Tea 4:20 Edition: Smoking Tea

by Tony Gebely 55

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Update: there has been some information circulating the internet about this growing trend of smoking tea from tea-bags. This can be very harmful to your health. Smoking tea does not get you high, however you are inhaling carbon monoxide which could make you lightheaded. 


There is a bit of information online about the healthful effects of smoking tea leaves. I do not condone this, I would not try this, I’m not telling you to try this — I believe that smoking anything is harmful to your health, but I wanted to see if I could dig up any information on people that have been smoking tea.

After a bunch of searching, I found many forums with people asking if it is safe to smoke tea leaves. Some people have tried this and have claimed to feel relaxed after doing so. I even found an article from my friends at TChing: http://www.tching.com/2009/01/smoking-green-tea-is-it-safe-to-light-up/

I have read several accounts of Chinese families smoking tea from a hookah, but I can not find any evidence whatsoever as to the historical significance behind this. It seems to be something people try when they are short of cash and are willing to smoke anything to get some sort of a high.

If you would like to learn more about enjoying tea the right way, visit my Hacker’s Guide to Tea.

See Dr. Oolong take a hit from a tea joint in this video:

Tony Gebely

Tony has been studying tea for over ten years and has traveled to many tea producing regions throughout Asia. His book, "Tea: A User's Guide" is available now.

Comments (55)

  1. I was hoping we could talk about smoking tea, as in introducing smoke to a tea, like Lapsang Souchong, but with something like a Smoking Gun. I’ve got a couple test jars of smoked Pu-erh tea going. Anyone else do this?

  2. I replaced tobacco with Organic green tea leaves in my joint, and I was up all night with a pleasant buzz. But, please use only Organic.

  3. Cancer is usually only a concern if you’ve poor dietary habits. Smokers who eat bad are far more likely to get lung issues than the healthy ones.

    For example, on average, raw tobacco smokers (I do not mean cigarettes, which often only contain a tiny amount of tobacco) live longer than those who do not. Further, many make a point of not inhaling into the lungs. It’s more the content of the smoke that matters, not smoke in general.

    Like others have said, green tea has benefits when smoked. I’m sure there are other plants used for tea that have similar properties.

    In the end, we all have to die some day. Why not enjoy yourself in the way you see fit in the meantime?

  4. I believe smoking anything has bad affects (what doesn’t have bad affects now a days?) , however, there are some benefits to smoking green tea. I am no scientist or doctor, but I don’t believe smoking green tea can give you lung cancer, or can get you addicted the way nicotine does. Why? There are no free radicals in tea, it is literally just the plant. The caffeine leaves you with a “buzzed” feeling, it also makes you more alert. Your metabolism will speed up, and your entire body will leave you with a nice calm feeling. HOWEVER, Some people argue that smoking green tea could lead to cancer due to the smoke itself. Yes, smoke can cause you to have breathing problems, but does this actually cause cancer? Probably if you smoke it everyday. If smoke really did do the damage people claim, then why doesn’t a camp fire lead to cancer? Its probably because you don’t HAVE a campfire everyday. Every once in a while wont hurt, but if you are rolling 6-7 joints of tea a day then yeah you may experience breathing problems, and you might need to see a doctor. I’ve done this before just for my own curiosities, and I found that I am not addicted, or that i don’t have breathing problems, nor does my throat hurt. Smoking anything burns I would assume. I don’t intend to do it everyday but I would like to try it again sometime to see if there are any more affects, it only last for a bit and makes you a little sleepy. Once again, I wouldn’t condone or recommend this unless you have a smoking/chewing tobacco problem, because tobacco is loaded with nicotine and other chemicals, and are trying to smoke tea to try and quit smoking the actual damaging stuff.

    1. Me and a close friend smoked green tea and it was calming but if you keep smoking it over and over again in such a small span of time it can make you feel a bit light head and your Tounge and throat burn every once in a while is fine but not constantly because it does lead to you not being able to breathe very well. Me and this friend did it 3 days in a row smoking like 6 each which is not healthy 1! One is enough possibly two but it is bad for you if you chain smoke it

  5. OK so I drink sleepy tome tea and it relaxes me so I tried smoking it and the first 20 or 30 minutes it felt just like a weed high except I didn’t have any memory problems I try to smoke it before school so that I’ll be able to do my school work without getting bored out of my fucking mind. I still do it because I failed eighth grade and I’m on my way toward failing again. But when I smoke this tea I’m just so happy that I want to do my school work

    1. What type of sleepy time tea? How was the effects, please tell me.

  6. Well it’s amazing it really makes you feel good tingly but relaxed

  7. That’s actually false information on both accounts – Pure green tea (from tea bags) does actually give you a high, this is not an effect from the Carbon monoxide. It can put you into an incredibly relaxed state, can cause your eyes to go red and slightly puffy (bags) just like smoking Marijuana leaf.

