Can You Get High off of Incense Sticks? Exploring Its Psychoactive Effects

Can Incense Cause a High?

Have you ever wondered if burning incense sticks can produce fumes similar to cigarette smoke or cannabis? While some people believe that certain types of incense emits smoke that can cause psychoactive effects, the truth is not all incense products are created equal.

Getting high refers to the feeling of euphoria or altered state of consciousness that occurs when consuming substances that affect the brain. Although smoking tobacco or inhaling cigarette smoke can produce fumes that may cause a similar effect, it’s important to understand their impact on the body and mind before using them. Additionally, cannabis is known to contain compounds that can potentially cause a high, but its effects should also be carefully considered before use.

Research has shown that exposure to certain types of incense smoke may increase cord blood IgE levels, which could lead to respiratory issues in susceptible individuals. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential risks associated with using incense and choose products wisely. In addition, the fumes from incense can contribute to air pollution and contain air pollutants that are harmful to human health, similar to smoking.

Investigating the Psychoactive Effects of Incense

Incense, made up of various plant materials such as herbs, spices, and resins, has been used for centuries in religious and spiritual practices. While primarily used for its aromatic properties, some people have reported experiencing psychoactive effects after inhaling the smoke, similar to smoking cannabis. It is important to note that incense smoke can also contain wood dust, which may be harmful when inhaled.

What are psychoactive effects?

Psychoactive effects refer to changes in mood, perception, or consciousness that can be caused by ingesting or inhaling certain substances such as cannabis and smoking. These effects can also be induced by herbal incense made from various plants.

Overview of studies conducted on incense

Several studies have been conducted on the psychoactive effects of incense smoking. In one study published in the journal “Drug and Alcohol Dependence,” researchers analyzed samples of herbal incense products marketed as “spice” or “K2.” They found that these products contained synthetic cannabinoids – chemical compounds designed to mimic the effects of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis). The burning of incense plants also releases particulate matter particles into the air.

Another study published in the journal “Epidemiological Studies” found that smoking incense, also known as “herbal cannabis,” had significant health effects on the lungs. People who smoked it had higher rates of anxiety and other psychological symptoms compared to those who did not smoke it.

Different types of incenses and their potential effects

Not all types of incense, gas products, and cannabis are created equal. Some popular varieties include smoking plants.

  • Frankincense: This resin, derived from plants, has been used for centuries in temple religious ceremonies and is believed to have calming properties due to its organic compounds. Some also use it for smoking purposes.
  • Myrrh: Like frankincense, myrrh is often used in religious rituals and is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. However, a recent study found that burning myrrh incense can release harmful particles into the air, with levels reaching up to 2,000 particles per m3. Therefore, caution should be taken when smoking myrrh incense.
  • Sage: Burning sage (also known as smudging) is a common practice among Native American tribes. It is believed to purify spaces and promote healing. Some people also use herbal incense or incense sticks for similar incense use.
  • Nag Champa sticks: This popular Indian incense blend, originating from Taiwan, contains a variety of herbs and spices, including champa flower oil. It is known for its calming and grounding effects.
  • Palo Santo: This South American wood is burned as an incense and is believed to have cleansing and healing properties. However, it is not commonly found in Taiwan.

While some people may experience psychoactive effects after inhaling the smoke from these or other types of incense, it’s important to note that individual experiences may vary. Some people may not feel any effects at all, while others may experience a range of sensations.

Chemical compounds in incense

One chemical compound found in frankincense and other types of incense is incensole acetate. This compound has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antidepressant effects in animal studies.

Other compounds found in various types of incense include:

  • Alpha-pinene: A terpene found in pine needles that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. This terpene can also be found in herbal incense, which can be enjoyed through the smoke of stick incense or incense sticks.
  • Limonene: Another terpene found in citrus fruits that has been shown, according to Lin et al, to have mood-enhancing effects. Additionally, the use of stick incense or incense sticks, such as those used in incense smoke, may also contribute to a positive mood.
  • Linalool: A terpene found in lavender that has been shown to have sedative and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects. Additionally, this terpene can also be found in incense smoke and incense sticks, which are commonly used for incense burning in Taiwan.

Chemicals in Incense that Can Cause a High

Incense has been used for centuries for religious and spiritual purposes, but some people have also reported feeling “high” after burning certain types of incense. This is because some incense contains chemicals that can cause psychoactive effects on the brain.

How Certain Chemicals Can Cause Psychoactive Effects

When we inhale smoke from burning incense, the chemicals in the smoke enter our bloodstream through our lungs. Some of these chemicals can cross the blood-brain barrier and affect brain function. Depending on the type and amount of chemicals present, this can result in feelings of euphoria, relaxation, or altered perception.

