Generally, people who use marijuana are either looking to get high or benefit from its reported medical uses. Does eating raw weed have the same effect as smoking it, vaping it, or consuming it in the form of edibles?
The effects of marijuana come from its active ingredients: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabigerol (CBG). These three ingredients are not naturally present in marijuana. They occur as a result of a chemical process called decarboxylation.
Because of this, raw weed may not produce the high that people usually expect from cannabis. That said, some researchers are still interested in the possible medicinal uses of raw weed.
What Qualifies as Raw Cannabis?
Just like any other raw vegetable, raw cannabis means the buds and leaves are fresh and untampered with. Prior to being exposed to heat, these parts of the plant maintain their natural biochemistry and offer a different experience to smoking and cooking weed. Even letting cannabis dry and sit for too long will degrade cannabinoids and terpenes. In turn, it could possibly reduce the benefits received from consuming freshly picked flowers and leaves.
To classify as raw cannabis, these parts should not be:
- Smoked or vaped
Will eating raw marijuana get me high?
Ultimately, there’s no reason why you should avoid consuming raw cannabis. But can you get high from eating raw weed? The answer to that is no. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.
Consuming raw cannabis, whether you try to eat the entire thing or you juice it, can be a great way to tap into the medicinal, therapeutic and general health benefits of cannabinoids.
If you’re into the idea of juicing raw weed, there are a couple different approaches you can take. If you don’t care about getting high and you primarily want to get a concentrated dose of cannabinoids, go ahead and juice raw flower.
Alternatively, if you grow your own weed or if you have access to full plants or leftover trim, don’t throw anything away.
After harvesting and trimming your bud, run all that plant matter through a juicer. That way you can get the health benefits of raw weed without wasting your flower.
Benefits of Eating Raw Cannabis
Smoking, vaping and cooking weed all affect the chemical composition to some degree. Some of these changes create beneficial chemical reactions, whereas others are detrimental. Many of the vital molecules within cannabis—namely terpenes and cannabinoid acids—are volatile and sensitive to high temperatures. Consuming raw cannabis keeps these compounds in their natural state, allowing users to access those phytochemicals that disappear or change when smoked.
Consuming raw cannabis enables users to stimulate their endocannabinoid system—a regulatory network that keeps the body in balance—without getting high or having to inhale anything in the process. Raw cannabis could very well become a popular functional food of the future.
Other effects of raw weed
Despite the lack of high from the carboxylated forms of THC, researchers are interested in the possible therapeutic effects of raw weed. These potential benefits may include:
Protecting brain cells
One study in the British Journal of PharmacologyTrusted Source demonstrated that THCA might have a protective effect on brain cells.
These findings may be important for experts in neuroinflammatory diseases and neurodegenerative conditions such as Huntington’s disease. THC may be an interesting therapeutic option in these cases.
Inhibiting tumor necrosis
Another study, this time in the journal International ImmunopharmacologyTrusted Source, also tested the effects of unheated cannabis extract.
The researchers note that THCA was able to inhibit the tumor necrosis factor alpha levels in immune cells. Furthermore, this inhibition lasted for a long time.
Further studies will be necessary to confirm the effects of THCA on the immune system and its applications in immune conditions.
Providing antinausea effects
Researchers are also interested in the possible antinausea effect of THCA.
In another study in the British Journal of PharmacologyTrusted Source, researchers explored the antinausea effect of THCA in rats. The researchers demonstrated that it was effective in reducing nausea and vomiting.
They suggest that THCA may be a more potent alternative to THC in the treatment of nausea and vomiting. Further studies are necessary to find out whether or not these effects also occur in humans.
Researchers have also demonstrated the antinausea and anti-vomiting effects of low dosesTrusted Source of cannabidiolic acid. Also, cannabidiolic acid made the antinausea drug ondansetron more effective. Further studies in humans are needed to confirm these results.
Ways to consume raw cannabis
There are a few ways to ingest raw weed. Some are more palatable than others. It is best to try each method to find your preference.
For many people interested in the health benefits of raw cannabis, juicing is the best option. This approach allows you to get all the cannabinoids and other vitamins and minerals contained in the plant without having to process the fibrous plant matter, which can be difficult to digest.
Many people say it also tastes much better, especially when you mix your cannabis juice with other juice. Additionally, if you mix your cannabis juice with other healthy, vitamin-rich fruits or vegetables, you can give yourself a super-charged health drink.
To juice raw cannabis, you will need a juicer and raw, un-decarboxylated weed. Fortunately, you can juice every part of the cannabis plant, buds, leaves, and all. Roughly chop your plant matter and add it in batches to the juicer. From there, add whatever other fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens you would enjoy.
Smoothies provide a tasty and easy way to load up on phytonutrients. Add raw cannabis flower and leaves to your smoothies for a dose of cannabinoid acids and terpenes. Throw in some tropical fruits, berries, and ice for great taste and freshness.
Of course, the other way to consume weed is by eating the leaves and flower as is. This is the least desirable method as the plant materials are fibrous and the leaves can taste bitter. If you decide to go this route, chop up the leaves and flower finely and add them to a salad.
Potential downsides of raw cannabis
Of course, eating almost any food raw comes with an element of risk. When it comes to cannabis, chowing down on raw leaves can expose diners to potentially harmful bacteria—both salmonella and E. coli have been found on cannabis samples.
Some growers also use chemical pesticides on their crops to keep pests at bay. Although effective, these substances can leave a residue behind on the flower and leaves that tastes awful and hurts our bodies.
To make sure you stay safe when consuming raw cannabis, only consume cannabis you know has not been treated with these chemicals. In turn, make sure it has not been grown with the help of potentially harmful products like manure.