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The Benefits Of Raw Cannabis

Created by
JoshuaHolt JoshuaHolt
Added 13 January 2021

What Is Raw Cannabis

Like many other plants, fruits or vegetables, cannabis can provide us with plenty of nutrition, particularly in its raw form. Although most people consume their cannabis after it has been activated by heat, there are some reasons why a user may want to avoid that process altogether. This article discusses how raw cannabis can be a healthy, nutrient-rich source of food so you can start experiencing the benefits for yourself.

What Is Raw Cannabis?

Raw Cannabis Flower

'Raw cannabis' describes the flower before it has been heated (decarboxylated) or processed in any way. It could be argued that dried cannabis is not raw in the same way that fresh cannabis is, but it still classifies somewhat.

In raw form, cannabis buds do not actually contain much THC and therefore do not have the same effect when consumed orally. Heat must be applied for THCA compounds in the trichomes to be converted into activated THC, the cannabinoid that gives users the experience of being 'high'.

As cannabis dries and begins to degrade, some of the THCA naturally changes into THC, so it IS possible to get high from eating raw cannabis. The effects would just be stronger if the weed has been decarboxylated beforehand. If the buds or leaves are completely fresh, then they may be less potent, but more flavourful for consumption depending on the recipe.

The same goes for CBDA, which converts to CBD through decarboxylating the cannabis. In their natural state, the cannabinoids are in acid form. The compounds also benefit from a fat to bind to in order to be more easily absorbed by the body. This is why edibles are often prepared using a fatty substance such as butter or oil, as the THC and CBD molecules can bind with it seamlessly.

THCA Extract

However, for the edible to remain in its raw form, the cannabinoids can be extracted using cold pressing to make oil, or by simply adding the fresh cannabis directly into your favourite recipes that do not involve heat, such as a healthy green smoothie.

Cooking cannabis leaves by TheGourmetWeed from GrowDiaries.

The health benefits of raw cannabis change when the buds are processed, as cannabinoids are sensitive to both heat and light.

Is Raw Cannabis Safe?

Is Eating Raw Cannabis Safe?

Consuming raw cannabis is generally safe, however the dose must also be considered as you don't want to upset your stomach or end up getting too high accidentally. Much of it depends whether you're consuming THC or CBD flowers, or both. A chopped sprinkle over your favourite salad is unlikely to do any harm, but start with low amounts first to see how you like it and whether it agrees with your system.

 

Eating cannabis, whether it has been cooked or not, can be considered one of the healthier ways of consuming it as we are not burning it or putting anything other than oxygen into our lungs.

Cannabis Smoking

Burning cannabis results in a number of harmful chemicals and many users prefer other methods of consumption because they remove some of the negative side effects associated with smoking.

There is also generally an uncertainty when it comes to knowing exactly how much of each cannabinoid, terpene and flavonoid you are consuming. Most of the time this information is not available through the supplier, although advancements in the industry are now allowing for deeper analysis of the compounds contained in cannabis.

The Benefits Of Raw Cannabis

Raw Cannabis Foods

Hemp is the most widely used cannabis variety for making oils designed for oral consumption because it contains almost no THC and some CBD but provides all the nutritional benefits.

Cannabinoids

Many of the chemical compounds in the cannabis flower we still know very little about, but there have been over 100 different cannabinoids discovered to be present. THC and CBD are evidently the most discussed and studied, and have proven to be very beneficial in the lives of many, both recreationally and medicinally. As restrictions and laws are relaxed across the world, more and more research is being conducted.

Raw cannabinoids do not have an intoxicating effect on the body unless they have been activated by heat beforehand, but what are the advantages of consuming THCA and CBDA in their raw state?

THCA and CBDA cannot interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors unless they are broken down into a neutral state (activated THC and CBD), however, it has been shown the these acids can communicate with the endocannabinoid system by altering its functions. This involves inhibiting or releasing certain neurotransmissions being sent to our brain and other organs.

These changes have indicated THCA and CBDA may help to reduce inflammation, improve the immune system, and give effective pain relief.

Tip: It's worth noting that cannabinoids begin to change chemically as the plant is harvested and starts to lose moisture.

Terpenes

Terpene Extracts

One of the advantages of consuming raw cannabis is the benefits received from the terpenes. There are many types found in cannabis and the amount of each depends on the strain and how it has been grown. Terpenes are responsible for the cannabis plant's unique aroma but also have some interesting effects when consumed, especially as an extract.

Different terpenes are known to have different medicinal properties and can produce effective antioxidant, antifungal and anti-inflammatory results. 

Terpenes And Benefits

Terpenes and therapeutic benefits:

  • Myrcene - Very common terpene found in cannabis with a fragrant aroma with an earth or musky hint. It can be found in hops, mangoes, thyme and others.
    Potential benefits: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, sedative, antimutagenic, reduces chronic pain.
  • Pinene - Another prominent terpene produced by many strains of cannabis. Pinene produces smells similar to pine and is also present in pine trees, basil, rosemary and orange peel.
    Potential benefits: Increased alertness, counteracts memory loss, anti-anxiety, pain relief, anti-inflammatory.
  • Limonene - Strong, citrus-like terpene which as the name suggests, can also be found in lemons, as well as oranges, oregano and cloves. Limoene is common in aromatherapy for relaxation.
    Potential Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, anticancer, stress-reliever, improves mood.
  • Linalool - This terpene gives off more of a floral, spicy scent like lavender. Also found in citrus trees, birch trees, coriander, and rosewood, linalool is often used in production of perfumes or soaps.
    Potential Benefits: Anti-anxiety, sedative, antidepressant, pain reliever, anti-inflammatory.

Other Fruits Or Vegetables With Terpenes Also Found In Cannabis

There are plenty of other terpenes which can be benefited from by consuming raw cannabis, although terpenes extracts may allow the user to dose more accurately. Other terpenes you may be interested to look into are Caryophyllene (antifungal), Humulene, Terpineol, Eucalyptol, and many more.

Flavonoids

Flavonoids

Flavonoids are another compound found in cannabis that provide plenty of health benefits. Flavonoids are secondary metabolites, which means they do not have a direct effect on the development on the cannabis plant but rather help it to survive the exterior conditions.

Over 20 different flavonoids have been identified in cannabis, but the 4 most common are Apigenin (anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory), Cannaflavin A and B (anti-inflammatory), Quercetin (antioxidant), and Beta-Sitosterol (anti-inflammatory).

How To Consume Raw Cannabis

Raw Cannabis

Raw cannabis can be used in all kinds of food preparations, including smoothies, juices, salads, cold baking and oils.

Hemp seeds are commonly found in dry, cereal type products and can be eaten as a tasty snack or used to add a bit of crunch to your yogurt bowl.

Tip: Finding fresh flowers can be tricky unless you grow them yourself. Keeping them in their fresh state for the long term requires you to freeze the herb.

If you found this article useful or have any comments regarding the benefits of raw cannabis, please feel free to leave your thoughts down below!

External References

Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb. Trends Pharmacol Sci. - Izzo AA, Borrelli F, Capasso R, Di Marzo V, Mechoulam R. (2009)

The Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Terpenoids from Cannabis. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. - Gallily R, Yekhtin Z, Hanuš LO. (2018)

Cannabis, from plant to pill. Br J Clin Pharmacol. - Grof, CPL. (2018)

This article was updated April 2021.






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