    High from green tea suppresses the urge the smoke cigarettes, hence why many people smoke tea to help them quit . It can however cause headache, just like Marijuana leaf.

    Saying tea from the bag is very harmful to smoke is a grossly generalized answer, since pure tea in tea bags is no worse than smoking anything combustible. In fact the only considerable health risk is the combustion, so its redundant to even say that its bad for you.

    This article is totally wrong on all accounts, its clear there was no research done prior to spouting this misinformation, that and the author obviously no no experience at all in the matter.

    1. Sounds like someone is addicted to smoking tea. Grammatical mistakes aside, your reply was incredibly dumb. Smoking ANYTHING is incredibly harmful to your health. So when the author says that smoking tea is harmful, he’s not over-generalizing, he’s just correct.

      Also, I love how you criticize his apparent lack of research when you are guilty of the same thing. Show me one peer-reviewed research paper that says smoking tea can help you quit smoking cigarettes and I’ll take it all back. Idiot.

      1. If it helps you get over an addiction, then why is “proof” necessary?

        People bank too much on the research of others. If something as simple as smoking tea leaves helps, then it’s to be considered, “proven” or not.

        It’s better to be imaginative and adventurous than constantly “need” to look to others for some sort of validation in their experiences. “Science” is in a sad state of affairs these days anyways, and is in bad need of catching up with plenty of things anyways.

  8. I just rolled a joint with 100% natural tea in it.. I started to smoke it but didn’t even smoke half it tasted gross but that might be because I wasn’t using rolling paper I was using bible paper but i didn’t feel anything at all is that because I didn’t have the right paper or the right kind of tea or did I just not smoke enough tell me better and tastier types of tea and any other hints on paper I’m too young to buy them

  9. I smoked herbal tea (Gypsy cold care) earlier today and I’m STILL buzzed! I have been a serious pot smokers for years but it makes me so out of it and sometimes lazy. So I tried the tea, rolled in a blunt and I’ve been pleasantly surprise. I’m calm and focused without the grogginess. It’s a whole new world! SMOKE TEA!

    1. Ppl who smoke pot VERY HEAVY EVERYDAY and are tired of it and just want their life back and to be pot free for good . ! honestly do I roll my tea for tea bags in my zig zag and smoke it ? Will it help stop making a person addicted to pot ? can smoking tea bags help a person quit smoking pot ?

      1. “Addiction” to cannabis is psychological, not physical. It’s not a thing that works in the same way as drugs do. It’s more like a driving habit than an addiction. This needn’t be treated in the same manner as a hard drug, such as heroine, which can easily create a physical addiction. Meditation and stopping “cold turkey” is an excellent way to do this, if not the best way, because no other remedy can do the same thing. Not only will this assist one in overcoming the habit quickly, but entirely expelling the desire to even touch the plant as well. This prevents relapses.

        Addictions are not simple manners. There is no such thing as a solution that works for everyone for everything. One can smoke tea leaves all they want but, in the end, cannabis doesn’t need to be treated as such. Until the psychological dependence is removed, utilizing another substance can transfer the dependence towards that new substance (even if it is just tea leaves), for many people.

  10. You’ve made some decent points there. I checked on the web for additional information about the
    issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.

  11. Green tea is an agonist of the CB1 receptor in the brain, cannabinoid 1. This is the same receptor that is also a receptor for THC delta 9 the psychoactive component in cannabis.

    1. I smoke tea leaves I even made a bong to smoke it through t definitely got high I used green tea 100% organic tea leaves. I live in an apartment so I can smoke weed when I m home its a great substitute

  12. Ok so yes tea is bad for you in many ways but also good for you. Also what isnt bad for you now a days? I have smoked tea usually chai twinnings (very exellent tea) and it does relax you because of the carbon monoxide smoking anything gives you a “head rush”. I support tea over ciggarettes becauae so far ciggarettes have taken millions of lives and tea um… let me see uh… zero!

    1. Correction-no one has ever been rushed to the hospital immediately after smoking tea with a life threatening condition THAT YOU KNOW OF.
      But guess what? the same thing applies to smoking tobacco! No one keels over dead after smoking a cigarette-it takes many years of it to effect the damage thet leads to COPD and lung cancer.
      Inhaling burning plant matter of any sort is harmful to your lungs, and you have no idea what toxic substances may be formed as the leaves burn. Just the fact that you state that CO is what causes the effect shows you know you’re introducing at least one harmful substance into your system-or did you think carbon monoxide is beneficial?

