Dear Nurse Susan,
I have heard of raw cannabis as “the superfood of superfoods.” What does that mean, and would it be good to include raw cannabis in my diet?
Dear Health Seeker,
I’m so glad you are interested in the benefits of raw cannabis! But first, let’s tackle a common concern about medical cannabis: Will it make me “high?” The answer is: It depends.
When cannabis is in its raw form, meaning fresh plant material or cold-pressed plant material, it is NOT psychoactive because there is little or no THC (the cannabinoid that can make you high). In the raw form of cannabis, the cannabinoids are in their acidic state, i.e. THCA, CBDA, which are not psychoactive. When you apply heat, such as drying it, smoking, vaping, cooking, or sunlight, the acid molecule flies off, (called decarboxylation) and THCA converts to THC, which IS psychoactive, and CBDA converts to CBD, which is not psychoactive. So as long as cannabis is in its raw form, there is no psychoactivity.
It’s important to mention that some juicers generate enough heat to convert THCA to THC, so you get the most value out of using the plant material in a blender with chilled liquids like full fat, grass-fed dairy, soy, almond or coconut milk. As is the case with other “superfoods”, taking it with higher fat content foods increases the bioavailability. Add about 15 leaves and one or two buds (approx. 20 grams) to your favorite smoothie recipe. Also, you can simply add washed leaves to a salad or pesto!
Now that we know that raw cannabis is not psychoactive, let’s talk about the nutritional value of the plant. Raw cannabis is extremely nutrient rich, an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids (Omega 3&6), and protein. Raw cannabis is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and neuroprotectant.
THCA protects against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It’s effective for auto-immune disease, epilepsy, insomnia, pain, tremors and muscle spasms. CBDA is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and it relieves nausea and vomiting.
The raw plant is also chock-full of terpenes (essential oils), which give the plant its aroma and which have therapeutic effects as well. For example, linalool (aka lavender) exerts a sedative, relaxing effect.
Eating raw cannabis allows a person to consume a much higher dose of cannabinoids and terpenes, without psychoactivity. Since dried cannabis is psychoactive, most people can comfortably consume about 5-20 grams, depending on what they are used to. Raw cannabis is like a vegetable – you can consume as much as you want without any psychoactivity and plenty of cannabinoids. Research shows that 15-20 large fan leaves and a couple of buds per day, which is equal to 500-1000 mg of THCA is the recommended daily amount. It’s a great way to treat and prevent chronic diseases. It can be consumed in the form of smoothies, salads, juice, etc. You can get more details about the science related to raw cannabis at these links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgEP9FdIzT8 and https://www.marijuanadoctors.com/blog/medical-marijuana/benefits-of-consuming-rawcannabis.
Obviously, when you decide to eat raw cannabis, you can’t just go to the market and pick some up for breakfast! I’m not going to get into growing cannabis today, but for those of you with a green thumb, in legal states you can grow a specified number of plants for personal use. This is no different than for many who are already growing your own fresh herbs like basil, thyme, etc. If you’re already growing and regularly trim your plants, put that trim to good use!
If you want some starter plants to grow, or to purchase plants for your raw cannabis use, do some research regarding local dispensaries or growers. Not all dispensaries carry plants so you may have to make a few calls. Find someone who knows the difference between use for raw consumption rather than growing for recreational use to get the strains best suited for your purpose. Ideally, any plants you buy are organic and have been grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
I hope this inspires all of you “Health Seekers” out there to learn more about the wonderful benefits of raw cannabis and how you can add it to your diet!
Here’s my favorite cannabis smoothie recipe. I use more vegetable and less fruit so it’s great for keeping balanced blood sugar….and of course it keeps it “green”!
- 1 Serving Vanilla Protein Powder
- Large handful of Spinach
- 1/4 Avocado
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 tbsp. flax or chia seed
- Lemon juice (1/2 small lemon)
- 1 persian cucumber
- 2 cups unsweetened soy or nutmilk
- ½ cup blueberries or strawberries (or your favorite fruit!)
- MCT or coconut oil
- A generous pinch of powdered turmeric
- 15-20 raw cannabis leaves and 1-2 raw buds