How To Use Cannabis Roots

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Added 14 January 2021

How To Use Cannabis Roots

Although most cannabis cultivators throw away the roots of their plants, there are in fact some health benefits to keeping them for consumption. Cannabis does not only have to be grown for its flower or fiber, which is why we're here to discuss roots. This guide explains the uses of cannabis roots and how they can be safely prepared as tea, tincture, or topical products.

The History Of Cannabis Roots As A Medicine

For centuries cannabis roots have been consumed in some cultures for their potential medicinal and therapeutic properties. One of the first people to document research around the benefits of cannabis roots was named Pliny the Elder, a Romanian historian, who noted that a water extraction made from cannabis roots 'relaxes contractions in the joints and cures gout'.

By the 17th century, the potential of cannabis roots had been studied by various botanists and herbalists, including one German physician and botanist by the name of Leonhart Fuchs, who also claimed in 1542 that root extractions could be positive for treating gout. Later on, it was discovered that cannabis roots were also showing promising results for treating inflammation, as described by many other researchers.

Other studies have also indicated how cannabis roots can be used as an antioxidant, analgesic, and antipyretic or to remedy other physical pains such as inflammation or joint stiffness. Even though there is no real conclusive proof of this, there is indeed potential for cannabis roots.

The Benefits Of Consuming Cannabis Roots

The main beneficial properties of cannabis roots come in the form of alkaloids. There are a few active compounds that have been identified, some of which can also be found in Citrus plants, algae, or coal, amongst many others. Friedelin is the most prominent and in this study, has shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects, although the friedelin was not isolated from the cannabis plant itself, but from another plant.

Active compounds known to be present in cannabis roots:

  • Friedelin (Triterpenoid) - Anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, analgesic
  • Epifriedelanol (Triterpenoid)
  • Carvone (Monoterpene)
  • Dihydrocarvone (Monoterpene)
  • Cannabisativine (Alkaloid)
  • Anhydrocannabisativine (Alkaloid)
  • Sitosterol (Sterol)
  • Campesterol (Sterol)
  • Stigmasterol (Sterol)
  • N-(p-hydroxy-β-phenylethyl)-p-hydroxy-trans-cinnamamide (Sterol) - analgesic
  • Choline (Sterol) - can aid nerve function and development of the brain.

Alkaloids and other compounds found in cannabis roots

All of these compounds need further study as most of the research is based around extractions made from other plants that contain the same chemical compounds and therefore do not specifically come from cannabis. On top of this, the information currently available is still mostly only based on rats or mice. However, cannabis roots have definitely shown to have therapeutic potential.

There are miniscule amounts of cannabinoids in the roots; so little that users could not get high from consuming them.

Roots have shown to test at 0% THC. However, hexanoyl-CoA, a fatty chain of enzymes that precedes the formation of THC is also present.

In addition, CBD acids, or CBDA, have been discovered in the roots, although in very small quantities. CBD, as you may have heard, is being thoroughly studied and has been used effectively to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, increase appetite and treat seizures, amongst many others.

Preparing Cannabis Roots For Consumption

Hydroponic Roots Are Generally Cleaner

In order for roots to be good for consumption, it's important they come from a healthy plant that was either grown in clean, mineral-free soil, or in a hydroponic system. Dealing with roots that have been grown in soil can be a time-consuming process and it's much more likely they will have unwanted salts built up around them.

Hydroponic systems provide us easier access to the roots to keep them at optimum health. We can easily check if the roots are white and shiny, or an unhealthy brown and slimy.

Pestle And Mortar

After the plant has been harvested, the roots should be washed to get them completely clean. Removing them from the soil is best achieved when the growing medium is wet to avoid losing roots from them breaking away as you pull out the root ball. You can use a tool such as a hand trowel or spade. They can then be hung to dry in the dark for later processing.

Tip: The fresh root can also be pummelled using a pestle and mortar to extract the juices.

How To Use Cannabis Roots

In this section let's go over a couple of recipes that allow us to benefit from the cannabis root's properties.

The dose for cannabis roots is uncertain, so if you're planning to try it out, it is always recommended to start with small amounts to see how your body handles it.


Cannabis Tea

Once your cannabis roots are clean and dry, they can be ground into a powder and added to a pot of simmering water with any other ingredients you like (cinnamon, cloves, and anise are recommended). Leave to simmer for a few hours and strain. You can either consume the tea hot or cold.


Cannabis Tincture

To make a cannabis root tincture, add the dried roots to food-grade alcohol (like vodka) and leave for up to 1 year. Shake daily for the first month, then once per week after that. Once the tincture is ready it can be strained out into small dropper bottles for dosing.

You can also evaporate off the alcohol if you would prefer by simmering it in water. It is only necessary to take small doses of tinctures and a few drops multiple times a day for therapeutic purposes should be enough to start with.

Balms and Topicals

Cannabis Topicals

Similar to making tea, the roots can be ground into a powder, but for balms and topicals, the base should be an oil /fatty substance such as coconut oil. Add the ground roots to coconut oil in a double boiler setup and leave to simmer for up to 10 hours. Add more water to the lower saucepan when necessary.

Alternatively, you can add the water, coconut oil, and cannabis roots together in a single saucepan and let the water evaporate off through simmering, and add more if needed. You can also experiment by adding other healthy ingredients that are good for topical treatments. Once pasty, let it cool down, which will turn it solid. It is then fit for use as a balm or topical.

Tips For Using Cannabis Roots

Consider Seeking Professional Advice Before Consuming Cannabis Roots

It may seem a little odd to be saving the roots of your plants but it makes sense to get as much out of them as possible, seeing as you spent so much time, effort, and money growing them.

  • Careful with the dose and frequency as there are some compounds in cannabis roots that can be toxic for humans when consumed in larger quantities, and may not be handled well by the stomach.
  • Consult your doctor first if you are considering consuming cannabis roots.
  • Make sure the roots are clean and come from a reputable source, preferably your own plants.

Healthy soil roots by DarkOG from GrowDiaries.

If you found this article useful or have any tips regarding the use of cannabis roots, please feel free to leave a comment down below!

External References

Cannabis Roots: A Traditional Therapy with Future Potential for Treating Inflammation and Pain. - Natasha R. Ryz, David J. Remillard, Ethan B. Russo. (2017)

Detection and Quantification of Cannabinoids in Extracts of Cannabis sativa Roots Using LC-MS/MS. - Gul, Waseem & Gul, Shahbaz & Chandra, Suman & Lata, Hemant & Ibrahim, Elsayed & Elsohly, Mahmoud. (2018).

Chemical constituents of Cannabis sativa L. root. - Slatkin DJ, Doorenbos NJ, Harris LS, Masoud AN, Quimby MW, Schiff PL Jr. (1971).

Isolation of Cannabisativine, an Alkaloid, from Cannabis sativa L. Root. Journal of pharmaceutical sciences. - Turner, Carlton & Hsu, Mei-Feng & Knapp, Joseph & Schiff, Paul & Slatkin, David. (1976).

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

This article was updated April 2021.


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Danger! Roots can accumulate heavy metals! Something you dont want in your body. Test the soil.