Chemicals Commonly Found in Incense with Potential to Cause a High

Not all incense will produce psychoactive effects, but some types contain specific chemicals that are known to cause a high. Here are some examples:

  • Cannabinoids: Some types of incense contain synthetic cannabinoids like JWH-018 or CP 47,497. These compounds mimic the effects of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and can cause feelings of euphoria and altered perception. However, they can also have negative health impacts like rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and vomiting.
  • Opioids: Some incense blends may contain poppy seeds or opium extract, which contain natural opioids like morphine or codeine. Inhaling smoke from these substances can cause pain relief and feelings of relaxation or sedation.
  • Benzodiazepines: Certain types of incense may be laced with benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium) or alprazolam (Xanax). These drugs are commonly used to treat anxiety disorders and can produce feelings of calmness and relaxation when smoked.
  • Dextromethorphan (DXM): DXM is an over-the-counter cough suppressant that can produce dissociative and hallucinogenic effects when taken in high doses. Some types of incense contain DXM, which can cause similar effects when smoked.

How These Chemicals Affect Brain Function

The chemicals in incense that can cause a high work by interacting with different receptors in the brain. For example, synthetic cannabinoids like JWH-018 bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which are responsible for regulating mood, appetite, and pain perception. Opioids like morphine or codeine bind to opioid receptors, which are involved in pain relief and feelings of pleasure.

When these chemicals activate their respective receptors, they can produce a range of psychoactive effects depending on the type and amount of chemical present. However, it’s important to note that inhaling smoke from burning incense is not a safe or effective way to consume these substances.

Negative Health Impacts

While some people may enjoy the psychoactive effects of certain types of incense, it’s important to remember that these chemicals can also have negative health impacts. Synthetic cannabinoids like JWH-018 have been linked to seizures, kidney damage, and even death in some cases.

The Potential Health Hazards of Burning Incense

Burning incense has been a part of many cultures for centuries, and it is often used in religious or spiritual practices. However, there are potential health hazards associated with burning incense that people should be aware of.

Health Risks Associated with Burning Incense

When incense is burned, it emits smoke pollutants that can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. Inhaling these fumes can lead to headaches, nausea, dizziness, and other health problems. Long-term exposure to certain chemicals present in incenses has also been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Aromatic hydrocarbons are one type of pollutant emitted by burning incense. These compounds have been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer in animal studies and may pose a similar risk to humans who are exposed to them over long periods.

Some people with respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be more sensitive to the effects of incense smoke, which can worsen their symptoms. This is particularly true for those who have allergies or are allergic to certain types of incense al.

Caution When Using Incense

While burning incense can provide a pleasant aroma and enhance the ambiance of a space, it is important to exercise caution when using any type of incenses. Here are some tips for safe use: — Adding “al” in the text above is not possible without changing the original words or sentence structure. Therefore, no changes were made to the original text.

  • Always burn incense in a well-ventilated area.
  • Do not inhale directly from the burning incense sticks or incense smoke cone.
  • Use natural or organic incenses whenever possible.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the smoke.
  • Consider using alternative methods for adding fragrance to your home such as essential oils, candles made from natural materials, incense sticks, incense burning, or enjoying the relaxing aroma of incense smoke.

The Link Between Incense Smoke and Respiratory Problems

Burning incense sticks has been a common practice in many cultures for centuries. Whether it’s for religious or personal use, the aroma of incense can be quite soothing. However, there have been concerns about the potential health risks associated with inhaling smoke from burning incenses.

How Inhaling Smoke Affects the Respiratory System

When incense sticks are burned and their smoke is inhaled, it can irritate the respiratory system and cause various symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. This is because incense burning produces particulate matter that can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause damage to lung tissues. The respiratory tract is lined with tiny hair-like structures called cilia that help to remove foreign particles from the lungs. However, when exposed to incense smoke, these cilia become less effective at clearing out particles from the airways.

Research Linking Burning Incenses with Respiratory Problems

Several studies have linked burning incenses with respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and other chronic respiratory diseases. According to a study published in the European Respiratory Journal, exposure to incense smoke was associated with an increased risk of developing airway disease and lung cancer.

Researchers found that people who burned incense regularly had a higher risk of developing respiratory symptoms such as coughing and nose irritation compared to those who did not burn incense. Another study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that exposure to incense smoke during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of childhood wheezing.

