A “functional food” is a food that provides benefits in excess of nutrition.1 The number of vitamins, essential oils, complete essential amino acids, and perfectly balanced fatty acids found in raw cannabis has led experts like Dr. William Courtney to call weed a “dietary essential” and definitely a functional food.2
When unheated, raw cannabis causes none of the psychoactive effects associated with smoking it or consuming “decarboxylated” (heat treated) oil.
Dr. Jeffrey C. Raber explains:
“When you consume “raw” cannabis, that is cannabis which has not been heated, you are consuming the cannabinoid acids. THCA and/or CBDA. Look up tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or cannabidiolic acid. Those are the A forms of the molecules you are consuming.” 3
Dr. Raber received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Southern California,4 so he knows a thing or two about chemistry.
When you heat cannabis, a chemical change occurs called decarboxylation. This big word simply means removing the carboxyl acids of the cannabinoids.5 This is a process your body naturally does with amino acids, and also one it naturally does with cannabinoid acids. Decarboxylating the cannabinoids before consuming them is similar to injecting racehorses with ATP instead of feeding them sufficient amino acids.
It is not harmful to consume decarboxylated cannabinoids, but it’s not the most natural nor the most beneficial way to consume them.
In fact, Dr. William Courtney points out that humans can consume up to 100 times more cannabinoids in their raw acid form than when they are decarbed.6
He explains that euphoria is triggered in some people after consuming 5-10mg of THC. Consuming 20mg is enough to trigger dysphoria (paranoia) in most individuals. However, no psychoactive effects are noticed in doses of THCA as high as 2,000mg.6
So what is the best way of consuming this “dietary essential”?Juicing.
That’s right: Juicing fresh, raw cannabis is the best way to consume the plant.
Again, Dr. Jeffrey C. Raber Ph.D. explains:
“Juicing is working because it provides the cannabinoid acids, which are potent compounds that help regulate the endocannabinoid system in ways not fully understood just yet.” 3
Dr. William Courtney tells us
“The cannabinoids are fat-soluble, so at this point, we are trying to encourage people to put the cannabinoids into a drink that has a lot of fat content; something that has yogurt or ice-cream, or coconut milk or hemp milk. As you increase the fat content, then the cannabinoids can dissolve into that fat, which will elevate the amount that you can have per milliliter of juice.”
Hemp milk isn’t just a good choice because it’s in the cannabis family. Dr. Courtney continues:
“Hemp seeds (used to produce hemp milk) are an excellent source of the essential amino acids in a very balanced form, and it’s also a source of the essential fatty acids uniquely balanced in the exact ratio required by the human body.”
So the seeds provide us with all the essential amino acids (protein), along with perfectly balanced Omega 3, 6, and 9. Meanwhile, the flowers and leaves provide us with unique cannabinoid acids along with an incredible array of terpenes (essential oils) and flavonoids that provide a wide range of dietary benefits.
How Cannabinoids Benefit Your Body
Science is still coming to terms with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. That’s right, every living creature with a central nervous system has an endocannabinoid system, and we all produce cannabinoids inside our bodies (called endocannabinoids).
There was a time when science didn’t fully understand vitamins. When sailors spent too long at sea, they came down with an illness called Scurvy, what we now know to be vitamin C deficiency. There are some researchers who believe many modern illnesses may actually be symptoms of a cannabinoid deficiency.
As a medicine, cannabis has been shown to be effective in treating: multiple sclerosis, seizures, glaucoma, anorexia, nausea, neuropathic pain, ADD / ADHD, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, several forms of cancer, the list goes on and on.7
CBD has been found to act as an antipsychotic, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and a neuroprotectant.6
These same illnesses are treated when raw cannabis is consumed as a food.6
Unlike traditional neurotransmitters, which are pre-synthesized and stored in small “packages” called vesicles on each neuron; endocannabinoids are synthesized as needed by the lipids (fats) making up the neuronal cell wall.8
This means that consuming foods which supply the building blocks of cannabinoids is extremely beneficial for the treatment of ALL of these illnesses and their related symptoms.
There is no better source for the building blocks of cannabinoids than raw cannabis.
Cost and Availability
One of the biggest limiting factors in the ability to juice and consume raw cannabis is the cost. Most people simply could not afford what it would cost to regularly buy the amount of cannabis needed to juice and consume it every day.
On the other hand, experts like Dr. Courtney say that a “phenomenal number of people” are able to slowly wean themselves off of prescription medications within a few months of starting to consume cannabis. So that money that was going towards prescription meds could instead be used to purchase raw cannabis.
Another limiting factor is access. With current laws restricting the growth and sales of cannabis, most people wouldn’t even know where to look for fresh, raw cannabis.
With medical and scientific experts calling this plant a “dietary essential”6 – isn’t it time that we changed our laws surrounding cannabis?
The best thing you and I can do to help change these archaic laws is to first educate ourselves on the benefits, and then share that information with others.
Reading this article isn’t enough. Check our references, and try to prove this information wrong. In doing so, you may inadvertently prove it to yourself in a much deeper way.
Then, once you are confident in your knowledge, try sharing some of this information with people whom you think could benefit from it. Only when enough of us are active AND well educated can we truly make a difference.
Check out this video interview with Dr. William Courtney: