How to Make a Great-Tasting Cannabis Smoothie
Start with the buds, then bust out the juicer.
Katie Marsh doesn’t look like a stoner, but if you took away her cannabis smoothie, she’d probably clock you. Marsh began her morning ritual of juicing weed one year ago, four years after she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She tried ibuprofen, prednisone, and wheatgrass. But nothing eased her chronic pain.
A light went on when a friend suggested she try juicing marijuana. “It just struck me as something that might work because it’s very green,” the mother of two, who lives in Madawaska, Maine, tells Esquire. After meeting with cannabis researcher Dr. William Courtney in California, she bought a bag and started juicing it every day. “It wasn’t my goal to be high,” Marsh, 47, says matter-of-factly. “My goal was pain relief.”
Today Marsh’s disease is in remission, through experts say the verdict is out on whether it’s due to the juice. “The acidic form of THC in test tubes has some effect on enzymes involved in inflammation,” says David Casarett, M.D., whose book, Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana (Current), is out now. “In theory, there’s reason to think the acidic form has some effects.” Still, he admits there’s no definitive proof.
For those eager to try a cannabis shake, Rich shared a favorite recipe from her self-published book, Juicing Cannabis for Healing. — Jill Krasny
Katie Rich shares a smoothie recipe from her self-published book, Juicing Cannabis for Healing.
Incredible Benefits of Raw Cannabis + Juice Recipe
Discover the health benefits of raw cannabis flowers, buds, and leaves including the nutrition benefits of raw cannabis juice with an easy recipe showing you how to make your own cannabis juice at home so you can reap the nutritional health benefits of cannabis.
The Health Benefits of Raw Cannabis Juice
Move over celery juice, raw cannabis juice is here!
Raw cannabis nutrition is finally receiving the attention it deserves as a potent plant-based medicine, and now as a powerful nutrient source, and dare I say – the hottest new superfood to hit the market this decade.
William L Courtney, MD, the leading expert in raw cannabis, believes that cannabis arguably may be one of the most nutrient-dense plants to exist and that raw cannabis leaves and buds provide many of the nutrients believed to be vital for a healthy life (1).
In this article, you will learn about the health benefits of raw cannabis juice and how to make cannabis juice at home.
Benefits of Juicing Cannabis For Health
You may be familiar with either CBD hemp flower or traditional THC dominant dried, cured cannabis flower buds to smoke or make edibles with, but have you ever worked with raw cannabis?
As cannabis becomes legalized throughout the country, more and more people have access to raw cannabis in the form of living plants that produce fan leaves, sugar leaves, raw flower buds, fresh leaf trim, seeds, stems, stalks and more.
This increase in plant access gives us the opportunity to consider cannabis as not only a plant-based medicine, but also as a plant-based superfood.
Juicing Cannabis Leaves
As many home cannabis growers believe, when it comes to the cannabis plant, nothing should be wasted.
While some folks simply choose to discard their fan leaves, many growers prefer to use all parts of the plant to support their health.
Cannabis leaves do not produce cannabinoids quite like the mature female flower buds do, which is why many people feel they are useless or discard them.
While fan leaves contain little to no cannabinoids, they do contain important nutrients, antioxidants, and cannabinoid acids like THCA and CBDA, meaning they are not useless (2).
Because of this, large fan leaves or small sugar leaves are the most common parts of the cannabis plant used for oral consumption, although the raw cannabis flower buds can be juiced as well.
One of the best ways to harness these important nutrients is to consume cannabis leaves in raw form in a salad or to juice the cannabis leaves.
Additionally, if you get stuck with a male cannabis plant, stripping the leaves may be one of the only beneficial things you can do with the plant with it before discarding it.
Raw Cannabis Nutrition
The benefits of eating raw cannabis are incredible. Just like kale or celery, raw cannabis should be treated as a dark green, leafy vegetable superfood with the ability to act as a functional food.
Raw cannabis could be the ultimate functional food, as the definition of functional food is a food that has a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.
Nutritionally speaking, cannabis leaves, stems, stalks, and seeds can provide the body with almost all essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins, minerals, trace amounts of calcium, sodium, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
In addition to many nutritional benefits typically associated with dark-green leafy vegetables, the cannabis plant also contains unique phytocannabinoids that provide enormous contributions to our health maintenance and restoration.
It is even speculated that the raw version of cannabis activates the endocannabinoid system more effectively than does it is dried, cured, and combusted cannabis.
