Marijuana Nutrition Facts: The Basics
It is no secret that cannabis possesses some incredibly beneficial properties. For thousands of years, the plant has been used to treat a whole host of conditions that affect both physical and mental health. With hardly any dangerous side effects, it has become a go-to option for a lot of patients across the world.
With more states across the U.S. allowing cannabis to be consumed legally, there has been more focus placed upon the nutritional benefits of the flower as a whole. But how nutritionally dense is cannabis?
In this article, we are going to be taking a look at the nutritional facts behind the world’s most controversial plant. Is marijuana a superfood? Or should we be skeptical about how healthy the plant is?
It is common knowledge that the human body requires a certain level of nutrients to survive and be healthy. As a nation, we are regularly encouraged to eat well, exercise and lead a balanced and varied life.
But what is a nutrient, and why are they so vital for us? According to one source, a nutrient is something that “provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life.” So with this in mind, cannabis perhaps may not be the first thing to pop into your head!
From leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale to vibrant berries, nuts, and seeds – we are told to consume certain foods to reap the most nutritional benefits.
While in an ideal world everybody would be able to enjoy all the beneficial nutrients on offer, realistically this is very unlikely. For this reason, the most highly recommended nutrients have been broken down into two categories: essential nutrients and nonessential nutrients.
Essential nutrients are things that the body cannot make and that you must consume through diet. This includes certain vitamins, minerals, and the building blocks for carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Non-essential nutrients are things that you could consume through the diet but that aren’t necessary, because your body can use the essential nutrients to make them.
Cannabis and Essential Nutrients
There is a wide variety of essential nutrients, so it may be difficult to imagine that one plant could possess even a quarter of them! Surprisingly, however, the marijuana plant packs a punch when it comes to nutritional information making it arguably one of the most nutrient dense plants to exist.
Yes, that’s right, cannabis can do a lot more than get you high! Marijuana offers a plethora of benefits which can vary depending on the type of marijuana you consume and your method of consumption. And obviously, to obtain these nutrients, you need to ingest the plant—smoking doesn’t work. Let’s take a brief look at the facts:
- Complete Protein
- High in Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
- Rich source of fiber
- Essential oils
- Insoluble fiber
- Vitamins E, C, B1, B3, B6
- Essential fatty acids.
Cannabis as a Superfood
Looking at the facts around marijuana, it seems pretty hard to argue against the clear evidence that it provides many of the nutrients believed to be vital for a healthy life. So as a dark leafy green that is 100% natural, should we start looking towards cannabis in the same way we look at kale, spinach and all of the other popular ‘superfoods’ that have taken the world by storm? (Keep in mind that, in order to obtain nutritionally significant amount of these nutrients, we may have to eat cannabis in comparable quantities to how we eat these other vegetables.)
While it has not yet been determined the exact nutritional profile of cannabis, we have a clear picture of how nutritionally dense it is just by looking at the seeds, let alone the rest of the plant. So how can we begin incorporating cannabis into our day-to-day lives as a superfood?
There are now plenty of ways to consume cannabis, both in its raw form and in its activated form, and both may offer a variety of beneficial nutrients. Let’s take a look at how the nutritional profile of cannabis can change when consumed in different ways:
While it may be the oldest and most traditional way of consuming marijuana, smoking has become somewhat dated now as so many new and exciting ways of consuming marijuana have emerged. But what about the nutritional benefits when it comes to smoking cannabis?
Smoking is never going to be the healthiest option. It’s probably also one of the least effective ways to reap the nutritional benefits of marijuana, because our bodies are primarily meant to process vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients with the intestines, not with the lungs.
The body is meant to process nutrients with the intestines, so eating marijuana is the best way to take advantage of its nutrient profile and ensure you are absorbing everything it has to offer.
Of course, the level of nutritional benefits that come with marijuana edibles relies heavily on the other ingredients that are involved as well. Many manufacturers tend to use sugary and often unhealthy ingredients to enhance the taste of an edible, which of course may add unnecessary calories, and compromise the nutritional benefits of the product.
It would, in this case, be recommended to use the healthier edibles, as there are more and more of these now being brought to the market as people become more health conscious.
Raw cannabis is the latest trend hitting the cannabis industry, and it looks like it may be here to stay! With new research showing that cannabis in its raw form can provide a wealth of nutrients that are lost once cannabis is heated up, more people are opting for a raw cannabis diet!
Not only does raw cannabis provide some fantastic nutritional benefits, but it won’t get you high, which is a massive bonus for those patients who don’t want any psychoactive effects. Raw cannabis is the plant in its inactive state, meaning that THC is still in its acidic inactive state as THCA.
