Can’t Grow Cannabis? These Legal Plants Are A Lot Like Weed
While any seasoned THC enthusiast knows there is nothing quite like cannabis, there are some legal plants with surprising similarities. Some are alike in look, smell, and texture, while others have almost identical chemical components.
As cannabis is a natural healer, it should come as no surprise that many of these legal plants can be used to make medicine. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about getting hassled by the cops. Before you try your hand at growing weed, check out these unlikely doppelgängers.
Cannabis and mint are closely related, but you may not want to grow them together. Mint likes to hog the soil and often doesn’t play well with other plants. It is an invasive species, after all.
With that said, some people have managed to successfully grow cannabis plants and mint plants alongside each other. If you try this, keep an eye on things and be sure the mint doesn’t crowd out the weed.
Much like cannabis, mint has a “weed-like” growth pattern. It grows into a bushy structure with tons of leafy branches that eventually send out buds.
Also like cannabis, mint plants are extremely fragrant. Some varieties of mint grow fuzzy leaves, a lot like the resin-heavy hairs and crystally trichomes that cover cannabis plants.
19. Mexican Chaste Trees
Walk past a Mexican chaste tree, and you may do a double take. Their leaves look a lot like cannabis leaves.
The main difference, though, is that while cannabis leaves are jagged, Mexican chaste trees produce leaves that are smooth. But they both have that distinctive cannabis-leaf shape.
Mexican chaste trees, like cannabis, also have some medicinal properties. When used properly, the tree can be used as a natural hormone balancer.
That’s about as far as the similarities go. And although the two plants might look very similar, do not try smoking anything from the Mexican chaste tree.
18. Sunn Hemp
Although it’s often referred to as hemp, this plant is not part of the cannabis family.
Tall and very cannabis-like in appearance, sunn hemp definitely deserves a place on our list of legal plants that are similar to weed.
Commonly known as brown hemp, Indian hemp, and Madras hemp, this plant is native to tropical Asia.
With flowers that are long, yellow, and beautiful, it is a natural source of fiber. It’s used to create a variety of textiles, and may even have applications as a bio-fuel.
17. Electric Daisy
While this plant does not look like a weed plant, electric daisies are a good example of legal plants that are surprisingly similar to cannabis.have a lot of chemical properties that are surprisingly similar to cannabis.
That’s primarily because these plants have a lot of chemical properties that are closely related to chemicals produced by the cannabis plant.
Electric daisies contain a variety of cannabinoids that work on the body’s endocannabinoid system. In particular, cannabinoids from this plant work on the CBD2 receptors in your body.
When that happens, it helps ease pain and reduce inflammation. In fact, electric daisies can be made into a powerful painkilling gel, making the electric daisy a natural ally of dentists everywhere.
16. Spider Flowers
Spider flowers, or more formally “cleomes,” are one of the legal plants most similar to cannabis.
For starters, spider flower plants produce leaves that look almost identical to cannabis leaves. They grow in that tell-tale star formation, and they’re slightly jagged.
Similarly, spider flowers tend to grow fairly tall. Mature plants are often the same general height and shape as mature cannabis plants.
And to top it all off, spider flowers also have a very strong odor. They don’t necessarily smell like weed, but these legal plants have a strong, pungent, and earthy odor that helps keep pests at bay.
This New Zealand plant contains a large amount of a cannabinoid called perrottetinenic acid. Scientists first discovered this cannabinoid in 2002.
Much like THC, it’s a cannabinoid that acts on the CB1 receptors, which are part of the larger endocannabinoid system.
The presence of cannabinoids means that liverwort can be used for medical purposes. So far, people have found ways to use the plant to treat a variety of illnesses, from bronchitis to bladder issues.
Unfortunately, this plant will not get you high. Apparently, people have tried smoking it before, and they didn’t experience any effects.
One of the world’s favorite treats, chocolate also contains compounds that interact with the endocannabinoid system.
It’s no wonder that eating a bunch of it can make you feel as relaxed and happy as smoking a bowl. Chocolate is one of the everyday things in day-to-day life that is most similar to cannabis.
It’s not quite as potent as weed, though studies show raw cocoa can act as a muscle relaxant and improve overall cognitive functioning.
Our furry friends go crazy over this stuff! While we humans can’t get high from it, catnip contains oils that act on a cat’s body in much the same way that cannabis acts on our bodies.
Simply put, the plant produces chemicals that trigger certain receptors in a cat’s brain. This is what makes them visibly happy, playful, mellow, or even a little goofy. And, like THC does to humans, it can make cats act a bit confused.