Raw Cannabis Terpenes
All plants contain volatile organic compounds or aromatic essential oils called terpenes.
Terpenes not only determine the aroma and taste of the plant material but also have their medicinal properties, including potent anti-inflammatory activity (3).
Different chemotypes, or strains, of cannabis, can have a distinctive composition and concentration of terpenoids.
Compared to traditional dried forms of cannabis, raw cannabis will retain most of its terpenes, lending to the potential health benefits of consuming raw cannabis.
Raw Cannabis Contains Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll, the most abundant found pigment in plants, is responsible for the bright green color associated with juiced greens such as kale, celery, and cannabis.
Chlorophyll has been studied for years for its role in health promotion.
With its structure similar to that of hemoglobin in the blood, chlorophyll has plenty of other benefits including preventing DNA damage, promoting detoxification within the body, treating inflammation, and possibly helping to prevent certain types of cancer (4).
Compared to traditionally dried and cured cannabis flower, raw cannabis leaves and flower buds retain the most chlorophyll.
Raw Cannabis Contains Cannabinoid Acids
Beyond acting as a dark-green leafy vegetable superfood, raw cannabis is also a functional food supplying important cannabinoid acids.
These very important chemical compounds are the precursors for every phytocannabinoid we love, including CBD and THC.
It is through the process of decarboxylation that CBDA is converted to CBD and THCA is converted to THC (6).
Cannabidolic Acid (CBDA)
Cannabidolic acid, also known as CBDA, is a cannabinoid acid found in raw cannabis plants.
CBDA is an inactive precursor for CBD, and CBDA is what produces CBD.
CBDA is non-intoxicating, meaning it will not make you feel ‘high’, and it has many potential therapeutic applications including anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and pain-relieving properties (6).
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)
THCA is the non-active form of THC, and because it is in a non-active form, THCA has no potential intoxicating activity, meaning it cannot get you high.
Research suggests that this chemical compound in its raw form is considered a plant-based superfood and has potential anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiemetic properties (6)!
Click here to learn more about the benefits of THCA
How to Consume Raw Cannabis + Safety Considerations
So how do we consume cannabis as a plant-based superfood you ask?
There are many ways to consume raw cannabis.
Just like any other green leafy vegetable, this plant can be incorporated into your daily diet by simply consuming it in its whole form in recipes such as smoothies, fresh cannabis pesto, or as a garnish to a dish in the way that any other fresh herb might be used.
There are a few precautions about safety and side effects that should be taken before consumption.
The first precaution would be to ensure that you are purchasing your raw cannabis from a reliable, reputable source, otherwise, you might risk ingesting unwanted pesticides, fungicides, and other harmful microbes.
Another precaution to juicing raw cannabis is the importance of cleaning the plant before consumption. Once the plant is in your kitchen ready to be used, the leaves should be soaked in a mixture of cold water and apple cider vinegar to help eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria.
Although this is a rare side effect, reports suggest that raw cannabis can be mildly irritating on the digestive tract.
Overall, juicing cannabis for health could be one of the best decisions you could possibly make for yourself.
How to Make Cannabis Juice
A popular method of consuming raw cannabis is to prepare a juice from the fresh leaves and flower buds of a mature cannabis plant.
This step involves harvesting the fan leaves from the plant. You want to ensure you are selecting the highest quality leaves, with no visible sign of damage. From there, ensure you trim off any long stems.
After harvesting and trimming, soak the leaves in a mixture of cold water and apple cider vinegar for 10-minutes in order to help eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria. After soaking, drain and pat dry the leaves.
You can choose to juice just straight cannabis leaves and nothing else, or you can choose to incorporate other nutritious ingredients. Raw cannabis juice alone is delicious, but it requires a LOT of leaves.
Depending on how many fresh leaves you have access to, you can decide whether or not you want to juice just cannabis leaves or additional leaves – like spinach and kale -as well.
Best Juicer for Cannabis
The best juicer for cannabis is a masticating juicer, this is the one we use and recommend. This is because the extraction gently crushes the plant, resulting in less spontaneous decarboxylation.
Traditional blenders and juicers have been attributed to causing too much heat or friction during the juicing process, and unknowingly decarboxylating CBDA and THCA into CBD and THC, respectively.
This may be beneficial or detrimental, depending on your desired outcome.
Discover the health benefits of raw cannabis, the nutrition benefits of raw cannabis juice, and an easy recipe to make cannabis juice at home.