Health

What Happens When You Eat Your Weed

You've heard about the benefits of smoking cannabis — or eating edibles — but what about consuming the plant in its raw form?

cannabis

It turns out some health professionals believe consuming raw cannabis has its own set of benefits.

"While the exact nutritional profile of cannabis has yet to be determined, it seems safe to assume that the cannabis plant, including the seeds, is most likely just as nutritious as hemp, if not more so," wrote registered dietician Jessica Aragona for Leafly.

You're not going to get high from raw cannabis because the plant's main psychoactive ingredient, THC, is only activated when heated. But raw cannabis still contains beneficial compounds, Aragona writes.

cannabis

Dr. William Courtney, a cannabis researcher, has studied the effects of consuming raw cannabis and routinely advises his patients to incorporate the plant into their diet. In his practice, patients who used raw cannabis experienced many of the same benefits as those who opted for smoking. He further concluded that burning the plant caused the chemical structure to change, specifically the acidity of the THC, which could inhibit its therapeutic potential.

"When it’s consumed as a leafy green vegetable, you get the whole profile of the plant," Courtney claimed in a Fox News interview last year.

In terms of peer-reviewed research, though, there's limited information about how raw and heated cannabis are chemically different. The evidence backing raw cannabis consumption is largely anecdotal.

Michael Backes, the head of research and development at the marijuana clinic Michael Backes questioned claims about the benefits of raw cannabis consumption when the trend took off in 2012. He noted the lack of clinical trials and explained that "if someone is not harvesting the cannabis fresh and consuming it immediately," they can still run the risk of getting high.

massachusetts-legalizes-marijuana

If the benefits of raw cannabis are proven to be real and and significant, it could be a strong argument in expanding the rights of users to grow their own plants.

"I do know a lot of people who do use raw juicing, particularly when they're looking not to have that psychoactive effect and when they have the ability to grow," Dr. Regina Nelson, the CEO of the ECS Therapy Center who authored a guide to cannabis therapy, told ATTN:.

She added: "You're typically using the whole plant as quickly as you can from the time you cut it down," Nelson said. "If you're getting the bud you get in the stores, well you're getting something that's already been cured, it's already drying out, and it's already starting to turn some of the THCa to THC [which would is when it becomes psychoactive.]"