By Lady Herbal Head:
It looks like marijuana. It smells like marijuana. It smokes like marijuana. But it is not marijuana.
Does it come as a surprise to know that marijuana is not the only plant product that is smoked/ ingested to get high? If you answer no, then you might have a bit of a problem. If you said yes, then read on…
Getting the herbal high
Don’t smoke pot? No worries mate, neither do we! Assures the cute red head behind the counter at the Happy Herb Shop in Western Australia. She insists we try their ‘favourite Happy Herb’, Damiana, for starters. Scientific name: Turnera Aphrodisiaca. And a quick web search will tell you that this little flowering shrub is very much a psychoactive one; gives you a happy little buzz that last only a couple of hours, when smoked in isolation.
Then there is Marijuanilla or Little Marijuana. Siberian motherwort or Leonurus Sibiricus, is native to central and southwest Asia, informs Wikipedia. But what Wikipedia won’t tell you, Psychoactive Wiki and the unassuming drugs-forum.com will – though this baby is not cannabis, it is no baby. It gives you a deliciously mellow high that really helps you relax and forget your stress for a bit.
‘So, it is NOT marijuana?’, I want to be sure. ‘No, no, not at all,’ the shopkeeper reassures. She points at a sign in the shop that says that de-addiction from nicotine and cannabis is part of their sales pitch. Not that they need one. The shop is loaded with lotions, potions, oils and unguents for everything from relaxation to sleep therapy to nasal congestion. And an entire wall dedicated to the ‘happy’ herbs with nifty adjectives as taglines – ‘Escape’, ‘Dream’, ‘Uplift’, ‘Relax’…. Like a hippie’s apothecary heaven.
In the world of hallucinogens and psychedelic drugs, they say that what the shop keep pulls out from under the table, is usually the good stuff. When she asks me whether I smoke pot and I reply in affirmative, she pulls out this little steel box marked with the words Harvest (in angelic war font), from under the counter. The directions foruUse said it needs to be brewed as tea, but she advised us to smoke it. And we did. And it was gooooooooood. It was almost exactly like smoking pot, but milder and for a shorter duration of time.
Nature is my dealer
There are a plethora of herbs to be had for ‘health, energy, libido, partying and relaxation’. An aptly named business endeavour, The Happy Herb Company, peddles these ‘all natural plants and herbs’ from over 50 shops around the world and an online store.
If you look on the interweb, you’ll find countless such stores and websites that sell you everything from ‘shamanic herbs for meditation’ to ‘exotic botanicals for peace and self-realisation’. And these are not cannabis. These are (very) popularly known as legal highs and include everything from California Poppies to secretions of Bufo Alvarius toads. Some enthusiasts are known to even enjoy the everyday mescaline cacti and that oh-so-tasty-in-pulao nutmeg. Then there are the synthetic legal highs which are not only yucky, but also dangerous and addictive.
Shrouded in smoke
These herbs look clean and natural and can be brewed in tea as well. How come they are legal and marijuana is not? Begs the question, doesn’t it? You can set up a store or online venture to sell these ‘legal’ highs but if you’re caught with a little over legal limit of pot you could end up in jail? Then again, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol will kill you sooner than smoking marijuana will, and they are readily available, so I guess I’ll stop asking questions and get with my happy herbs. Peace!