Marijuana is a goddess-like plant that takes many different forms, and it’s matched by an industry full of innovators. We talk about its versatility a lot; we praise the goodness and medical uses for marijuana in so many forms, from smoking it to baking it to concentrating it to liquifying it to rubbing it on our skin. Cannabis creatives have pushed themselves to concoct every kind of use for marijuana that they can dream of.
But what about eating it? Not when heated at oven-temperatures and baked into a recipe of sugary delight, but plain. More like foraging plants in the wild, or, at the very least, searching the fridge for a stalk of broccoli. Can you eat raw cannabis?
Yes. You can eat raw cannabis. And you might just find that you should, as well.
No High in Sight
Unlike wild mushrooms, which can induce psychoactive effects when picked and eaten in the wild, eating raw cannabis will not get you high. Nope – marijuana's high comes after the herb has been decarboxylated. Meaning, it needs to go through a process of heat and time, involving drying and curing, before the flower has activated THC.
THC, for the record, is the psychoactive compound in weed that is responsible for the high. Without decarboxylation, which requires the marijuana to be heated to over 220 degrees F, it remains dormant within the plant.
Is it Safe?
Unlike meats that shouldn't be eaten without being cooked, eating raw cannabis can be done safely. The largest risk is an upset stomach. Some people have reported experiencing a low-key tummy ache, though there hasn't been any research into why this might happen. Some theories state that the weed, like other plants, might have a coating of pesticides or insecticides remaining if it isn't cleaned properly.
Most people, however, find that eating raw cannabis doesn’t cause any issues. Many of these people also talk about their experiences in high regard, and claim several benefits for indulging on their raw ganja.
Benefits of Eating Raw Cannabis
Even without being able to get high, raw marijuana is credited with many health benefits. In fact, without the heat, many nutrients remain intact.
Before decarboxylation, THC remains in its acidic state as THCA. THCA, while unable to get consumers high, has a ton of medicinal benefits. Raw cannabis is often seen as similar to kale – a dark, leafy green that is chock-full of fiber. This fiber element is an excellent resource for digestion and healthy bacteria growth, which contributes toward both mental and physical health.
Raw marijuana is a powerhouse of vitamins, similar to a daily supplement. Uncooked weed contains many of the essentials: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, iron, folate, and calcium. Vitamin C builds up the immune system, Vitamin K enables blood clotting and calcium absorption within the body; iron, folate, and calcium are vital for repairing DNA on a cellular level, guiding oxygen through the blood stream, and keeping bones strong and healthy.
Cannabis really is a superfood. A serving of the raw plant is full of pristine goodness, especially when it comes to antioxidants. Antioxidants help to keep the body healthy and to fight off bacterial intruders, and keep blood vessels healthy.
Terpenes exist in raw cannabis, just like when it has been heated and is ready to smoke. These compounds are responsible for marijuana's aroma and flavors, and also have their own set of health benefits. When you eat raw weed, you get the full power of terpenes, including triggers for relaxation and stress relief, plus better focus.
Dining on a plate of stalky cannabis can also lead to a solid night's sleep. It has been credited with providing a peaceful and relaxing sleep, thanks to those terpenes.
Raw cannabis is also full of anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is an element that is heavily loaded with nutrients, and is often found in red, purple, or blue veggie superfoods. When strains appear on the purple side, they have traces of anthocyanin, which is good for overall heart health and vision.
Beyond the nutrient and health benefits of eating raw cannabis, there are also other advantages to chowing down on a hefty serving of fresh marijuana.
First, there is a layer of discretion and accessibility to raw cannabis consumption that smoking does not offer. Eating it straight up, without any kind of device to aid, is fast and easy, and no different from eating other leafy greens. It probably would mix well into a salad with no problems.
Next, it's incredibly efficient. Nothing is left behind, and the whole plant can be used without producing waste. Even all of the benefits are used; without heat, many of the benefits from the terpenes are intact and can be transferred to the body.
Last, eating raw cannabis is versatile. It doesn't have to be like crunching into an apple; instead, it can be ground up into fine bits and pieces, and used as a topping or additive to something like a smoothie or salad. Fresh weed blends easily, into many forms.
Now that you've found out about eating raw cannabis, you can decide for yourself if the trend is worth a try. Head to the nearest dispensary and ask a budtender what their favorite strain is – smoked or eaten fresh. Good luck; you might be walking away a lot healthier.