Damiana vs. Marijuana: Which One Gets a Pothead Higher?

There's a huge chunk of the country that looks at California and tearfully asks, "Why not us? Why can't they legalize marijuana in our state?"

Since the mid '70s, Big Tobacco has been planning for the widespread legalization of pot. Those evil barons already have all the different brand names, packaging, and accessories just ready and waiting to hit truck stops across the entire U.S. of A. Until legalization, though, where does that leave us, the everyday pot smokers who love to get high, but who are deathly scared of the cops and way too lazy to move to Cali?

The answer: We get damiana (turnera diffusa), an herb laced with synthetic cannaboids. It's a legal lab-developed pot alternative. But is it any good?

A shrub native to South and Central America, smoking undoctored damiana is supposed to give the user a mild pot-like buzz. It affects the nervous system and it's said to help with anxiety and nervousness. Add some fancy chemicals (cannabicyclohexanol, JWH-018, JWH-073, or HU-210) and that tiny high explodes into an intense trip through the cosmos. Or so the skeezy marketers say.

Right now, all over the state, people are going into cigar shops and gas stations, asking for best sellers like Black Mamba, K2, Blaze, and the newest one, King Krypto. (BTW who names this shit?) When Cultist spoke with a Fort Myers cigar shop owner named Larry, he just said: "We can't seem to keep enough in stock. People from age 18 to 68 come in asking about it and continue to come in for more." His store, Cigarettes and Things, carries all varieties of damiana, selling the stuff for supercheap.

Anyway, Cultist was jonesing to get stoned, so we decided to take matters into our own hands and conduct a little experiment. Here is the set-up: Two test subjects belonging to the habitual toker demographic were recruited to smoke a joint of K2 and then a marijuana joint. After each burning sesh, the subjects were forced to complete a battery of tests -- solving math problems and mazes, hitting tomatoes with a baseball bat, jumping rope, and playing video games -- which will evaluate motor skills, overall alertness, and hand-eye coordination.

See the video below for documentation of the aforementioned experiment:

Results: As you can see from the footage, the test subject aced every test while high off damiana. As for marijuana, he morphed into the stereotypical pot-smoking C- student, who bungled the math questions, couldn't find his way out of the maze, and adamantly refused to jump rope. Curiously, his videogame playing improved exponentially while under the influence of weed.

Basically, damiana will give you the littlest buzz. So for adults who haven't smoked a bowl in years and just need to take the edge off, it might be a wise substitute for pot.

For everyone else, damiana equals shitty weed.

-- Yakov Israel

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Miami New Times staff