Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Author Rachel Garland shares this article
Simply put, cannabis is a superfood. Like other vegetables or leafy greens, cannabis contains naturally derived vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Cannabis is unique from other vegetables though because it also contains important compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the active compounds in cannabis. The most abundant of these compounds are THCA and CBDA, also know as acidic cannabinoids, which convert into THC and CBD once heated.
A growing body of research indicates there are enormous health benefits to consuming THCA and CBDA, which are only found in raw or unheated forms cannabis.
Curious how to incorporate this superfood into your diet? Here are 7 healthy ways.
Salads are a simple and nutritious way to consume acidic cannabinoids. They’re also versatile. Depending on the season, you can create a variety of combinations with fresh produce. It’s important to note that including healthy fats such as avocado or chia seeds are key when making a raw cannabis salad. Why? Raw cannabis can be mildly irritating to the digestive track. Although this side effect is rare, it is possible. One way you can counteract this effect is by incorporating a balanced blend of ingredients. This way, your body is able to easily digest cannabis alongside other ingredients such as apples, blueberries, carrots, and other nutritious foods. This will also help offset the bitter quality of raw cannabis.
In addition, only consume clean raw cannabis. In its raw form, cannabis can contain microbes such as salmonella and ecoli. To ensure your cannabis is clean, soak the leaves in cold water for at least five minutes. For an extra precaution, add apple cider vinegar to the mix. The apple cider vinegar will help eliminate harmful bacteria. Keep in mind that any raw cannabis recipe should start with clean leaves. Otherwise, you risk ingesting unwanted pesticides, fungicides, and other harmful microbes.
Eating a cannabis salad is only one way to integrate raw cannabis into your diet. Juicing is another great way. One benefit of juicing is that you’re able to maximize your body’s cannabinoid absorption rate. According to Dr. William Courtney, a leading raw cannabis specialist, we should aim to juice around 15 leaves per day along with around 2 large fresh ground buds. Skip the stems. Why? Cannabis stems contain cystolith hairs. Composed of calcium carbonate, these hard, needle-like hairs can be irritating to the throat if swallowed. So, stick to the leaves or buds.
Buds are beneficial because they contain the highest concentration of cannabinoids. However, the most powerful dietary combination includes both leaves and buds. Juicing happens to be one of the easiest ways for our bodies to digest cannabinoids. Like with all raw cannabis infusions, the fresher the better.
One thing to keep in mind when you’re juicing cannabis is that it’s important to space your consumption throughout the day. This is because our bodies have the tendency to eliminate the juice rapidly. Dr. William Courtney recommends taking around 5 doses of 60ml. He also suggests shaking the mixture to evenly distribute the fatty acids. This way, our bodies are able to more efficiently absorb the cannabinoids.
Salads are a fantastic way to introduce more fresh produce into your diet. And what goes great with salad? Dressing. Tantalizing our taste buds, salad dressings make a plain bed of veggies pop.
However, not all dressings are created equally. Thousand Island, Ranch, and Caesar dressings are amongst the worst. Packed with sodium, fat, and sugar these unhealthy dressings can pack on unwanted pounds. To put things into perspective, four tablespoons of Caesar Dressing contains around 340 calories, 36 grams of fat, and 680 mg of sodium – not the healthiest choice. The best option then is to make dressing at home. This way you’ll have more power of the ingredients. Better yet, you’ll also be able to include raw cannabis.
Raw cannabis can increase the nutritional value of your dressing. Cannabis in its raw form features a bold and somewhat spicy flavor, so it is best paired with kale, peppers, and spinach. To incorporate raw cannabis in a dressing, you will first need to grind it. Use a grinder or food processor to help break down the plant material. Then, blend the mixture with ingredients like; olive oil, balsamic vinegar, raw honey, and salt.
Need some inspiration? Here is a cannabis salad dressing recipe to get you started.
What’s better than a sandwich? A cannabis sandwich. While this duo may seem to be an unlikely combination, once you’ve tried it, you may never go back.
Cannabis fan leaves make a great substitute for lettuce. However, you will need to cut up the leaves first. You’ll also want to keep in mind raw cannabis provides a distinct flavor. Expect a bitter taste, think arugula. Raw cannabis leaves also contain a mild to hot spiciness. The level of spiciness depends on the strain.
Raw cannabis leaves work well with ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumber, lemon, olive oil, mushrooms, basil, garlic, and vinegar. It’s important to mention that you’ll need to stick to cold sandwiches if you want to absorb the cannabinoid acids. Heat will initiate the conversion process of THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD.
Salsa is quick and delicious. Loaded with vegetables, it’s full of vitamins and minerals. Adding raw cannabis makes salsa even healthier. Some may argue even tastier with the right ingredients!
The spiciness and bitter quality of raw cannabis pairs perfectly with salsa staples like tomatoes, onion, and cilantro. Just how spicy is raw cannabis? Expect a heat level that ranges from table pepper to a mild jalapeno pepper.
If you need to offset the spiciness, consider adding a healthy sweetener like mangos.
Searching for a refreshing treat on a warm day? Try raw cannabis popsicles. It’s a great way to nourish your body with cannabinoids in their acidic state. Popsicles also happen to be easy to make. You will just need a popsicle maker to get started. For the healthiest version, combine chopped cannabis leaves with water along with your choice of fruits or vegetables. Skip the fruit juice if you’re watching your sugar intake. Chop up your ingredients, add the liquid, and freeze.
Sauces are versatile. They can be incorporated into just about every dish imaginable. From seafood to pasta to vegetables and poultry – there’s a place for sauces. Sauces that contain fresh vegetables are the healthiest. And cannabis is, after all, a vegetable.
A serving of cannabis provides the body with antioxidants, essential amino acids, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, along with cannabinoid acids like THCA and CBDA.
Raw cannabis can be incorporated into a variety of sauces. However, to reap the raw benefits, you’ll need to enjoy the sauce cold or at room temperature. Sauces such as pesto or tahini sauce are good options.
We are only beginning to discover the complexities of the cannabis plant, especially when it comes to our understanding of cannabis in its raw form. Accessing cannabis legally is still prohibited in most parts of the worlds. So sourcing fresh, pesticide-free, organic and clean cannabis leaves sadly isn’t an easy feat. Nor is it even a reality for most people yet. However, this will change. Cannabis education is spreading rapidly. And not just in the U.S. but across the world. So it is up to each of us to help ignite this change and spread the word.