Cannabis has received widespread acceptance as a potent medicine, and now raw cannabis is gaining popularity as a plant-based nutrient source.
The therapeutic and dietary benefits of eating raw cannabis can be traced back to thousands of years. However, in the present world, the powerful health benefits of consuming cannabis in its raw form is a recent phenomenon explored by researchers. This super plant is a uniquely therapeutic and dietary tool, and the mounting research evidence is proof of the same. This article will familiarize you with the nutritional properties of cannabis, the potential health benefits and downsides of eating raw cannabis, and the different ways you can include them in your diet.
Raw Cannabis and Nutrition
For many centuries, people have been using cannabis for its medicinal and recreational properties. Most research states the medicinal benefits of smoking or vaping marijuana or weed, but very few illustrate the therapeutic and dietary benefits of raw cannabis. There are so many ways to consume this plant, however, eating them raw is the newest trend these days. Raw cannabis is a plant-based superfood and thus a dietary essential that deserves a place among the staples of plant-based nutrient sources in our diet. Cannabis is dense with nutrients just like any dark green leafy vegetable, and it is about time that we consider cannabis as a plant-based superfood.
Typically, cannabis consumers are known to use dried and cured cannabis flower buds. However, the benefits of using cannabis raw as opposed to dried and cured cannot be emphasized enough. Ever since the legalization of cannabis in many countries, consumers are encouraged to access all parts of the plant including fan leaves, sugar leaves, raw buds, seeds, stem, stalks, etc. It’s time for kale and spinach to give up their thrones because this super plant contains a variety of essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, calcium, folate, and many antioxidants. Consuming raw weed may not appeal to everyone because of the bitter taste. However, it is open to all ages and groups as it does not result in intoxication. Read on to find out how eating raw cannabis can benefit you.
Eating Raw Cannabis: Eight Health Benefits
Many recent research experiments have come forward with the health benefits of eating raw cannabis. This type of consumption is certainly a better step towards health as this plant is loaded with essential nutrients, and also helps reduce the risks of many critical diseases. They also support our endocannabinoid system and are considered a superfood like other green leafy veggies such as kale, spinach, broccoli, etc. Here are eight reasons why you need to include raw cannabis in your diet:
- Raw cannabis is non-psychoactive- In other words, eating raw cannabis doesn’t get you high. Consuming the plant directly means the cannabinoids are in their acidic form (THCA and CBDA). Heating or cooking this plant will convert the cannabinoid to a non-acidic form which will induce a psychoactive or high state. Therefore, raw consumption is the best choice if you do not want to get high.
- Provides a plethora of essential nutrients- Cannabis plant is rich in nutrients such as vitamin B, Omega-3, and Omega-6 fatty acids, calcium, iron, minerals, etc. These nutrients help fight diseases such as depression, neurodegenerative diseases and help boost your immune system.
- They are natural antioxidants- Cannabinoids such as CBDA and THCA are very good antioxidants with neuroprotective properties. They prevent brain cell damage and reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular complications, and most significantly, lower the risk of certain cancers.
- They are high in Fibre- Ask any dietician and they will tell you how fiber is an integral part of a healthy diet. The cannabis plant contains fiber in abundance which will improve your immune system, prevent digestive disorders, and protect you from inflammatory illnesses.
- They have terpenes- Terpenes are chemical compounds found in a cannabis plant, aside from THCA and CBDA, that add flavor and aroma and also work as relaxants. These have calming properties and help relieve stress and anxiety. These benefits of terpenes can only be enjoyed when eaten raw. You lose around 50% of terpenes when you heat or smoke cannabis. Therefore, if you are after a good night’s sleep, consume cannabis raw.
- Raw cannabis holds chlorophyll pigments- This chemical component has loads of dietary benefits and can rejuvenate our body with its cleansing and detoxifying functions. When cannabis is dried or cured, most of the chlorophyll pigment is lost. Therefore, eating raw cannabis provides chlorophyll to our diet that aids fast healing, treats inflammation, and prevents DNA damage.
- They are high in anthocyanin- Anthocyanin is a nutrient element that gives a red, purple or even blue hue to superfoods. It is excellent for overall health and raw cannabis has plenty of anthocyanins. This nutrient-dense element also improves vision, immune system and promotes healthy heart conditions.
- Reduce or alleviate chronic pain- It is interesting to note that, pain relief functions of cannabis consumption are not limited to smoking or vaping the plant. Consuming them raw also alleviates pain and offers relief from excruciating pain. Cannabis juice is also known to aid people suffering from various ailments such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.
Potential Risks of Consuming Raw Cannabis
Consumption of any food in its natural form has its advantages and disadvantages. Likewise, eating raw cannabis also comes with an element of risk. To make the best result of consuming raw cannabis, you should eat fresh raw leaves, buds, and other parts of the plant. Nevertheless, consumers are prone to harmful bacteria called salmonella and E. coli found on raw leaves of this plant. As with most vegetation, growers use pesticides to kill such bacteria. However, the residue of such chemical pesticides on these plants can harm our health in a significant way.
Different Ways to Eat Raw Cannabis
There are many ways for you to enjoy all the health benefits cannabis has to offer in its natural form. To be classified as raw, the buds, leaves, and other parts should be untampered with. This means that these parts should also not be cooked, steamed, smoked, or dried. Despite the bitter taste, many people chew and swallow fresh leaves and buds as well. Like any other green leafy vegetable, many patients consume them in their whole form. Some consumers even cook or sauté these greens for better taste and texture. However, the high temperature might decarboxylate the CBDA and THCA into their non-acidic forms, which defeats the purpose of retaining the acidic forms of cannabinoids.
Here are some popular and easy methods of consumption as stated below:
- Use it as a salad ingredient- Greens are an integral part of any salad and cannabis leaves can also serve the same purpose. Chop it and add it to other veggies such as onions, olives, peppers, nuts, and other leafy greens along with your flavorful dressing, to make it even more delicious.
- Juicing- Extracting the juice from the fresh flowers and leaves is another popular way of consuming raw cannabis. Before juicing, soak the leaves in water for a few minutes to restore freshness as dried weed won’t work. The fresher the better are the leaves to reap maximum benefits out of juicing raw cannabis. Juicing also concentrates cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids; and excludes difficult-to-digest fiber as well.
- Make tasty smoothies- Raw cannabis can be bitter and blending them with other fruits and veggies might add flavor and taste.
- Hemp seeds, which are the seeds of the cannabis plant can be a healthy snack just like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
For thousands of years, people have been smoking the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. Eating different parts of cannabis in its natural form is also an ancient practice, however, it has gained popularity only recently. There is a sheer diversity in cannabis consumption and eating them raw has a whole load of benefits as well. From a nutritional perspective, the health and therapeutic benefits of eating raw cannabis are galore as the plant contains disease-fighting Phyto cannabinoid-derived acids that are unique to cannabis plants only. Therefore, if you are inclined towards improving your health and overall wellbeing, you should consider including raw cannabis in your daily diet. Seeking guidance from a cannabis’s expert or a registered nutritionist will help you gain maximum benefits from this plant-based nutritional source.