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By Ainsley Bedford

I thought for this month, I’d have a change from my usual rant about prohibition and negative attitudes by the public towards Cannabis.

Instead and in light of the festive season, as many will be making new year’s resolutions to quit smoking.

(Then in all likeliness, becoming disappointed and angry at themselves if they don’t keep to it)

Partially inspired by CLEAR’s TOKEPURE campaign and my wife’s determination for us both to quit smoking tobacco, I thought it might be nice to look at some tobacco alternatives (As well as how they complement the weed I smoke them with).

Being a Wiccan and a herbalist I have a vast array of different herbs growing in my garden and have made a few legal smoking blends of my own in the past, and have experimented with quite a range, from wormwood, to mint (mint is actually incredibly nice and can make the nastiest, harshest blend quite pleasant).

However for ease of obtainability, let’s look at a few available for sale on the high street.

Tobacco free cigarettes and rolling mixes

 The following examples were bought from our local Holland and Barretts.

Honeyrose special, are available in cigarette form, also in menthol or as a rolling medium.

The first time I tried Honeyrose blend, a friend of mine had come over to share a smoke and wanted my thoughts on the replacement he’d found for tobacco.

I’m not sure what weed he’d mixed with it, but the flavour was intensified by the light herbal taste of this blend. I’m not usually one for anything containing rose petals and as such this made me sceptical, however my scepticism was short lived and I was pleasantly surprised by this, as it was somewhat more subtle than blends I’d tried in the past.

An aromatic mixture made from a blend of natural herbs matured in honey and apple juice. Guaranteed tobacco free and nicotine free.

Honeyrose special rolling blend £5.85 25g pouch. Also available in 50g tins.

Honeyrose Special, tobacco free herbal cigarettes, £2.95 per 20. Tar 5mg Nicotine 0. (These are my Mrs’ favourite)

Honeyrose classic herbal cigarette, made from a blend of herbs including Marshmallow, Red Clover and Rose. Guaranteed tobacco free and nicotine free.

These are very nice just as an alternative to cigarettes, but for those who like to use the “toasting” method; this really releases the flavour before mixing with your favourite herb.

The consistency of the herbal mix also makes it very good for making a nice dry mix to enjoy on a bong.

NTB Herbal cigarettes, £2.85 per 20. Tar 3mg Nicotine 0 (I really like these ones).

NTB are made from a blend of hazelnut, papaya, peppermint & eucalyptus, and give a lovely herbal aroma and taste. NTB cigarettes were designed to be a substitute for your tobacco habit of lighting and inhaling and because these cigarettes contain no tobacco or nicotine, they do far less damage to you than tobacco cigarettes.

These can cause a little confusion amongst people in the street as they smell subtly like certain illegal herbs that we all know and love.

Since trying NTB I now generally use it as a base to most of the spliffs I build, as I find the flavour perfectly complements the weed, with none of the pungent floweriness that can sometimes be found with Honeyrose.

Both NTB and Honeyrose are also available in menthol varieties too.

It is advised to note that while these are interesting alternatives to tobacco, like tobacco the safety warnings should be observed; it is advised that you use as a part of a plan to stop smoking and you should not smoke these herbal cigarettes regularly for more than three months.

Shisha

A classic, and let’s face it, there are times when you just can’t beat a good hookah pipe, shisha has recently come under scrutiny with its effects on health being debated, however as most shisha’s are now tobacco free anyway I thought I’d suggest my favourites, made with 100% molasses and no tobacco whatsoever, they are fruity, light and full of flavour.

Add some mary jane to the mix and you have a smoke that is heavenly and a sheer pleasure to smoke.

Soex Herbal Hukka £2 – 4 (approx dependent on where bought)

Soex offer a variety of different flavours ranging through; Apple, Strawberry, Mixed Fruit, Aniseed, Mango, Grapes, Water-Melon, Pineapple, Double Apple, Mint, Silver- Fox, Golden Amber, Peach, Red-Cherry, Rose, Lime-Lemon, Cardamom, Orange, Blue-Berry, Black-Berry, Bombay Panmasala, Raspberry, Mintos, Coffee, Vanilla, Black-Liquorice, Chocomint, Coconut, Pudina, White Grapes, Pinacolada, Lychee, Roohafza Cool, Pan-Rasna, Bubble-Gum, Sweet-Lime, Sweet-Melon, Apricot, Honey, Banana, Cinnamon, Spearmint, Cola, Chocolate.

My all time favourites have to be the Strawberry and Red Cherry varieties, they are sweet and pleasant to smoke and incredibly moreish.  I can only describe it as being like intangible candy floss, as it seems good enough to eat (my mother actually does eat it) but yet in smoke form, the smoke is thick yet light and really brings out a taste sensation whenever mixed with Cannabis.

On a personal note I would recommend avoiding the pineapple as I found it really tastes more like cheese than pineapple and this is incredibly off-putting and quite sickly. Not to mention a terrible waste if you’ve mixed your weed in with it.

El Rosha, Herbal Shisha Molasses. £3 – 6 (dependant on where bought and size of box)

Like Soex, El Rosha also offer a variety of flavours;  Double Apple, Strawberry, Mixed Fruit, Mint, Pineapple, Blueberry, Raspberry, Banana, Watermelon, Grape, Mango, Kiwi, Cherry, Orange, Blackberry, Lemon & Mint, Pomegranate, Plum, Rose, Vanilla, Cola, Bubble Gum, Peach, Liquorice and Sweet Lemon.

El Rosha is slightly stronger in flavour than Soex and as such, can be either pleasant or occasionally overpowering, depending on your shisha to weed ratio. If it’s the weed flavour you’re after then you may have to use slightly more with this brand, or select a flavour which particularly complements the Cannabis, such as apple or mint.

Well hopefully I’ve given you enough food for thought as it were, all that remains is to say, keep fighting the good fight, and here’s to a merry festive season and a tobacco free New Year.

Peace WildChild.

This article was written for issue 11 of ISMOKE Magazine.

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