Looking at your favorite plant leaves, those oh-so-familiar jagged marijuana leaves, what comes to mind? Smoking? Vaping? Putting those tasty trichomes into edibles? Dabbing, even?
How about juicing?
“Say what?!” you might be thinking out loud.
Yes, we said “juicing.” Turning fresh marijuana leaves, un-decarboxylated and free of pesticides and herbicides into your next morning pre-workout energizer smoothie has become a thing—enough for sites like Medical Jane to take notice. Given the capabilities of antioxidants to fight cancer, premature aging and other issues, you might easily think that cannabis is truly a sacred herb for battling all manner of “ill health demons.” And yes, you can cue up Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” music if you want.
More Than Just ‘Wake and Bake’
Here’s a key point about juicing marijuana leaves: it’s less about the high and more about the healing and preventative medicine aspect. Believe it or not, cannabis leaves as well as the untreated, un-decarboxylated buds are edible, and are vitamin-and-mineral-rich, much like spinach, kale or any dark green leafy veg suitable for munching.
Set aside, for just a moment, the perception of marijuana as a drug, or even purely as an alternative to Big Pharma’s bad-side-effect-laden offerings, and check out this inspiring quote, one that might please the scientific types reading this:
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”–Hippocrates
Yes, we’re referring to that Hippocrates, the one who gave us all the first major medical oath of “do no harm.” He would absolutely go bat-guano-crazy in a good way over the current juicing phenomenon overall, let alone the notion of juicing something so delightfully controversial—and healthy—as cannabis.
The deceptive messages of the FDA and Big Pharma, such as convincing the general public that lab-created medicines to treat symptoms are more effective than preventing bad health with healthy food, would also be anathema to the good Greek doctor.
And he would definitely think of cannabis as food, especially if he could see, chemically, the health benefits of THCA and CBDA, let alone the potential fiber, iron, and antioxidants that exist in the leaves.
Now, you might be thinking, “Uh, dude, what is that ‘A’ doing at the end of the THC and CBD?” Excellent question, and here’s the brief answer:
THCA = Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid
CBDA = Cannabidiolic Acid
These are the chemical compounds present in cannabis that has not been decarboxylated, or heated. THCA and CBDA cannot get you high, but they still have the same healing benefits such as anti-nausea, pain relief, anti-anxiety, etc.
You Can’t Have Your Marijuana Leaves And Eat It, Too
You might be the sort of person to roll your eyes at the raw food enthusiasts out there, thinking that they’re all a bunch of super-fringe weirdos who belong to some bizarre, veggie-worshipping cult, since their diets are usually vegan, if not simply straight-up vegetarian. You might be the sort who’d rather go Paleo, with the permissions that particular diet gives you to eat red meat, albeit grass-fed red meat.
But believe it or not, the raw foodists and vegan types out there do have proven food science on their side. Many vegetables have nutrients that are immediately bioavailable when raw, and they lose their distinctive benefits when cooked. Think of how disgusting overcooked carrots or broccoli look and taste and you’ll understand what we mean.
The same thing happens to cannabis. The iron, and other minerals and vitamins present in un-heated leaves and buds are essentially destroyed when you heat-process your weed.
More Cannabis Chemistry Fun
For all you wannabe wizards and mad scientists out there, these fun chemistry facts will fascinate you:
- You can consume more cannabinoids when you juice up your weed. The human body can absorb up to1000 mg of the cannabinoids THCA and CBDA. Again, you won’t get high with the THCA, but you’ll still get the helpful effects of the vitamins and minerals. The FDA, interestingly enough, has thrown marijuana research a bone (albeit somewhat grudgingly, we think), and approved a tolerable dosage of 600 mg for testing purposes.
- Less is more. For those who don’t know, THC’s official chemical name is Delta-9 tetrahydrocannibinol. Yes, it’s a mouthful, but put the following knowledge in your joint and smoke it: the human body can only tolerate 10 mg of THC at a time. Why such a small amount when it’s possible to consume THCA in much larger amounts, such as in a bit of post-workout protein smoothie fun? Something about the way heat shakes the “A” loose from the end of “THC” brings the intensity of the THC to the foreground, and this intensity is felt once the THC acts on the body’s CB1 receptors.
The Power of Cannabis Compels You!
If you’ve already experienced the high associated with THC and you want to switch to the other edge of the marijuana leaves, it might be easiest if you grow your own, as most dispensaries usually just sell weed for the usual manner of consumption, and in addition to de-carbing their harvest, unless you can find suppliers who use organic growing methods, most weed farmers use harmful pesticides and herbicides. Major “ick” factor, right there.
Also, there’s an advantage to growing your own weed for juicing purposes: you’re not solely reliant on the crap-shoot that is potentially finding seeds among the bud you get from a dispensary. You can get seeds of precisely the strain you want directly from a seed provider, which also means you can shop around for those seeds that come from organically grown plants.
When juicing, keep in mind that, like many dark green veggies, cannabis leaves can be a bit bitter, so it’s best to mix your cannabis with other fruits and veggies. Carrot juice is a popular choice, and there are recipes that include antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries, cherries, and strawberries. If using carrot juice as a flavor balancer, the suggested ratio is 1 part cannabis to 10 parts carrot juice, and then mix in whatever other fruit and veg you want.
The positive evidence for using cannabinoids in their more potent forms—THC and CBD— to expand one’s mental perceptions as well as help with various ailments is obvious enough, but the health benefits of raw, juicy, antioxidant goodness for “exorcising” illness are just as, if not more clear. Either way, the power of cannabis—in smoke or food form–truly compels you.