profile (rose petals are obviously floral, for example), but determining the terpenes of your cannabis might take some practice.
Some of the most common terpenes are linalool, limonene and myrcene. Known for being sedating and calming, linalool has hints of citrus and spice and is good for stress, anxiety and pain. Limonene has notes of citrus, lemon and orange and is said to have the ability to elevate your mood and relieve stress. Finally, myrcene offers scent profiles of musk and cloves, and is said to have antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Ready to experiment? Miller suggests blending two-parts base herbs, like mullein – an herb traditionally used for respiratory issues such as asthma – or damiana, with an herb specific to a sensation or condition (think: chamomile to ease stress or rose to help the digestive system). Then add half a part of another herb — mint, sage, lavender, etc. — purely for flavor. Grind the dried herbs together, then sprinkle over your pipe’s bowl or mix into a joint. If you’d prefer not to smoke, you can also use the mixture in a tea or bath soak if you’re using cannabis-infused products.
Story by Amanda Zurita