  13. i smoke tea and maijuana (legaly). tea doesnt give you a high but it makes you feel very relaxed. idont know how harmfull it is but it can be no more harmfull than any other smokeables. smoking is different for everyone in their own way and if you smoke cigarettes then making the funny desicion to swap to smoking tea would be better for your health. one more perk to smoking tea is it’s legal

  14. Ive smoked peppermint cane tea n it definately got me high!!

  15. I use to smoke ciggarettes because I get stressed from having a busy schedule from work but I stopped smoking because I didn’t want to get addicted but I don’t want to continue it but I do want to try smoking tea my concern is does smoking tea show up on drug test since it gives u a “high” feeling

    1. No, It doesn’t contain anything that would pop on a drug test like THC so I doubt it

    2. If you drink the tea would it show up on a drug test?

      The “high” feeling is probably just lack of oxygen? Burning anything produces carbon monoxide which displaces oxygen in the blood.

      1. Green tea is an agonist of the CB1 receptor in the brain, cannabinoid 1. This is the same receptor that is also a receptor for THC delta 9, found in cannabis.

  16. Hello, normally I wouldn’t comment on anything, but I am going through some real rough times with my teenage son. He has been skipping school to smoke tea. The kind of tea they smoke is soaked in acetone first and dried out. Now before he added the acetone, his friends and him would smoke regular tea. I don’t know if theres alot of different teas or not but I know hes not “right” when he gets home and is very moody, mean, abusive”verbally, and physically” out of it really. I know he also has tried that j dub. So my question to you is how is this healthy? How does my 14 year old son get this, and how do I put a sop to it? I am very concerned not just for him but I have two younger kids that he is abusing too. I have asked for help from all kinds of different professionals and all I was told is that I walking a very fine line with my son, and if either one of us cross that line I lose all three of my kids? Can someone help?

    1. Ummm Caitlin. To help you out more id assume your son is using JWH-018 aka active ingredient in Spice. So in other words your son and freinds are using tea as a base, similar to using comet, baking soda, etc used as a mixing agent with coke. So anyway u can use anything Tea,marshmallow leaves, etc. and you spray the JWH chemical on it and use acetone for it to evaporate and mix the ingredients in the base. Regular tea won’t do anything harmful. And weed for that matter will just lower motavation. So in other words yeah your son is probably using spice and or making it out of tea. Ohhhhhh i just did research so yeah J dub is slang for JWH-018. What do u know. So yeah your son is downright lieng about it being regular tea. I was hooked on that shit for awhile till i almost went into analpyhtic shock. this is what happens when people stress marijuana use. For fuck sakes just stay on top of him.,get his focus on education up if it isnt already decent.
      Shit tell him hey u can smoke herb in the house or fucking stick him in rehab if he aint 18. thats about it i usually dont help people on the net but i saw this and can’t ignore it. This fake as spice shit is gonna kill more and more. For fuck sakes

    2. I suggest him to smoke cannabis instead of this chemical he is putting on the tea. I am an avid user of marijuana and its effects on me are very positive and I do suggest people try it to see how it works with their brain since every single person has a different experience with the herb. I have smoked tea leaves before because I was low on cash but its not harmful what so ever except that its smoke i found it rather calming. Hope I could help.

    3. ok im a 16 year old and yes i have done spice. I have done it a few times and from experience i can tell you that it messes with your heart. the last time i ever did spice me and my friend felt like we were dying and forced our selves to sleep. He may not appreciate it now but i wish that my mom would have caught me like you caught your son. There are now cases on the internet reporting of deaths from using this. It isnt sold anymore but you can still get the ingreients to make it. If you want to keep your son alive, do whatever you can to stop him. My friend that felt like he was dying now has a mild heart condition because his heart beats very rapidly. Please stop your sons sake and for your younger kids and lastly for your self.

    4. im haveing the same problem with some punks smokeing tea at my sons bus stop,an im realy worried that my son might pick up on this crap..

    5. to answer this your son is not smokeing tea once the acetone is added that is synthetic with is very additive and has killed many people

  17. I smoke tea any kind really, and I am amazed at what it does for me when I don’t have any money to buy any cigarettes. Tea really relaxes you, and stimulates the mood. It is a lot safer than cigarettes, and a better for you too. If you really want to try something, try the morning mist tea, it will get you feeling really good.

