There is a new superfood making the rounds these days, and it's a surprising one. Raw cannabis is making its way into our juicers at home, and onto juice bar menus in the upscale neighbourhoods of California. Lifestyle blogs are talking about it, influencers are posting about it - and it’s a trend we can get behind.
Wheatgrass and kale are chock full of nutrients - but cannabis is full of raw cannabinoids. Well beyond the nutrients of leafy green vegetables, it contains compounds you can't get from more conventional ways of consuming cannabis. The raw cannabinoids found in fresh cannabis leaves offer a superfood, medicinal boost to your already nutrient-dense juice.
If you've never considered the benefits of juicing, let alone juicing cannabis, let's go over the basics. What can a glass full of juice do for your diet, and what can a few raw cannabinoids do for your overall health, that a conventional smoke or vape can't?
For many, juicing makes increasing your fruit and veggie consumption easy. Fresh juice is a super-portable, super-delicious, and practical method of getting all those fruits and vegetables our diets so desperately need. Fresh foods is where our standard North American diet is lacking and juice is a sure-fire way to up your fruit and veg consumption.
Are all the claims about juicing true? Does a juice cleanse help you rid your body from toxins? Can it help you fight chronic disease or lose weight? In all honesty, many of these claims are unsupported. But that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with a juice cleanse every few months. A cleanse is about eating clean, and there is no better way to do so than by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake through a juicing routine.
Juicing serves up nutrients in a way that a salad cannot. As an example, you can't take a salad on the road for your morning commute, but you can take a freshly made juice. If we look at the numbers, one cup of carrot juice contains over 900 percent of your daily dose of Vitamin A. A cup of chopped carrot contains 50 percent less. In our humble opinion, we'd take the carrot juice over the bored chopped carrot any day.
Leafy greens like kale, collards, and herbs are packed with nutrients we often forget. But what about that other leafy green you love so much - cannabis? If you have access to fresh cannabis leaves (whether from your home grow or friend's), raw cannabis is a value-added superfood worth adding into morning juice routine.
Juicing cannabis, instead of smoking, vaping, or baking the plant could have additional health benefits beyond the ones we know and love. Cannabinoids, in their raw form, might have health benefits you don’t see from other leafy vegetables, or even from cannabis in its traditional dried format.
This is because of four special acidic cannabinoids, which disappear after drying, and after smoking, vaping, or baking. The four are CBDa, THCa, CBCa, and CGBa. The ‘a’ indicates it’s a non-intoxicating, raw cannabinoid. They are thought to have similar impact on inflammation, pain, and more - all without the high.
Cannabis juice is packed full of raw cannabinoids, whose benefits are slightly different than those we expect from our traditional medicinal products. According to a leading advocate of raw cannabis, Dr. William Courtney, MD., unlike smoked or vaped methods of consumption, juiced cannabis isn't meant for acute treatment.
As Courtney explains, the benefits of juiced cannabis could "...take three days to be appreciated. Others build for weeks. The full clinical benefit may take four to eight weeks to take effect. It takes that long for plant (phyto) cannabinoids to fully saturate the body's adipose (fat) tissue. Phytocannabinoids are stored in the adipose tissue, as are the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K."
He goes on to point out in a piece published on Alternet that "The main psychoactive compound in dried, aged cannabis is delta-9 THC, is absent in the raw, fresh leaf. In general, patients do not experience a 'high' from consuming the raw product." For many of us, juicing is more therapeutically useful because of its lack of intoxicating effects. A morning cannabis juice has few similarities to a morning “wake and bake”.
Before drying and curing take place, fresh cannabis contains THCa and CBDa among many other raw cannabinoids. These are the precursors to THC and CBD and are also thought to have unique medicinal applications of their own. For example, THCa is under investigation for its anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and possible anti-tumor properties. These are all in the early stages of research development. Juicing takes advantage of these raw cannabinoids, which are often destroyed by drying, curing, and exposing cannabis to heat (a process called decarboxylation).
Most juicers, like Hamilton Beach and Breville varieties, use centrifugal force to extract the liquids from the solids. Centrifugal force is what happens as an object is spun around at high speeds. As the juicer spins the fruit through the center of the appliance, it puts enough force on the fruit to extract the juicers. While efficient for fruits and vegetables (carrots, apples, cucumbers, etc.) you'll likely see less-than-desirable results from leafy greens, including cannabis.
A few tips for getting the most from cannabis leaves (and other leafy greens):
We admit there is a lot of buzz about the benefits of juicing, and now, the benefits of juicing with cannabis. That said, we are willing to bet the trend is here to stay. Cannabis leaves will become just another green-juice superfood right alongside a trusty shot of wheatgrass. There is an added therapeutic value to be squeezed from a few fresh leaves of cannabis in our juice routine. Why not take advantage of those fresh fan leaves from your home-grow, and add them into your next green monster?