by Julie Monteiro, RN, BSK
Get ready to add the next big superfood to your juice concoction.
Those who treat their bodies as a temple and leave no stone unturned when pursuing avenues of optimal health are adding fresh cannabis leaves to their green juicing regimen.
Green juicing which primarily includes Popeye’s favorite leafy greens of kale and
spinach now has one more nutritionally-rich component in raw cannabis.
There are many routes of administration for consuming cannabis, all of which are beneficial for the body in providing health and bringing balance. Choosing the best route for you as a patient will be dependent on a variety of factors that specifically fit your lifestyle and your desired outcome. I personally enjoy juicing raw cannabis leaves daily — raw cannabis is cannabis that has been uncured and unheated — simply for the fact that there are
no psychoactive effects because to experience a psychoactive high from cannabis, the
bud or leaves need to be heated. Also, as important, fresh cannabis provides more bang
for your buck in its nutritional values and overall desired outcomes.
Juicing fresh cannabis leaves offers a natural approach to health and wellness in providing balance to your Endocannabinoid system (eCS). Cannabis leaves are particularly rich in phytocannabinoids CBDA and CBG, while juiced flower can offer the benefits of THC-A, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, which is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis.
Cannabinoids offer significant anti-inflammatory, neuroprotection, and pain relief benefits that are hard to get from “activated” or heat-processed cannabinoids like delta-9-THC and CBD. Additionally, the body tolerates larger dosages of cannabinoids
when cannabis is consumed in the raw form providing
a system-wide therapeutic and nutritional benefit. There’s only one downside. Acquisition of fresh fan leaves from cannabis plants can be challenging. Nevada’s testing requirements state that the moisture content of cannabis products must be less than 15 percent moisture to pass testing, and fresh leaves typically contain about 80 percent water, so they aren’t available in dispensaries. For those who live in a state that allows personal marijuana cultivation, an outdoor greenhouse or indoor grow closet is recommended to produce fresh cannabis for juicing.
½ cup water and/or fruit/vegetable juice (i.e. apple juice, carrot juice)
½ cup ice
6-8 berries (blueberries/raspberries/blackberries)
15 fresh cannabis leaves
2 large raw buds (2-4 inches long) harvested when THC glands are clear (rather than amber/cloudy)
6-8 fresh spinach leaves
1-2 fresh asparagus stems
2 baby carrots
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice 4oz. organic yogurt
1/8 tsp of powdered turmeric
1-tablespoon honey/agave (used as a sweetener – if desired)
Use a juicer or blender (i.e. NutriBullet or kitchen blender) to mix ingredients until well blended. Make sure ingredients don’t overheat as it may cause decarboxilation of the cannabis which gives you a euphoric “high.” Add water/ice as necessary for desired thickness. Makes two 16oz. servings. Store unused portion in covered container/jar in refrigerator for later use.
Helpful Hints for Juicing Cannabis:
- Juiced cannabis should always be diluted with water or another type of fruit/vegetable juice, as it will be extremely acidic. Juice cuts down on the bitterness of the raw cannabis.
- Plant material must be fresh. Leaves that have been dried or stored for extended periods are not recommended.
- Most likely, your local dispensary will not have a fresh supply of raw cannabis available but many patients and caregivers do grow their own medicine.
- When gathering ingredients, fresher is always better. Vegetables begin breaking down and losing valuable enzymes from the moment they are harvested. To get the most out of a juicing cannabis, it is recommended that only the freshest produce, including cannabis, be used.
- Juicing has no inherent health risk, although you do want tobe careful to watch your sugar intake (especially if you are diabetic) as juicing has a fast absorption rate and may increase your sugar levels rapidly.
- Be very careful to keep heat exposure to the plant as lowas possible to prevent psychoactive effects.