Is it possible to make natural menthol cigarettes by grafting plants?

in light of the real tomacco plant inspired by The Simpsons, i got to thinking… people say menthol cigarettes are more harmful than non-menthol because of something about how the filter is different. would it be possible to make natural menthol cigarettes by grafting a tobacco and a mint plant? has anyone ever tried to?

It might be possible to do this by grafting. Nicotine is produced mainly in the root, while, if I’m reading this correctly, menthol is synthesized in the leaves.

Tobacco[SOLANACEAE] and mint[LABIATAE] are not in the same family, so you may have to go to gene-splicing.

and tobacco and tomato are?

Yup, along with potatos, peppers, and deadly mightshade.


How does grafting actually work, and what is the process?

Grafting is a horticultural technique primarily intended to grow plants which prefer one type of soil or soil conditions in an area that normally would be inhospitable. In grafting, one selects a plant with a fairly close relationship to the desired crop plant, with a root stock well-suited to the soil conditions. Shoots of the crop plant are then spliced onto the root stock, using a variety of techniques.

Here is a good, in-depth article on the subject.

That is indeed a good article. I had just read about its use in spreading apple trees in Guns, Germs, and Steel but the technique wasn’t described and though the context sort of implied what the activity was (as did the meaning of the word itself!) I wasn’t clear on the process. Thanks.

Q.E.D’s link describes procedures for trees, but the cleft grafting procedure also works on many non-woody herbs. The most commonly described example on the internet is the grafting of Hops plants onto Marijuana root stock. Several sites provide excellent step by step instructions for performing this graft, but Cecil would probably frown if I supplied a link to the procedure.

Why do you say that? Now, the opposite procedure, I could understand him taking exception with, but it’s not as though Canabis Sativa L. root stock will grow hops plants you can get high from.

That is not necessarily true (although it may be in the case of this particular stock/scion graft) - there are pairs of plants that, when grafted, produce a plant which displays a combination of the characterstics of both stock and scion - they are called Chimaeras or Graft Hybrids (something of a misnomer, as there is no genetic combination going on) - the classic example of this is Laburnocytisus Adamii, but others also exist.

Yes, I know. I was referring to the specific graft pair mentioned here. In this case, the active chemicals are produced primarily in the buds, and little or none in the root stock. Otherwise, I think pot growers would have already discovered this method of disguising their crops. :wink:

I first ran across that particular graft in the early 70’s. Believe me when I say that pot growers are aware of it as a method of disguising their crop. Or, if you prefer, do a bit of googling on the topic.

This is a really difficult subject to research, due to the amount of inane babble out there, but I found a few people saying that the active chemicals are produced in the roots and that they migrate to the buds, becoming concentrated there - they weren’t particularly reputable sources though, so I’m going to keep looking…

I have been. As Mangetout noted above, the signal-to-noise ratio on this topic is extremely low, due to its very nature. I’ll keep looking, but I’m afraid my head’s going to explode trying to process all the contradictory information out there. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, there’s this:

But it doesn’t say where in the plant the precursors are made (see next page), which could be very important to the outcome of a graft. People did get high off the hybrid, but then hops is also a bit of a euphoric, and Oregano works for some people too.
I doubt that anyone’s done the actual research needed to untangle what, if anything, goes on in the leaves of grafted hops plants.

I suspect that may be about as close to the truth of the matter as we’re going to get. Thanks.

Wonder if I can get a research grant? :wink: