Let’s look at legalities – the current murky legal area surrounding THC and marijuana is one of the main reasons people want to find a marijuana alternative.
Across North America, countries can be divided into two groups — those who have legalized marijuana and those who haven’t. Even though some U.S. states, such as Colorado and Washington, have legalized consumption of this plant, it’s still not entirely legal federally in the country.
Canada is another country that has taken steps to make the consumption of marijuana legal on the national level in 2018. Most of Canada hasn’t tackled this issue, which means that people in these areas can still face prosecution for recreational cannabis use.
To get an appreciation of the cannabis movement that is taking place throughout the United States, you might want to look at the most recent election results. These results will pave the way for marijuana laws and provide a solid direction of where things could go shortly.
Marijuana has already gained acceptance as a medicinal alternative. Many states have passed legislation making it legal to use for limited medical purposes. It is also becoming more accepted as a recreational substance and decriminalized by some governments.
What is Marijuana Used For?
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been used for medical and recreational use for thousands of years. The main chemicals in cannabis are cannabinoids. Two main cannabinoids have been isolated for medicinal use: THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
Not all medical professionals agree on the use of medical marijuana. Some say it’s necessary for people with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy to relieve nausea and stimulate appetite. And others say that more research needs to be done on the side effects of marijuana before making it available as a medicine.
When you smoke cannabis or even ingest it by mouth, several cannabinoids activate your body’s cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are part of your natural endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in everything from apoptosis to hormone regulation.
Through the ECS, cannabis interacts with our central nervous system to bring us enjoyment, along with other health-promoting properties like pain relief — and possibly some health dangers.
Whether you’re a stoner or love the occasional edible, chances are you’ve probably heard that cannabis contains a chemical compound known as THC (or Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is responsible for making you feel “high.”
But numerous naturally occurring substances essentially interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system to create unexpected yet similar effects. Non-psychoactive phytochemicals in marijuana like terpenes and flavonoids give the herb its unique character and aroma — not just THC.
Many recreational users are well-acquainted with the sensation of getting “high” that comes from using cannabis — also known as “getting stoned.” But there are plenty of things in nature and our everyday lives that can produce chemically similar sensations without involving illegal substances.
So, we know that you’re familiar with how cannabis produces psychoactive effects in your brain and body, but did you know that cannabis isn’t the only thing on the market that can do so?
The breakdown below will look at three things that can mimic the effects of cannabis on your body.
In today’s world, where stress is high, and anxiety is a constant companion for many of us, we need to find ways to chill out. While the more experienced runner may feel this more than the beginners, the runner’s high is real. It is defined as a euphoria that a runner feels during or after a run, and I know it’s true- because I have thought it myself! It helps anxiety to dissipate and helps stress to soothe the system.
Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly what causes this high. Still, they suspect it has something to do with releasing the hormones endorphins and serotonin, which act as painkillers and can produce a feeling of euphoria.
Running also lowers levels of stress hormones in the body. New research has now shown us that while endorphins play a role, the runner’s high has plenty to do with our endocannabinoid system as well. Our bodies release endocannabinoids during and after the run, which leads to that blissed-out euphoric state we all know and love.
While it’s not clear how long this feeling lasts or how intense it is for everyone, it’s pretty much universally accepted that running creates some feel-good effect in the body. With so much going on these days, we could all use a little more feel-good in our lives!
Chocolate makes most people happy, provided they have a sweet tooth, of course. But besides the happy taste buds, what else makes chocolate sit on this list as a potential alternative?
Well, back in 1996, researchers discovered that chocolate contains the happy hormone, anandamide (did you know that in the Vedic language, Ananda means ‘bliss’?). However, before you sue this as an excuse to break the bank buying bars of chocolate, you should know that the effects are a lot more minimal than the blissed-out state caused by THC.
And, all that sugar is bound to give your energy levels a plummeting crash. But maybe I’m just biased because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and even the smell of sugar sends me spiraling into an energy crisis.
The point is if you’re feeling a little blue, a little bit of chocolate could help to give you a pick-me-up, according to science.
If you’re the kind of person who prefers cheese to chocolate, then this news is for you!
A study from the University of Michigan has found that cheese contains a chemical found in drugs. Seriously!
The chemical is called casein—it’s what makes cheese taste so good—and it can affect your brain in ways similar to morphine, heroin, and other opioids.