Native to eastern North America, this pretty plant is not a fern at all. It’s a deciduous shrub, and it looks and smells a lot like weed.
It is probably most well known for its strong odor. But it also has a number of uses. Indigenous people used it as an anti-itch agent, a medical inhalant, and to repel mosquitoes.
Fun fact: Sweetfern is edible and can be used to add unique earthy flavors to foods when cooking.
11. Skunk Cabbage
This big, prominent plant looks and smells a whole lot like weed. Unusual as it is stinky, it typically grows in swampy wetlands, and is used in gardens to ward off insects, squirrels, and raccoons.
If you live in a place that does not allow you to grow cannabis, but you still want to give your garden a little weed-themed makeover, try growing some skunk cabbage. Legal plants like skunk cabbage will give your garden a pleasant, weedy smell.
10. Flax Seeds
Since CBD is one of the most important cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, this is a key similarity between the two plants.
Unlike THC, which is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, CBD won’t get you high. Instead, the chemical has a number of medicinal qualities. It is regularly used to treat pain, inflammation, and other health conditions.
9. Cranberry Hibiscus
If you happened to be colorblind (and bad at spotting cannabis plants), you might mistake the pink and burgundy blooms of cranberry hibiscus for weed.
Both plants produce leaves that create a star-like formation, and that have jagged edges. The key difference is obviously the color.
This ornamental plant is very popular in Florida. If you are looking for an interesting way to honor cannabis, but you’re only able to grow legal plants, add a cranberry hibiscus to your yard or garden.
Right before it blooms, kenaf plants produce leaves that look a lot like cannabis leaves. If you walked past a kenaf plant and didn’t know any better, you might assume you’d stumbled on a wild patch of cannabis.
Unfortunately, though, this plant will not get you high. But it does share some similarities with hemp strains of cannabis.
Kenaf is harvested around the world for its fiber. It can be used to make rope, twine, and even paper.
And for one final similarity, consider the plant’s scientific designation. Its Latin name is Hibiscus cannabinus.
Yes, tomatoes are a fruit and wildly different than cannabis, but they grow in similar conditions.
Tomatoes are a sub-tropical plant. They like the temperature to be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit before they’re planted, and grow best in temps between 60-85 degrees.
Cannabis, also a sub-tropical plant, grows at its best when the soil is at least 50 degrees before planting. Both plants love and do well in rich soil.
6. Moss Phlox
Any conversation about legal plants that are similar to cannabis cannot fail to mention moss phlox.
These common evergreen creepers bloom pink in the spring, and you’d never mistake them for cannabis at a glance.
But it’s a very different story if all you did was smell the plant. That’s because moss phlox smells remarkably similar to cannabis.
But believe it or not, a U.K. couple found themselves in trouble with the law after their garden gave off a powerful and familiar smell.
Even local teens would come and ask them if they were growing weed. It turns out it was just the moss phlox growing in their backyard.
5. White Sage
Most people burn white sage for its amazing smell and mind-clearing energy. Like cannabis, however, it’s a plant that you can smoke!
The “high” it provides is reportedly relaxing, though the smoke is hard on your throat unless you use a bong.
This Mediterranean silvery-green herb can be found throughout central Europe and the United States.
4. Blue Lotus
Blue lotus is another example of legal plants that are incredibly similar to cannabis, especially because this is a smokable plant.
When dried, the flowers of a blue lotus plant can be made into a tea or smoked for a blissful state of relaxation.
Blue lotus is a natural sedative, meaning it might just put you to sleep if you have enough of it. It’s also used to reduce anxiety and stress, just like cannabis.
Damiana is a shrub native to southern Texas, central Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.
This smokable herb has a zesty, lemon taste and will leave your lips and tongue tingling. You can also drink it in tequila form. Historically, it was used to build stamina and heal sexual problems.
Not only does this plant look a bit like weed, it is a literal weed. Considered invasive and bad to have growing in your gardens, you can get rid of bindii by mowing the grass or using herbicide.
The plant is native to South America but can now be found all over the world. It contains teeny tiny sharp needle seeds and looks a bit like parsley.
These gorgeous flowering shrubs come in a variety of pretty colors. While they look nothing like weed, they have a “dank” smell to them.
Azaleas bloom in the springtime and have been bred for hundreds of years. So if you ever walk into a garden and smell that familiar scent of cannabis, check to make sure you’re not really sniffing azaleas.