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Wednesday September 13, 2017

By Morgan Smith


This is a health trend we can get on board with. Raw cannabis is quickly gaining traction for its nutritional and dietary benefits. Although cannabis in its raw form is fresh, unheated and uncured and therefore non-psychoactive, using raw cannabis in juices, smoothies and salads can be an incredible superfood.

But what exactly is raw cannabis? Raw cannabis is fresh and has a higher concentration of cannabinoids. When picked from plants that are already flowering, raw leaves and buds are undried and unheated. The cannabis that you may be more familiar with is typically harvested, trimmed, dried and cured—going through serious chemical changes to produce a psychoactive effect.

Health Benefits of Raw Cannabis

Just consider the fact that cannabis has more than 420 chemical compounds. As we mentioned, smoking, vaping or cooking cannabis alters the chemical state of cannabinoid acids but when you consume them raw, your body converts cannabinoids into necessary nutrients. The most common cannabinoid acids found in raw cannabis are THCa and CBDa (when heated, these become THC and CBD as we know it), which provide effective anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and pain relief properties.

Our body can only do so much, which is why we must rely on other dietary sources for key nutrients. Raw cannabis can help! It has the ideal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids, which promotes healthy brains, prevents neurogenerative disease and balances our endocannabinoid system. Similar to fatty acids, we also have to get essential amino acids via our diet.

Hemp seeds contain the biggest concentration of amino acids, which help with cell function and repair.

Like many other leafy greens, cannabis is rich in fiber which helps to keep digestion in check. It’s also packed with nutrients like iron, calcium, Vitamin C and folate. These vitamins and minerals work to prevent cancer and serve as antioxidants to protect the body from a host of potentially damaging situations.

And we can’t forget about those terpenes. They play a big role too. They’re actually even more present in raw cannabis than in cured buds and can provide a number of health benefits, depending on which ones are in the plant’s chemical makeup.

Ways to Consume Raw Cannabis

If you’re going to use raw cannabis, you’ll likely use fan leaves as well. These large, primary leaves are where photosynthesis occurs and how the cannabis plant receives energy.

Fan leaves and a bowl of seeds may not be very tasty alone, but added to a meal they can be delicious and nutritious! photo credit

You can take a look at a plant’s fan leaves to determine its health and if it’s undergoing any stress or infestations. But for cannabis consumption purposes, fan leaves can be used alongside raw cannabis.

Now that you know the facts, how can you incorporate raw cannabis in your diet?

  1. Juice it! Juicing cannabis is by far one of the most popular methods to consume raw marijuana. There are quite a few recipes out there that use uncured flower or fan leaves. Remember, the fresher the better
  2. Make a salad. We don’t suggest using raw cannabis as your entire salad base, but consider tossing few leaves in with other greens and veggies for a delicious and nutritious lunch
  3. Blend up a smoothie. Pair raw cannabis with blueberries or watermelon for a refreshing afternoon snack. It will dilute the bitter taste of the weed, too
  4. Use as an herb substitute. Forget the parsley and cilantro, use cannabis instead! It’ll add that little kick of flavor that you need to soups, oatmeal or veggies with the extra benefits you want
  5. Tea time. Dry fan leaves and use them in tea. It’s an easy way to enjoy a plant’s resin and cannabinoids. If you want a psychoactive experience, heat dried fan leaves in coconut oil instead of water

Incorporate raw cannabis into your diet as little or as much as you want. Just know that there are a plethora of nutritional and therapeutic benefits associated with it. Using raw cannabis in smoothies and teas may be the best way to consume cannabis therapeutically, so try including it in your treatment regimen to see the results for yourself.

What are some ways you incorporate raw cannabis into your diet?


Morgan Smith Morgan Smith

A born and raised Hoosier and Indiana University alumna, Morgan Smith is a freelance writer and editor based in the Denver area. Morgan has worked with B2B, nonprofit and regional publications, but especially enjoys learning and educating others about the inner-workings of the cannabis industry. Her freelance writing supported her recent six-month solo backpacking trip to South America where she climbed volcanoes, played with llamas and jumped off a bridge.

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