  18. ‘big wayne’ what tea are you smoking i wanna know

    i dont contribute to smoking tea

  19. im buzzing off it right now mates. and i dont know why but i cant stop speaking british. then again i am part british. maybe this is why they talk like this. and really i should be asleep right now but i just tried that smokin tea idea and im in an extremely happy mood. and slightly energized. but thats it pretty much. i say definetly worth it as a mood enhancer. but do it earlier in the day so you dont stay up late enjoying the feeling. thats all ive got to say. ta-ta.

  20. Oh and another thing, everytime I smoke tea, ( Tetley, herbal or anyking) it smells like weed, so my cousin accuses me of smoking weed but im not. 🙂

  21. So I smoke tea. I hope its not dangerous, and its true , it does give you a buzz like weed. My cousin was like hallucinating when he came in to my room though. And m kinda freaked cuz i found if i smoke alot of it I hallucinate.

  22. Tea really does get you high as gas, you just have to smoke alot. im high as balls right now from tea, it feels alot better than smoking nutmeg, might i even say weed. with weed you feel out of normal but with tea you feel, just, amazing

  23. dont smoke flavored tea :p shit made my friend puke! And it never made us feel anything at all so ig it depends on the person. Get a job and buy some real weed.

    1. the get a job thing doesnt really make sense with somke weed but yes moke weed over tea

  24. Is It normal that when smoked it smells like “POT”

  25. lol what?????? smoking tea??? you freaky ass junkies why not smoke a banana peel or potatoe skin, go get a script for zanax before you O.D. on lipton lol

    1. for real i cant believe all this crap im reading..

  26. It has been scientifically proven to in fact create a marijuana like buzz, however this is not due to CO2 in the bloodstream, or anything to do with the smoke at all for that matter. The state of mind created by not just green tea, but any herbal tea, is due to a certain chemical in the smoke that is chemically related to the same chemical that is found in salvia but in much smaller amounts.

  27. I like tea. When i Drink a cup, i sometimes smoke a pinch afterwards to get more relaxing affects from it.

    1. I too like to smoke a pinch when I have tea. Actually, it usually the other way around, I find the tea soothes the throat after “smoking a pinch”

  28. What kind of tea was it that you smoked?

  29. Seems to me that the smoke itself is what is the relaxing factor – increased CO2 in the bloodstream always makes you feel more relaxed then more energized when oxygen returns to normal levels afterwards. Just inhaling smoke, wether it be from burning tea or anything really, is not healthy.
    I would hope that people find other ways – healthier ways- to relax because even though this is less dangerous than cigarettes, it’s still harmful.

  30. Hey there, guy.

    First off, not a fan of watching some guy bumble around for the first time rolling anything. Watching an amateur do things wrong? Interesting. But to get into the meat of the matter, I have recently begun smoking tea (Tetley) with a few whole cloves mixed in and found it to be a nice, relaxing smoke that /must/ be doing something. I do feel relaxed and somewhat energized afterward. I must say that I am completely surprised by all this but I do suppose that it makes some sense. I think I’ll try out some of the better teas I normally procure to see where this leads. I enjoy the combustion of my goods but hate tobacco. Your fear to this end is understandable but please do not hold the dangerous bog of Big Tobacco cancer sticks with all things smoked, which is the easily made association.

    1. the burning of any organic (carbon containing) material, including tea leaves, produces known human carcinogens, these are found in the soot or particulate matter that condenses from ANY smoke, not just cigarettes. they are called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs, and most notable of them is benzoApyrene which is a class 1 human carcinogen. and when you light your ”goods” on fire and inhale them into your lungs, you are also inhaling thousands of other exact same chemicals found in cigarettes, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, acetaldehyde, acrolein, and hydrogen cyanide, among many others.

      1. does it leave a smell in your mouth. because i aint bout getting caught

        1. Yeah, it does leave a smell in your mouth.

          I smoke tea every weekend, about 4-5 joints, and it’s honestly an amazing feeling. Everything is relaxing, I even start losing my video games because I’m so chill.

          But I’d seriously recommend it to anyone who’s interested in smoking. Smoking really intrigued me, and I don’t want to get into weed, or tobacco (only tried the latter once). So tea was a great option for me, and so far I’ve tried smoking peppermint tea, raspberry tea, vanilla and honey tea, but I’d still say English Breakfast Tea is the best. It can be smooth, or harsh depending if you use rolling papers or some other kind of paper.

          It does leave a smell on you, though I wouldn’t say it smelled like pot. So, just take a shower or spray on some deodorant.

          Anyway, have fun with smoking tea 😛

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