Hemp and Damiana Leaf: Not the Same Thing

damiana leaf

Does damiana have the same properties as hemp?

A reader writes:

damiana leaf.jonothan ; you mentioned that this was smoked like hemp. what is the chemical in this product and can it cause any psychosis ? i dont want to take any chemicals into my body and dont use hemp and dont wish to

I believe he was referring to my review of All Day Energy Greens.  Keep in mind  that it’s not found in Incredible Greens.

Dear reader, your concern is understandable, but I do believe you have nothing to worry about with regards to Damiana.  It’s aromatic, lights well, and is a mildly quantified aphrodisiac (woo!), but its similarities to hemp end when it comes to altering the mind.

Damiana derives its “relaxing” effects from a substance known as volatile oil, which is fairly complex and bares no resemblance to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),  the substance in hemp that causes psychosis.  Damiana does not contain any THC whatsoever.  Synthetic marijuana often has Damiana in it, but this is because of its taste, smell, and generally pleasant sensory properties, not because it alters the mind.

THC vs. Volatile Oil

The volatile oil found in Damiana contains about twenty different compounds, which include some fatty acids, tannins, flavonoids, and a bitter substance called Damianin, which is brown and bitter.  Little is known about how it works.  It’s a bit of a mystery substance.

THC on the other hand has a plethora of psychoactive properties that are fairly well documented.  When ingested cannabis binds to certain receptors in the central nervous system that upregulate the generation of dopamine (a chemical in your brain that makes you happy) and eventually modulates opioid recepters within the brain, which makes you feel relaxed and giddy.

Side Effects

Damiana is very mild, and does not have any reliable side effects at most dosages….at least as much as this information exists.

I don’t smoke anything, but I know of several recovering hemp smokers who all share the same story about their experience with Damiana.  The fragrance from the leaf filled the air, the soothing smoke wafed into your nostrils, they take a puff, and……..nothing.  At least not what they were expecting based on previous experience.  Read this thread if you don’t believe me.

Damiana just isn’t all that psychoactive, particularly at the doses you’d take in a whole foods supplement that wasn’t designed to be stimulative.

The formal standards about how much Damiana to take and for what effect are non-existent.  So if you are concerned about its potential effects then I’d recommend playing it by ear and trying a little bit at a time.  But there’s nothing inherently dangerous about the herb and there are no restrictions on how it can be sold and used.

Overall

Damiana is nothing if not unique.  It has a rich history, is commonly used today for a wide variety of endeavors…..but yet little is known about it.

In my opinion it’s one of the most interesting and understudied natural compounds that exists.  In fact, it’s so understudied that there haven’t even been any haughty marketing ploys about its incredible properties!

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About Jonathan Bechtel

Owner of Health Kismet, maker of Incredible Greens, a green superfood supplement that combines 35 different raw greens, herbs, probiotics, grasses and fruits into a sweet tasting powder.

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