Can You Smoke Catnip?
Cannabis sativa (the plant) is one of the most commonly used plants in history. It was used for its narcotic properties, which were primarily known during the 19th century. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that scientists began studying cannabis and how it affected human beings. Since then, there have been many studies on cannabis and its effects on humans. These studies are what led to the legalization of marijuana in some states.
In addition to being used medicinally, cannabis has been used recreationally since ancient times. Cannabis has been found in Egyptian mummies dating back over 5000 years! Cannabis is still smoked today in various forms such as hashish, wax or even baked goods like brownies. Some believe that smoking cannabis may help with pain relief and improve moods.
But what exactly does it do?
What Is Catnip?
Catnip is a member of the mint family and is native to North America. It grows wild throughout much of the continent. There are several species of catmint, but only two species produce catnip: Catmint officinalis and Catmint lutea. The leaves of both species contain compounds called thujone, which when ingested causes feelings of euphoria and relaxation. It is these feelings that cause some people to believe that catnip can get you high.
How Does It Get You High?
To understand how catnip gets you high, you need to understand how THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) affects the brain. THC acts upon specific receptors in the brain called cannabinoid receptors. When THC activates these receptors a person experiences various psychoactive effects.
The thing is, not all cannabinoid receptors respond to THC. In fact, the only cannabinoid receptor that THC binds to is CB1. Unfortunately for catnip aficionados, CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and spinal cord. Due to this catnip will not get you high.
However, catnip does contain a substance similar to THC called Nepetalactone. While nepetalactone is also structurally different from THC it does act upon a different cannabinoid receptor called the CB2 receptor. The CB2 receptor is present in the liver, lungs, skin and certain kinds of immune cells. When nepetalactone binds to these receptors it acts as a minor sedative and relieves pain.
What Are The Effects Of Catnip?
The effects of taking catnip depends upon how much you take and whether or not you are a cat.
Sources & references used in this article:
39. Catnip–safer pesticide potential by E Small – Biodiversity, 2012 – Taylor & Francis
What Is Catnip Used for Today? by FJ Kinder, G Phillips, L Runnels, AM Hirsch, A Bunton… – whc-shreveport.com
Peer Reviewed: Exploring Use of Nontraditional Tobacco Products Through Focus Groups with Young Adult Smokers, 2002 by M Colligan, D Greiner, S Moore, KE Stone, P Portal