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is catnip related to weed

Is catnip related to weed

Q. Why do cats like catnip? A.The active substance of catnip, Nepeta cataria, is a chemical called nepetalactone that sets off in the cat’s brain the behavioral patterns usually connected with a variety of pleasurable or exciting things, according to research by Dr. Benjamin L. Hart, an animal behavior expert at the University of California at Davis.

”The playing, hunting, feeding or sex neurocircuits are randomly triggered, in no particular order,” said Dr. Hart, who is a professor of physiology and behavior at the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Lactones are chemicals present in certain body substances, like sweat, he said. They are oil soluble and carry chemical messages within the body.

Cats under the influence of catnip may engage in activities related to the sexual response, such as rubbing and rolling; the playlike response, such as leaf chasing, batting and tossing, and hunting or feeding behavior.

For example, Dr. Hart said, ”they will grab catnip and give it a killing bite, or hold it with the front paw and scrape it with the back paws,” like a cat with its prey.

About 50 percent of adult domestic cats are affected by catnip, and the sensitivity is hereditary.

”We determined that it was smelling of the substance that caused the reaction, not ingestion,” he said. ”Exactly what it does to the brain, we have no idea.” He said scientists were also still trying to find out why only members of the cat family are sensitive to catnip.

”Catnip is in fact related to marijuana, and some people might get a little high when they smoke catnip, but marijuana gives no pleasure to cats,” he said. ”In fact it makes them sick, so people can smoke catnip, but cats can’t smoke marijuana.”

Is catnip related to weed Q. Why do cats like catnip? A.The active substance of catnip, Nepeta cataria, is a chemical called nepetalactone that sets off in the cat’s brain the behavioral patterns

Can You Smoke Catnip?

Ahhhh, catnip — the feline’s answer to pot. You can’t help but be tempted to get in on the fun when your floofy friend is high on this pungent herb. Looks like a good time, right?

Technically, you can smoke catnip, but you won’t get a psychoactive effect. Still, the herb, a member of the mint family, is thought to have benefits for humans.

But there are other methods of consumption that’ll help you reap these benefits without harming your lungs.

Catnip has long been used in traditional medicine to relieve numerous ailments. It’s thought to have several potential health benefits. Its effects appear to depend on how you consume it and your dose.

It calms and sedates

You may be surprised to learn that catnip is mostly used by humans for its calming and sedative effects. This is a far cry from the spazzed-out effect many cats seem to enjoy.

It’s hard to say how effective it is as a sedative, though. Aside from anecdotal evidence and a couple of outdated animal studies, there isn’t much to go on in the research world around humans and catnip.

Catnip does contain a compound called nepetalactone, however, which has properties similar to valerian, a popular herbal sedative.

The compound may promote relaxation, which is why people may use catnip to help manage:

  • anxiety
  • restlessness
  • insomnia

It may relieve headaches

The calming effect of catnip has also been thought to help relieve headaches, according to older reports .

There’s no clinical data to support the use of catnip as a headache remedy for humans. Plus, headaches are actually one of the reported side effects of catnip.

Still, some people swear by catnip tea to help relieve their headaches.

It can treat certain types of infection

Catnip poultices made from the dried leaves and flowers of the plant are a folk remedy for toothaches that people still use today. Tea made from the herb has also been used for centuries to relieve toothaches.

It turns out that those people were onto something!

Extracts of catnip have been reported to have antibacterial and antifungal properties that stop the growth and adhesion of certain types of bacteria.

There’s also evidence that catnip’s antimicrobial properties could effectively treat and prevent oral infections.

It’s an aphrodisiac — sort of

Catnip was once believed to have aphrodisiac properties. Now, this hasn’t been proven in humans, but an older animal study had some interesting results.

Rats were fed chow enriched with catnip leaves, which resulted in increased penile erections and improved sexual behaviors. So, there’s that.

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for.

Yes, you can smoke catnip. There are older reports that catnip was once used in place of cannabis or as filler in weed since it produced similar effects, like making you feel happy and slightly buzzed.

For a while, people would even buy catnip-infused cat toys to get their hands on the herb.

Catnip is known for its intoxicating effects in cats, but does it work the same way in humans?