This complete food source is becoming a go-to option for a nutritionally dense cannabis experience, with no high, and no extra ingredients, just 100% natural cannabis plant.
Final Thoughts: Cannabis Nutrition Facts
So what do we think? When it comes to cannabis as a nutritionally beneficial plant, the facts speak for themselves! I suppose the question is why has it taken so long for the world to realize just how much this plant can do?
With so much negative attention being placed on the psychoactive aspects of weed, the real power behind the plant is being lost. Forget your ten different kinds of supplements; you can get some of what you need from cannabis!
In this article, we are going to be taking a look at the nutritional facts behind the world’s most controversial plant. Is marijuana a Superfood?
Can You Eat Cannabis? Exploring the Nutritional Value of Marijuana
Wednesday July 19, 2017
A s the second-most nutrient-dense food (second only to soy), consuming cannabis can be part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, too. Of course, some methods of consumption allow more nutrients to be absorbed than others, but before we get into that, let’s look at what nutrition is and why it’s so important for a healthy body.
The Importance of Healthy Nutrition
A balanced diet is important for more than a slim waist-line; maintaining balanced nutrition can help people fight off and recover from illness, reduce depression, delay the effects of aging, improve energy levels, and even live longer!
Though the body produces some of its own nutrients, there are some it cannot produce thus requiring that we get it from an outside source (food). The most common of these are:
An important part of proper brain functioning, carbs come primarily from foods like bread, pastas, starchy vegetables, and whole grains
Comprised of nine to 20 amino acids and aiding in the establishment and repair of body tissue, protein can be found in meats, dairy, beans and eggs.
Vitamins help provide structure to blood, bones and ligaments, and can be acquired from many sources including fruits and veggies, supplements or even the sun!
Minerals help maintain appropriate water levels both inside and outside of cells, and maintain proper bone density, as well. Common minerals that must be consumed through diet include calcium, sodium and potassium.
The Nutritional Value of Cannabis
Though the most nutrient-dense part of the cannabis plant is its seeds (packing in high levels of calcium, fiber, fatty acids and 16 grams of protein in every 50 gram serving), the entire plant – leaves, stems, and roots – contain nutrition your body can benefit from. Leaves are an excellent source of fiber, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and also contain polyphenols which are well known anti-oxidants that help protect the body from aging.
Though the stems contain high levels of fiber (suggesting they may be used as fiber supplement), their tough, woody texture and insoluble nature makes them undesirable to eat. The roots, which have been used topically as medicine for centuries, have yet to be analyzed by nutritionists.
Ways to Reap the Nutritional Benefits of Cannabis
Juicing is by far the best way to reap the nutritional value of cannabis. By juicing, not only does the consumer benefit from the nutrients listed above, they also consume a concentrated dose of powerful cannabinoids, too – without getting high! That’s because the psychoactive cannabinoid THC is not produced until its non-psychoactive precursor, THCa, is decarboxylated. In other words, a shot of fresh cannabis juice can deliver a huge amount of nutrition without ever causing a high.
For those who want the high, of course, another option is to consume cannabis-infused edibles. Though some of the nutritional content will naturally burn away during the cooking process, much of that may be dependent on the method of cooking. For example, foods that are cooked quickly under high heat tend to retain their nutritional value better than those that are cooked low and slow, but the opposite is unfortunately true of their cannabinoid profile; high temps burn off cannabinoids but retain their nutrition better.
The big question on our minds while writing this piece has been whether nutrients can be absorbed via inhalation.
There isn’t really a lot of debate on the matter; most people believe that nutrients must be absorbed through the digestive tract – the mouth, stomach, large and small intestines – since that’s literally what the whole system is designed to do.
Though it’s impossible to say for certain at this point, some trends suggest that inhaling nutrients may be another possible route to the bloodstream. For example, vaping alcohol has become popular because it gets people drunk without the calories. But research suggests that calories do get absorbed into the bloodstream via inhalation (albeit at a lesser extent) suggesting that some other vitamins and minerals may be able to, as well. Vape companies have also been selling caffeine – and vitamin-infused vape products which seem to work along those same lines.
The bottom line? Cannabis is a vegetable and vegetables are good for your health, but the method of consumption plays a big role in how readily available these various nutrients are to the body.
Do you think cannabis should contribute to a daily vegetable intake? What about smoking it? We’d love to know your thoughts.
Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.
Have you ever chomped down on a few nugs of cannabis? Learn about the nutrition behind eating cannabis and ways it can improve your lifestyle.