Eating Raw Cannabis – How Good Is That?
If you’ve ever wondered whether you can get high from eating raw marijuana, the quick answer is no. To get the full psychoactive effects of marijuana, the plant matter needs to be decarboxylated.
But some people believe that there are other benefits that you can get from eating raw marijuana.
However, the cannabinoid found in fresh marijuana is not the same as the one found in your bloodstream after consumption. Cannabinoids go through a few molecular changes before reaching their full potential in our bodies.
Before processing, the cannabinoids in cannabis are typically in an acid form. For example, raw cannabis will have significantly higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) than it will of THC. Once smoked, or baked, this THCA cannabinoid turns into its more familiar cousin, THC.
After consumption, THC goes through one more transformation from THC into THC-COOH. Thanks to our liver, when metabolized, THC converts into a -COOH metabolite. This metabolite is responsible for many of the known medicinal benefits of cannabis. The THC-COOH metabolites, much to the dismay of anyone cleansing for a drug test, are stored in fat cells for up to 30 days. Over time they slowly release, and our bodies experience the therapeutic benefits.
There are no active psychoactive cannabinoids in raw weed, and therefore no ‘experience’ to report. The only reason people eat raw weed is for the possible health benefits. People just don’t eat raw marijuana to get high.
There are a number of ways people have started in incorporate raw weed into their diet. The most common methods are simply adding a handful of leaves into a smoothie, or processing them through a juicer. Understandably, unless you grow your own stash, it’s hard to come by fresh marijuana leaves. You’ll need to know someone who grows to get your hands on some. Plus, you’ll likely have to wait until the harvest is ready. Access to fresh leaves is challenging.
If you can find fresh cannabis, a word of caution is in order. Raw leaves can be pretty hard on your digestive tract, just like trying to process other dark leafy veggies. Like kale, chard and other deep green vegetables, its difficult for your digestive enzymes to properly break down the valuable nutrients. Take it easy when you start, allow your gastrointestinal system to work up to it.
If your goal isn’t to get high, there are many health benefits that you can get from eating raw marijuana.
Many non-psychoactive cannabinoids that are normally lost at high temperatures have health benefits such as anti-tumour effects.
A 2012 study found that for some people seeking the therapeutic effects of marijuana, raw cannabis may even be a better option for people that experience unpleasant side effects from activated marijuana.
THCA has many of its own benefits. There is scientific evidence that it can help boost immune function and that it even has anti-inflammatory effects.
Some people also believe that by not heating marijuana, you can preserve many desirable terpenes and flavonoids, which also have many of their own health benefits. This is similar to how some people believe raw fruits and vegetables are healthier than their cooked counterparts.
Like many other leafy greens, cannabis is chock-full of fibre, protein, fatty acids, and iron. It can also give you a nice daily dose of vitamin C for immune function, vitamin K for calcium absorption, calcium for strong bones, and folate for DNA repair. Do you happen to have any purple-leaved cannabis? If so, make sure to add that to your diet as well! It contains anthocyanin flavonoids, which function as antioxidants.
Non-psychoactive hemp seeds also have a lot of health benefits that have been backed up by scientific study.
For example, hemp seeds have been found to help reduce high blood pressure. They are also high in protein, healthy fats like omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
It’s important to remember that you need to use leaves and buds from live cannabis plants when eating it raw. Dried, cured buds will not work for raw cannabis consumption.
- Smoothie: It’s a good idea to mix some leaves/buds with other fruits and veggies to dilute the bitter taste of the weed.
- Juicing: The fresher the cannabis, the better the juice.
- Salad: Chop up some leaves and mix with other greens and some dressing for a delicious and healthy salad.
- Hemp Seeds: If you have access to hemp seeds, these can be consumed just like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or any other kind of seeds you enjoy snacking on.
- Cold-pressed hemp seed oil: Use as an olive oil substitute.
If you do want to try this, make sure to start with a small amount in case it upsets your stomach.