This could be great news for those of us who love cheese but can’t eat it because our bodies don’t deal very well with lactose (the sugar found in milk products). It could also lead to new treatments for people addicted to opioids. But most importantly, it just means more reasons to eat more cheese! Yum!
Delta 8, The Most Popular Alternative
But did you know that there’s a new kid on the cannabinoid block that doesn’t come from marijuana?
Its name is Delta 8 THC, yes that’s right- similar to the THC we all know about. But here’s the thing, because Delta 8 THC comes in small dose in the hemp plant, we can safely say that it is a marijuana alternative (because hemp is an alternative to marijuana!)
However, Delta 8 THC does cause some psychoactivity, albeit in much lighter forms than its Delta 9 THC counterpart. If you want to read more about the differences and similarities between these two cannabinoids, you can check out this article that I have written here.
How to Choose the Best Delta 8 THC Product
When it comes to taking Delta 8 THC, you might be wondering how much to use, when to use it, and what to pair it with. Here are a few things that may help you figure out the best time and place for your Delta 8 THC experience
In terms of dosage needs, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using the appropriate amount for your experience level as well as your particular symptoms (if applicable). If it’s your first time using Delta 8 THC, start with a small dose and gradually work up until you find what works best for you. The most common dosing range is between 5mg and 30mg per serving. Some people may tolerate higher doses, but it’s essential to start slow and work up.
The next thing to consider is the strain of Delta 8 THC. Delta 8 comes in many different strains: Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid—just like marijuana does! While all strains will have similar effects on your body (such as feeling calm or relaxed), the strains can differ in their impact on your mind (for example, some make people feel more focused while others may cause them to feel sleepy). Consider which one would be best for whatever you’re trying to accomplish with this product!
It also helps to know what strain you’re using as certain strains work better for certain times of day—the strain will determine whether you’re more likely to get energized or relaxed.
Next, think about when you plan on using Delta 8 THC. Delta 8 is known for its uplifting qualities and can improve focus, so many prefer it during the daytime. If you’d instead take it before bed due to its calming properties and effects on sleep quality, that’s completely fine too!
There are different product types, from vapes to edibles and capsules to topicals. Use the following quick guide when deciding what Delta 8 product type you want to use as an alternative to marijuana.
How to Choose the Best Delta 8 Product Types
Best for: people that want to experience the effects of Delta 8 quickly, almost immediately after taking the product.
Rapid onset of effects
Effects last between 3 and 4 hours (average)
High bioavailability (the Delta 8 does not have to pass through the metabolism)
The effects can come on within minutes, so if you are not prepared for it, it might feel like the effects are too much to handle. If this is the case, then consider choosing a lower potency.
Some vapes are not mixed with flavors or natural terpenes, so the taste is less than desirable. I bought a Delta 8 THC vape, and while the packaging says it is mixed with natural terpenes, it has an awful taste reminiscent of cloves and spice.
Don’t choose this if: you prefer to have a slower onset of effects that last longer.
Best for: people looking for a slower onset of effects that last longer and those who want to avoid vaping or other conspicuous consumption methods.
Long-lasting effects (can last up to 8 hours, although some brands even claim the effects to last up to 10 hours)
Inconspicuous method of inhalation
Excellent choice for people with respiratory conditions and need to avoid inhalation consumption
There are so many options and flavors to choose from, so you’re bound to find a flavor that seems made especially for your tastebuds.
You can even make your own at home.
It can be challenging to gauge how long they will take to kick in. depending on your metabolism; they can take between 1 and 3 hours till the effects kick in.
It’s a little bit too easy to eat too many little gummies as they can be delicious- and the effects take longer to kick in. Instead, start with a small amount and wait to feel the effects.
Don’t choose this if: you want to select a product with a more rapid onset of effects.
Best for: People who want the same effects as an edible but don’t want the sweetness or the sugar associated with the gummy.
Easy to consume
Incredibly easy to dose as the capsules are made in a specific potency
There is no taste with the capsules
Discreet way to consume
Lower bioavailability rate than most other consumption methods (has to pass through the metabolism first)
Slowest acting delivery method
Is not a targeted delivery method
Don’t choose this if: you are looking for a more targeted effect on the body (it is better to opt for a topical). It also is not wise to choose this method if you want to feel a rapid onset of effects.
Oils and Tinctures
Best for: people that want a high bioavailability rate and something that acts super fast, without the need for inhalation.