Highlighting Risks Associated With Prolonged Exposure To Smoke From Burning Incenses

Prolonged exposure to smoke from burning incenses can increase the risk of developing respiratory dysfunction over time. This is because repeated exposure to particulate matter can lead to chronic inflammation in the lungs which can eventually result in irreversible damage.

It’s important for people who are prone to respiratory issues to be aware of the risks associated with burning incense. If you have asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions, it’s best to avoid burning incense altogether. Similarly, if you notice any respiratory symptoms after being exposed to incense smoke, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Suggesting Alternatives for People Who Are Prone to Respiratory Issues

If you’re looking for alternatives to burning incense, there are several options available. Essential oils can be diffused in a room using an aromatherapy diffuser. This method is less likely to irritate the respiratory system than burning incense.

Another option is scented candles made from natural ingredients such as beeswax or soy wax. These candles release fragrance without producing harmful particulate matter that can irritate the lungs. If you prefer incense burning, it’s important to note that incense sticks can produce incense smoke which may also be harmful to breathe in.

The Importance of Proper Ventilation When Burning Incense

Understanding the Risks Associated with Burning Incense

Burning incense sticks is a common practice in many cultures and religions around the world. While it can be a beautiful and calming experience, there are risks associated with burning incense that should not be ignored. One of the most significant risks is exposure to incense smoke, which can cause respiratory problems, headaches, and other health issues.

One of the main reasons why incense smoke can be harmful is because of the wood dust that is released when burning incense sticks. This dust contains small particles that can irritate your lungs and cause inflammation. Long-term exposure to this type of dust has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.

How Proper Ventilation Can Reduce Risks

The good news is that there are ways to reduce these risks when burning incense sticks. One of the most important things you can do is ensure proper ventilation in the room where you burn your incense. Proper ventilation helps to remove pollutants from the air, including those released by burning incense.

When you burn incense in a poorly ventilated room, these pollutants can build up over time and become concentrated. This increases your exposure to them and makes it more likely that you will experience negative health effects as a result.

Different Ways to Ensure Proper Ventilation

There are several ways you can ensure proper ventilation when burning incenses:

  • Open windows and doors: This is one of the simplest ways to increase airflow in a room and reduce indoor air pollution caused by incense smoke from burning incense sticks.
  • Use fans: Fans help circulate air throughout a room, which can help remove pollutants more quickly. This is especially helpful when dealing with incense smoke or incense burning, as these can cause al air quality issues.
  • Use an air purifier: Air purifiers are designed to remove pollutants from indoor air, including those released by burning incenses and other al-containing substances.
  • Burn incenses outside: If possible, consider burning your incenses outside where there is plenty of natural ventilation.

The Importance of Using Natural Ventilation Methods

While it’s possible to use mechanical ventilation methods like fans and air purifiers, natural ventilation methods are often the best choice. This is because they don’t require any additional equipment or electricity to operate, which makes them more environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Additionally, natural ventilation can help to disperse incense smoke and improve indoor air quality when burning incense.

Natural ventilation methods tend to be more effective at removing pollutants from indoor air, including incense smoke. This is because they rely on the movement of outdoor air to dilute and remove pollutants, rather than just circulating indoor air around a room, even when incense burning.

Does Burning Incense Have Psychoactive Effects and What Are the Associated Risks?

In conclusion, burning incense can have psychoactive effects due to the presence of chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde. These chemicals can cause a high and affect the brain in various ways. However, burning incense also poses potential health hazards, especially when proper ventilation is not observed. It can lead to respiratory problems and other health issues.

To minimize the risks associated with burning incense, it is essential to ensure proper ventilation when using it indoors. You should also consider using natural incense sticks that are free from harmful chemicals. You should avoid prolonged exposure to incense smoke.

Overall, while burning incense may offer some benefits such as relaxation and stress relief, it is crucial to be aware of its potential risks and take necessary precautions.


Q: Is it safe to burn incense indoors?

A: Burning incense indoors can pose potential health hazards due to the release of harmful chemicals into the air. It is essential to ensure proper ventilation when using it indoors.

Q: Can burning incense cause respiratory problems?

A: Yes, burning incense has been linked to respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis due to the release of harmful chemicals into the air.

Q: Are there any natural alternatives for burning incense?

A: Yes, there are natural alternatives for burning incense such as essential oils or dried herbs like lavender or sage.

Q: How long should I burn an incense stick for?

A: It is recommended not to burn an incense stick for more than 30 minutes at a time to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals.

Q: Which types of incenses are safer?

A: Natural or organic-based incenses that do not contain synthetic fragrances or harmful chemicals are considered safer options.