Most people who smoke weed in the UK (and the rest of Europe for that matter) smoke it alongside tobacco.
I used to do this, too. In fact, it’s only been about 3 years since I started looking into tobacco alternatives and ultimately kicked tobacco out my life.
In this article, I’m going to take you through all the common tobacco substitutes, including the ones that helped me the most.
But first, why do we Europeans smoke weed with tobacco?
Why smoke weed with tobacco?
While using tobacco alongside cannabis is widespread in Europe, the reasons why can be debated.
Many proponents claim the uplifting effects of smoking nicotine complement the psychotropic effects of cannabis. And there is one study that found adding tobacco to a cannabis joint “doesn’t improve the experience of being stoned, but it does reduce the memory impairment inherent to cannabis use.” Previous research also suggests that nicotine on its own can improve concentration.
Perhaps the most likely reason we use tobacco is that hash use to be the most common form of cannabis in Europe. While high-grade flower is now easy to find, back in the day it was all hash – mostly imported from Morocco, the middle East and India. And the easiest way to smoke hash is to crumble it with tobacco into a joint.
I also think, these days, as weed can be pretty pricey, many stoners will claim they use tobacco in their joints in an effort to make their weed last longer.
Others claim joints tastes better with tobacco, or that they’re smoother than pure weed joints.
Why should you ditch tobacco?
While the harmful effects of nicotine are well-known, on its own, nicotine is actually one of the most reliable nootropics on Earth – a nootropic is a substance that improves cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.
This is probably why tobacco has become one of human kind’s favourite drugs. However, modern day tobacco and cigarettes are loaded with harmful chemicals that wreak havoc on your health. Nicotine is also highly addictive and can produce intense withdrawal effects once you are hooked.
In fact, many weed-smokers confuse the addictive qualities of nicotine with craving for weed. After giving up tobacco, many find that they smoke less weed overall as they were previously smoking joints for the nicotine rush rather than the effects of cannabis.
Tobacco smoke has also been linked with lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and countless other conditions. Cannabis smoke, on the other hand, despite containing some known carcinogenic chemicals like carbon monoxide, is not linked to lung cancer – or any irreversible lung damage.
Which is why, if you smoke, we think you should stick to cannabis. Wanna go one step better, try vaping your weed – this doesn’t burn your plant material and produces far less harmful chemicals.
Best tobacco alternatives for joints
This is what I used to remove tobacco from my life completely. At first, I used low-grade hemp tea with levels of CBD around 2-5%, but after a while more high-grade hemp flower started to become available.
While high-grade hemp flower is more expensive (up to £10 a gram), it tastes just like regular weed and is a very smooth smoke – providing you buy from a well-established vendor.
The CBD in hemp flower can also counteract the anxiety and paranoia caused by THC. In my opinion, hemp flower is the ideal tobacco replacement.
You can read more about my experiences giving up tobacco with the help of hemp here.
The herb sage has long been revered for its medicinal power and used for such many digestive conditions. Dry leaves of white sage are often used in herbal smoking blends as it burns well, has a pleasant, minty taste and smooth smoke.
More well known for use as a tea, chamomile can actually be smoked as a tobacco substitute too. It may have anti-anxiety effects and can improve the quality of sleep. Try to get the dried buds of chamomile rather than regular chamomile tea.
Known for its aphrodisiac effects, damiana is believed to have many other health benefits. When smoked, people also say the damiana also produces a slight high. It also rolls up and burns well, and the smoke is clean and smooth.
Short for ‘already vaped bud’, AVB is what you get left with after you vape weed in a dry herb vaporiser. While it may look like brown, old weed, it actually still contains some THC and it still burns quite well in a joint.
Alternatively, AVB can be used to make simple edibles, as the THC will have already been decarbed (activated) when it was heated in the vape.
If you’re looking to replace tobacco with something, why not just use weed? Yes, it can quickly get expensive if you’re rolling big joints, but you could just roll small ones. They’ll get you just as high and you’ll be doing your lungs a favour.
7. Just vape instead
If you haven’t given dry herb vaping a go, it’s definitely worth a try. Not only will it remove the need for tobacco, it is much healthier than smoking and even more economical as a little weed in a vape goes a long way.
Since buying my Pax 2 vape, I’ve found myself smoking less and less.