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The Health Benefits of Juicing Cannabis

By on July 7, 2013
Juicing cannabis usually involves fresh plant material instead of the dried and aged buds that are meant to be smoked.

Juicing cannabis usually involves fresh plant material instead of buds that have been dried or aged. Some believe that raw cannabis should be treated as a dietary staple. – Cannabis is one of the most versatile plants that exists on this planet, but separating its health benefits from ‘getting high’ remains a challenge. However, some say there is a simple solution.

The solution is a process called juicing, which requires just a blender and raw material. While most think of tomatoes or carrots as juicing ingredients, a little outside-the-box thinking has led others to discover cannabis juicing.

Dr. William Courtney, founder of the Cannabis International Foundation, is one of these people and is probably the most prominent advocate of this form of medicine. While research has yet to catch up to Dr. Courtney’s promising claims, with a simple lesson in chemistry, its easy to understand where he’s coming from.

What is THCA and CBDA?

juicing-raw-cannabis-2-07-07While much research has focused on THC and CBD, little is known about their acidic precursors – THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid).

What may surprise you is the fact that raw cannabis, especially when fresh, actually contains very little THC and CBD but a much higher amount of these acids.

Cannabis plants actually produce cannabinoids in their acidic forms only, which are then converted to THC and CBD after being heated or aged. Decarboxylation is the chemical reaction responsible for this conversion.

When left in their natural forms, THCA and CBDA won’t get you high. However, they happen to offer many of the same health benefits as their better known counterparts.

Advantages of Juicing

The most convincing reason for ingesting cannabis as a juice is being able to take in more cannabinoids than you usually would. Without the high, these acidic compounds can be ingested in large doses without having an impact on your daily activities.

“THCA is the real tricky molecule… Once it’s heated, it turns into THC and the tolerable dose drops from hundreds of milligrams a day to 10 milligrams.”
- Dr. William Courtney

THCA and CBDA are believed to act as anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories and neuroprotectants, much like their non-acidic counterparts.

These therapeutic properties are what make cannabis – raw or heated – so useful as a long-term treatment for many chronic diseases. In fact, Dr. Courtney emphasizes the daily intake of raw cannabis as both a preventative medicine and dietary supplement.

Drawbacks of Juicing

The fact that THCA won’t get you high implies one major drawback for medical users – it doesn’t activate the endocannabinoid system. Unfortunately, a large portion of medical marijuana research has focused on the activity of this unique biological system, which most – including Dr. Courtney – believe is responsible for the symptom relief that cannabis is known for.

For example, symptoms of pain and neurological dysfunction are thought to be directly regulated by cannabinoid activity in the brain. Treatment with raw cannabis may not be as effective in these cases, although no one really knows for sure.

Until more studies are done on the effects of raw cannabis, patients must shoulder the responsibility of figuring out what works best for them.

  • Steve Baranick

    I would like to have the juice,,,

    • Vanessa La.

      yes, why are we not allowed to?? I have never ever smoked cannabis but I understand the health benefits of raw juicing. what is the worst that can happen from drinking it ? oh , yes, the big pharma’s pockets will suffer. that unfortunately is worst than losing lives to disease…so stupid

  • GlovesOffYouMFers

    Funny. My wife and I are devoted vegans and juicers. I had half-joked about moving down to CO so I could grow hemp just for juicing. Turns out I was on to something…

    • Migz

      Shout out to all the vegans in the world!

  • lovely

    can I freeze the leaves or juice

    • Patrick DeBurgh

      According to current practice, yes, you can do that.

  • Gracie Darling

    I remember Juice Newton back in the 80′s.

  • mike

    What happens if you heat the juice? Does it get you high? Does the THCA in the juice become THC?

    • Matt Matt

      Yes, THCA converts to THC through heat and time. Some decarboxylation does occur at room temp very slowly and gradually but to convert it all you cook it at between 110c and 130c, usually for about 30 to 50 minutes

      • wsegen

        Please, with all due respect, are you guessing? assuming? or is there a lab experiment behind this? One thing for sure, research on medical pot has been going on for a long time. (Speaking of the dried flower). Juicing is relatively recent.

        • Matt Matt

          Am I guessing what? That THCA will decarb gradually at room temp? No this has been confirmed with lab tests, same goes for the optimum temps for decarboxylating all of it.
          Unheated cannabis that has been dried always has a small amount of decarbed THC, and oils that have been cooked at the temps I mentioned have invariably been fully decarbed