Stash Box: Introducing Blends Can Bring Out the Best in Your Cannabis

The reasons for using blends are almost as varied as the number of plants that you can roll into your joint.

Illustration by James the Stanton

Smoking blends are a time-honored tradition. The reasons for making them are almost as varied as the number of plants that you can roll into your joint: the benefits can be medicinal or spiritual, or just to stretch your supply. Creating blends to complement your cannabis can also have the added benefit of altering or enhancing the subtler effects of your pot.

As we move into spring, we will be presented with a bounty of flowers and now is a great time to experiment with this age-old practice and change up your routine.

As an aside, make sure you do your research or talk to a doctor or naturopath to make sure a plant is safe for you. If you are pregnant, some herbs are off-limits. And if you don’t buy your supplies, be wise about where you collect your harvest. Use only organic sources. Flowers grown next to a busy street, for example, may have been exposed to all sorts of toxins, and harvesting flowers from private property could be a real buzz-kill for the gardener who planted them.

An ideal smoking or vaping blend should include a few different herbs or flowers for a well-rounded flavor and experience. I recommend a blend of two parts base plant, one part effects enhancer, and one part flavor. Feel free to play with these portions, and then add however much cannabis you want.

Raspberry leaf, damiana, hops, coltsfoot, and mullein all make terrific base plants, relatively cheap and smooth to smoke. Each has favorable properties: Mullein and coltsfoot are good for respiratory ailments, raspberry leaf is great for cramps, and damiana has aphrodisiacal qualities. Hops are calming. All five are especially wonderful when mixed with marigolds, uva ursi, or sage. But be warned that these flowers and herbs can dry out, producing a harsher smoke. If you find that’s the case, gently mist your plant material before smoking or vaping. It should smooth out.

Great enhancing flowers and herbs include chamomile, basil, rosemary, lavender, thyme, lobelia, blue lotus, and eucalyptus, just to name a few. Each has amazing flavors and medicinal qualities of its own, making it a perfect way to bring out the nuances in your weed. For instance, people experiencing anxiety often use the strain Headband for its calming “heady” sensation; chamomile is going to support that calming effect and add a wonderful, sweet honey flavor. If you want a puff or two before bed but all you have is a super-motivating sativa like Pineapple Express, creating a 50/50 mix with lavender flowers is definitely going to help mellow you out. Basil is great for nausea and will help you focus. Lobelia, also known as Indian tobacco, has an alkaloid called lobeline that the body treats like nicotine, so people use it in blends to help them stop smoking cigarettes.

Finally, the icing on the cake: the flavors. Get creative here (safely, of course). Spearmint and peppermint, lemon or lemongrass, clove, cinnamon, rose, stevia, licorice root, vanilla bean, orange peels—all will provide a delicious layer of flavor, and can help coax out some of the hidden flavors in cannabis.  

To get you started, I have some recommendations:

Get Up Stand Up is great for going out and partying. Just blend two parts damiana, one part rosemary flowers and leaves, and one part ginseng with an exhilarating sativa like Grapefruit.

The Calm Down Blend is ideal for the end of the night, or if you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Just mix two parts hops, one part marshmallow flowers, and one part stevia with something seriously mellow like Granddaddy Purple or White Rhino.

To help a cough, blend one part mullein, one part coltsfoot, one-half part eucalyptus, one-half part sage, and one part peppermint with a smooth indica like Afghan Kush. It might seem counterintuitive to smoke something to help a cough, but it’s an alternative treatment used around the world. But if smoking alone just feels wrong, you can pair this blend with some edibles.

To help with cramps or other sore muscles, mix one part raspberry leaf, one part willow bark, one part sassafras, and one part wormwood with sweet and spicy indicas high in CBD, like Milky Way, Sweet & Sour Widow, or Shiatsu Kush.

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