High bioavailability rate (if taken under the tongue)
It can be difficult to dose appropriately when using a dropper bottle. Sure, the bottle will contain a specific dose per ml, but it is sometimes challenging to dose the exact amount of drops.
Some oils and tinctures have an earthy taste that is unpalatable. The solution? Select a flavoured oil or a tincuture, or even one made with a healthy host of terpenes that give it a great flavour.
Don’t choose this if: you want a slower onset of effects or are a novice and a bit nervous about dosing the exact amount.
Some Other Alternatives to Marijuana
If you’re looking for a drink that’s both medicinal and fun, look no further than a nice hot cup of Blue Lotus Tea.
In ancient times, Blue Lotus Tea was used medicinally to treat insomnia, help people deal with increased anxiety levels, and even served as a mild aphrodisiac. Nowadays, people take it for those same reasons—but also for its fun!
Blue Lotus Tea is an herbal tea made from the blue lotus plant. In Egypt, it’s been consumed since around 1500 BC and in India since around 1000 BC. For centuries before that, the blue lotus flower has been depicted in Hindu and Buddhist religious art and Egyptian art throughout history.
The Egyptians used to use blue lotus flowers in their funeral rites—and they’ve been found in the tombs of pharaohs, including Ramses II, who died around 1213 BC. The blue lotus flower was sacred because it could be closed up at night and then re-open each morning again.
The Egyptians would soak the dried petals of blue lotus flowers in wine or water (or sometimes they ate them fresh), which created a calming sensation that helped them relax and sleep better at night. It was
The Lion’s Mane mushroom, also called the “yamabushitake” (“mountain mushroom of Yamabushi”), is a highly regarded medicinal mushroom native to Japan. Yamabushitake contains several triterpene compounds that have been studied for their potential to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are edible fungi commonly used in cooking and herbal medicine. They’re an excellent source of vitamins B and C, iron, and potassium.
But did you know they could also help keep your brain young?
It’s true! Researchers have found that Lion’s mane mushrooms contain compounds that stimulate the growth of brain cells and protect them from damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
The active ingredients in Lion’s mane mushrooms include two proteins called hericenones and erinacines. These substances stimulate the growth of brain cells called neurons in lab studies. They also protect nerve cells from neurotoxins like amyloid-b—a protein that plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease.
Although more research is needed to understand the effects of Lion’s mane on Alzheimer’s disease, these findings show promise for people who want to keep their brains healthy as they age.
While they have no psychoactive effects like marijuana or the popular marijuana alternative, Delta 8 THC, they could have brain-boosting qualities much like it is said of marijuana.
Do you Struggle with Inflammation? Alternatives for Dealing with Inflammation
While there are many reports of people using marijuana to help fight excessive inflammation, you might be looking for a marijuana alternative to help stave off inflammation.
Here’s Why Zinc Could be an Option
Inflammation is a key part of your immune system’s response to injury and infection. It helps fight off bugs that can make you sick, and it’s how your body heals wounds. But it can also be harmful if it becomes chronic or systemic—that means if the inflammation affects your entire body like a low-grade fever.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to several serious conditions, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
Weird as it may seem, some studies suggest that zinc—a white powder you can find in many supplements and vitamins—might help reduce inflammation.
You might be wondering, “How does that even make sense?”
Well, when you think about it, zinc’s anti-inflammatory properties aren’t all that surprising. Zinc is a powerful antioxidant that can support the immune system, and one study from 2014 found that older adults who took zinc supplements reduced their oxidative stress and inflammation by 43%.
Considering this study plus other research pointing to a link between zinc deficiency, inflammation, and arthritis makes sense that more zinc would mean less inflammation.
It’s important to note that these studies use zinc supplements with much higher doses than you would typically find in most multivitamins. Zinc supplements are safe for most people in moderate doses (40 mg or less), but they can interact with certain drugs. Check with your doctor before trying them out! If you’re interested in trying this approach, talk to your doctor first to see if it’s right for you.
Other Natural Remedies and Supplements for Inflammation
The next time you’re trying to pick out which spices to add to a recipe—or if you want to sprinkle a little extra flavor on a dish—consider adding turmeric. You may have heard of turmeric’s powers to help with inflammation and disease prevention, but you may not know that curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric.
It’s a plant in the ginger family that has been shown to help reduce inflammation, speed up wound healing, and even reduce cancer risk in animal studies. If you’re looking for a way to boost your health through nutrition, curcumin is an easy addition to your diet—take 400–600 milligrams (mg) three times daily.
