Next time you smell the heady aroma of marijuana in the, air, don't be so sure it is the real thing. It might just be passionflower.
The passionflower vine (Passiflora incarnata) not only smells like grass when burned but its dried, strained leaves produce a legal, mild marijuana-like high for a short time when smoked.
This yellow-flowering perennial, originally found in the West Indies and the southern United States, now grows throughout the world. In some areas it is smoked for pleasure, while in others it has been used as a tobacco substitute by people trying to kick nicotine addiction.
Passionflower can also be brewed as a tea. The recipe calls for 1/2 ounce of leave per pint of boiled water. Rather than producing a high, the tea causes the user to feel tranquil and sedated. Some women find the tea gives them relief from tension produced by the menstrual cycle.
The active ingredients of the passionflower vine are harmine and a group of related alkaloids. Since these alkaloids are MAO inhibitors, users should not combine passionflower with tranquilizers, amphetamines, antihistamines, alcohol, avocados, ripe bananas, broad beans (pods), excessive caffeine, canned figs, chicken liver, sedatives, mescaline, nutmeg, aged cheeses, any quantity of milk products, cocoa, excessive amounts of chocolate, pickled herring, yeast extract, narcotics, sauerkraut, ephedrine, macromerine, and oils of parsley, or wild fennel. if you have made the mistake of combining any of these with passionflower, powerful headache and/or vomiting will indicate that something is wrong. In such instances, hospital treatment should be sought promptly