Are There Benefits to Eating Raw Cannabis?

Francis Cassidy October 31, 2017 0 comments

People mostly consume cannabis in edible form, by smoking, or by vaping, but what about raw?

Whether you eat the leaves or the buds, the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant aren’t hard to harness. By eating raw cannabis you can obtain the health benefits of cannabis. However, you won’t get the high, or feel inhibited in any way. If you’re looking for a potent health supplement but still need to function physically and mentally at your capacity, then raw cannabis may just be the preventative solution you need to introduce into your diet.

Raw Cannabis: A Nutritional Supplement?

In its raw form, cannabis isn’t psychoactive until it’s heated. It’s that essential human aspect that sets it apart from the millions of years of evolution and its intended function in that natural state.

In that raw form, cannabis may help our body’s regulatory systems become more effective. In many ways, it can be seen as a dietary supplement—something that’s very different from the conception many hold of it being a medicine. Where a medicine treats a specific disease, a dietary supplement merely helps the body maintain that healthful state of homeostasis.

Eating raw cannabis in the form of leaves, roots and even flower can help ensure preventative maintenance by delivering a collection of non-psychoactive cannabinoids with potent health benefits.

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Cannabis Leaf Close Up

How Does Raw Cannabis Work on Your Body?

Raw cannabis consists of cannabinoids that are in the form of an acid precursor. After harvest, these cannabinoids begin to degrade into the more chemically stable cannabinoids, like THC and CBD.

Leaves, especially the ‘sugar leaves,’ will be digested and enter your body as a food source that is rich in magnesium, calcium, and fibre. Seeds are even more nutritious, packed with omega 3, 6, and 9. All of these nutrients work to support good brain and nerve health.

The Potential Cancer-Killing Properties of THCa

While there are 112 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, the two most well-known cannabinoid acids, found in raw cannabis, are THCa and CBDa. Despite its lack of psychoactivity, THCa is not pharmacologically inactive. THCa is an excellent antioxidant and free radical scavenger with potential anti-cancer properties.

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In addition, it also has potent anti-inflammatory benefits that come about due to its ability to suppress the production of TNF-α, a pro-inflammatory cytokine. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis result from the over-production of this cytokine.

Does CBDa Have Anti-Anxiety Properties?

While it’s activated counterpart CBD has attained much respect in recent years, CBDa is not without its benefits too. Known for its powerful relaxant and anti-anxiety properties, CBDa has undergone several pre-clinical studies to investigate its potential therapeutic benefits.

A 2016 animal study carried out on the behavioural characterisation of cannabidiolic acid showed it to be effective in treating both nausea and vomiting. While another study conducted in 2014 at the Daiichi University of Pharmacy demonstrated that CBDa prevented metastasis of breast cancer cells. It does this by inhibiting COX-2—an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain.

Who Can Benefit From Eating Raw Cannabis?

The “high” experienced with decarboxylated cannabis is problematic for some. For children, the elderly, or those working in an environment where it’s inappropriate to be under the influence of the psychoactive effects, eating raw cannabis can provide much needed therapeutic benefits.

Others become flustered with the psychoactive effects that result from too much THC. Whether it’s heart palpitations, anxiety, or paranoia, the intensity and duration of these episodes can be unhelpful for some. You can entirely avoid these experiences by eating raw cannabis.

People commonly treat both rheumatoid arthritis and the autoimmune disease systemic lupus with raw cannabis. By consuming fresh cannabis without the associated psychoactive effects, it allows a patient to significantly increase their daily intake of cannabinoids without becoming impaired in any way.

The Top 3 Ways To Consume Raw Cannabis

Cannabis Leaves in a bowl


Salads with leafy green vegetables should be a part of any healthy diet. By incorporating some raw cannabis into your salad, it ensures a simple and nutritious way to bring some cannabinoid acids into your diet.

Raw cannabis can irritate the gut, so it’s often best to combine it with some healthy fats. Avocado and chia seeds are two such examples of foods that combine well. This will enable your body to better digest the raw cannabis.

With leaves, it’s always prudent to ensure that they come from a clean source. Microbes such as salmonella and E. coli sometimes live on leaves, and you should wash them off. The same goes for exposure to pesticides, fungicides, and other harmful microbes. Soak cannabis leaves in water for 5 minutes prior to consumption. This should help ensure they’re clean.

Including apple cider vinegar in your leaf wash is often useful in ensuring that harmful compounds are eliminated.

raw cannabis juice


Juicing is a great way to obtain the benefits of raw cannabis while minimizing any potential digestive tract irritation. 15-25 leaves per day in addition to 1-2 buds is what constitutes the recommended dose. Remove the stems from the leaves, as they contain cystolith hairs. These needle-like hairs are often irritating to the throat when swallowed.

For optimal absorption, spread your doses throughout the day. Five doses of 60ml interspaced throughout the day will enable your body to digest, metabolize, and assimilate the cannabinoid acids. Always shake your juice before consumption. Doing so ensures an even spread of fatty acids through and hence more efficient absorption.

raw cannabis salad


So many dressings on the market are full of unhealthy fats, sugar, and sodium. Adding raw cannabis to your dressing can help ensure that the nutritional value stays high. Raw cannabis exhibits a spicy flavor and pairs well with foods like kale and spinach. You can also grind raw cannabis to combine it with foods like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt, for a wonderful dressing sure to excite the tastebuds. Now, how’s that for something different?

Author avatar

Francis Cassidy
Francis Cassidy is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics. With a particular focus on the cannabis industry, he aims to help ensure the smooth reintegration of cannabis back into global culture. When not writing, he's to be found exploring his new base in British Columbia, Canada. You can follow his other works including his photography on his blog

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