It’s more usual to think of green tea as something we drink. In recent years, smoking green tea has also become popular.

Green tea cigarettes gained favor in Vietnam decades ago. It’s also been a recent trend in America.

The green tea plant (Camellia sinensis) — also the source of oolong, black, and white teahas many health benefits.

In tea form, it’s been consumed for health and ritualistic purposes for thousands of years. Many other types of tea plants have also been smoked for spiritual and health uses throughout history.

People smoke green tea for these reasons and more, such as to help quit tobacco cigarette addiction.

However, studies on these benefits, risks, and safety of smoking green tea are lacking.

The health benefits of drinking tea are supported by science.

There’s no research on the health benefits of smoking tea, however. Its beneficial compounds could possibly be absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream through the lungs. But smoking, or inhaling anything burning, is unhealthy.

Regardless, people who smoke green tea report certain health benefits.

Lowered anxiety

Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid. Studies show this compound has anxiety-lowering effects by interacting with neurotransmitter receptors.

Drinking green tea or taking extract is the most research-supported way to experience this effect.

Smoking green tea could have similar effect. Some people who smoke it report this. However, more studies are needed to prove if L-theanine can be absorbed through smoking.

Some may claim green tea gives you a marijuana-like high. No studies or science support this.

Cognitive enhancement

L-theanine may have mild cognitive-enhancing effects. This means it may help improve memory, focus, learning abilities, and overall mental function.

Studies show this may have to do with the combination of L-theanine and caffeine. However, these studies have only tested this with green tea beverage or extract.

There are currently no studies that prove cognitive enhancement from smoking green tea, and if L-theanine can be absorbed that way. Drinking green tea is recommended as a better way to take in the health benefits.

Better metabolism

Green tea is a popular supplement for boosting metabolism, burning fat, and promoting weight loss.

Studies support this, especially with use of extract rich in catechins, green tea’s powerful antioxidants. However, there are no studies showing antioxidant benefits can be experienced by smoking it.

Healthier cigarette replacement

Some people turn to green tea cigarettes to help quit smoking.

It could replace the habit while taking away tobacco’s addictive substance, nicotine. It’s also argued that it’s healthier.

Yet there are no studies proving it’s healthier, or testing smoking tea’s benefits on cigarette addiction or quitting. Smoking tea is also not considered a reliable, safe, or approved addiction treatment.

Breathing any smoke into your lungs is irritating and causes damage to the tissue.

Energy boost from caffeine

Some people may smoke green tea simply for its energetic caffeine lift. It’s known that smoking other caffeinated ingredients (like coffee) can successfully caffeinate you.

However, this can increase caffeine overdose risk. Smoking may absorb these compounds more quickly than digesting them.

Symptoms of caffeine overdose include nausea, dizziness, and anxiety, but they are rarely life-threatening.

Keep in mind: Smoking anything — tea, tobacco, or other — has serious health hazards. This is true because you are burning and breathing in carbon.

The dangers include increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease, among others. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should avoid smoking completely.

Smoking tea cannot be considered as healthy as drinking green tea. In fact, the health hazards most likely outweigh the benefits.

Green tea is better consumed as a beverage than as smoke. Taking green tea extract is likely more effective and much safer, too.

For one, all studies on benefits and safety of green tea are based on trials using tea or supplement extract. None tested its benefits or safety as smoke.

It’s also unknown if green tea’s compounds — L-theanine, catechins, and more — are properly absorbed when smoked. More research is needed.

Smoking green tea is not proven to be as effective as drinking green tea or taking extract for health. What’s more, smoking has clear health risks, no matter what you smoke. Smoking green tea likely is not at all healthy, though more research is needed.

However, caffeine may be absorbed more quickly by smoking it. Smoking green tea could caffeinate you more quickly, though there are no studies proving this.

You can purchase pre-fabricated, manufactured green tea cigarettes from stores or online. You can also buy loose-leaf green tea to roll your own cigarettes with rolling papers.

Green tea cigarettes don’t contain nicotine. Some are flavored with menthol, while others are not.

Keep in mind that green tea cigarettes (or teas) are not regulated by the FDA for safety and dosage. Before purchasing green tea cigarettes or teas to smoke, make sure you are sourcing from a reliable, well-reputed company.

Some companies may claim that their products help you quit smoking. Keep in mind that there are still no studies to support this.

Green tea beverage is legal to buy and consume. There are no regulations on the herb as an illegal drug or substance. It can be consumed legally in any way a person would like, including publicly.

Green tea can also be legally purchased as a smoking blend or pre-fabricated cigarette. You can also purchase green tea for drinking purposes and smoke it instead, if desired.

Laws that apply to smoking areas, secondhand smoke, and smoking in enclosed areas most likely apply to smoking green tea. If you can’t smoke tobacco cigarettes in certain areas, you won’t be able to smoke green tea cigarettes there, either.

Green tea may be smoked in a handful of different ways.

In addition to purchasing pre-made cigarettes or rolling loose-leaf tea, green tea bags may also be purchased, the loose-leaf tea removed (while dry), and then rolled into a cigarette with rolling papers.

Both loose-leaf and bagged tea can also be smoked in a pipe or water pipe.

People can legally smoke green tea. They may do it for health benefits, to help quit smoking, or to get a caffeine boost. However, the science is either unclear or completely lacking whether any of these are effective.

The safety of smoking green tea is unclear, too. It’s established that smoking anything is bad for health. To experience the very best from green tea, research suggests it’s better to drink it or take extract rather than smoke it.