Taking care of your heart should be a number one priority. After all, it’s the powerhouse of your body!
It makes sense that you’d want to do what you can to protect it, and that’s where omega-3 fatty acids come in. They’re among the most potent anti-inflammatory supplements out there, and they may help fight several types of inflammation—including vascular inflammation.
Vascular inflammation is a significant risk factor for heart disease and heart attack. It occurs when the blood vessels are irritated by the immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids combat this irritation by reducing the production of cytokines, which cause inflammation.
If you’ve been looking for a natural way to reduce inflammation, green tea may help. Green tea has been used for thousands of years, and it has been touted as a natural remedy for arthritis caused by inflammation for years in the Western world.
Green tea has been known to help fight inflammation, and scientists suspect it’s because people who live in areas that consume more green tea have lower rates of inflammation-related illnesses. The research says that green tea may reduce the production of chemicals that cause inflammation and slow cartilage loss, which causes arthritis.
If you’re having trouble with inflammation, try some green tea!
The Bottom Line
Hands down, my favorite alternative to marijuana is Blue Lotus. Depending on your preferences, you can have it as a tea or even roll it up and light up- depending on your preferences. But suppose you want a marijuana alternative that still comes from the hemp plant. In that case, you could opt for CBD products or even Delta 8 THC (which sounds similar to regular old marijuana-derived THC but comes from hemp). If you’re struggling to make your decision, you need to understand why you want to use an alternative in the first place:
Is it to deal with a particular ailment? Choose your alternative for things like inflammation (turmeric, for example) or Lion’s mane for a more brain-focused boost.
Is it to feel relaxed? Try CBD products
Do you still want to feel a slight psychoactive effect? You could opt for a Delta 8 THC product.
There are so many natural health boosters out there, and we don’t always have to run to the pharmacy for a pill made in a lab. Take the time to understand your body’s needs, and you can almost always find a solution in a natural plant product.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Question: I’ve Seen a Lot About ‘Legal Highs.’ What are These?
Answer: If you’re wondering what a “legal high” is, look no further. A legal high is similar to illicit drugs of abuse in that it is similar to the psychoactive effects of these drugs. However, these substances are completely legal and can be sold and used without fear of prosecution.
These compounds have become a popular alternative to illicit drugs because they may be inexpensive, easy to obtain, and are perceived as having fewer harmful side effects than illicit drugs.
While these claims regarding legal highs remain largely unsupported by scientific evidence, these products have been found to contain many different pharmacologically active compounds.
Question: Is CBD the Same as Marijuana?
Answer: Is CBD the same as marijuana? No, they are not.
Both CBD and marijuana come from the cannabis plant, but CBD is extracted from hemp, a type of cannabis plant. Marijuana is a species of cannabis plant different from hemp. Because CBD comes from hemp and not marijuana, it does not contain THC—the chemical responsible for the “high” that marijuana produces. So, unlike marijuana products that contain THC, using CBD will not cause any psychoactive effects or feelings of being high.
Question: Is Delta 8 the Same as THC?
Answer: Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC have similar molecular structures, but they’re not the same. Because Delta 8 has a different structure, it may produce milder effects than Delta 9 THC. That said, more research is needed to understand the impact of Delta 8 better.
Here’s what we do know: Delta 8 is an analogue of Delta 9 THC, meaning it’s a similar molecule that produces similar effects. The big difference between the two molecules is the placement of a chemical bond—aka a double bond between carbon atoms 8 and 9 in the chain of carbon atoms that make up each molecule.
This is where Delta 8 gets its name: It’s one of four “Delta” compounds produced when tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is decarboxylated (heated). This process converts THCA into THC and THCA into CBN (cannabinol). When this happens under certain conditions, it also produces the other three “delta” compounds: Delta 1 THC, Delta 4 THC, and Delta 8 THC.
In its pure form, Delta 8 produces an effect similar to what you get from taking CBD oil. This means that you may not experience any psychoactive effect at all (the “high” feeling). But when combined with THC, it can intensify that feeling.
Some people take Delta 8 for medicinal purposes too. However, there isn’t enough available research to support its use for medical reasons.
You may feel more uplifted or mellow after taking this type of cannabinoid. For example, if you take just a little bit, you might feel less anxious than normal or be able to focus more clearly on your work — or even fall asleep faster.
Delta 8 is also said to help with nausea in cancer and chemotherapy treatment side effects such as vomiting and pain.