CannaProcess Raw Cannabis Juicing

Story by Mat Lee

     Forget everything you think you know about ingesting cannabis.  Well, that’s not exactly true, but if you are like our friend Pam, aka TwiceBakedinWA on Instagram and Twitter, who is an avid raw cannabis juicer, you might want to forget about decarboxylating your cannabis before you eat it—unless you want the psychoactive effects that THC has to offer. Then you’ll need heat, or heat and vacuum in combination over time, in order to release the carboxylic acid—in the form of mostly CO2 and a touch of H2O—thus converting the THCA into THC. That, my friends, is decarboxylation in a nutshell.
     Decarboxylation allows the THC across the blood-brain barrier.  The effects of eating cannabis are different than from vaporizing it, because the THC is metabolized by the liver into 11-Hydroxy-THC, which—as you know if you’ve ever eaten a few too many weed brownies—has different effects, and some say is more potent than THC.
     I recently chatted with Pam about raw cannabis juicing on her podcast. (You can hear that conversation on episode 179 of the Hot Box podcast.) Pam has been juicing raw cannabis for the last three years, and she says if this was the only way she could use it, she would definitely only eat it raw.
     She says it makes her feel like nothing else. “It doesn’t make you high, it makes you feel good on another level.”

     Before we go any further, here are a few tips, just in case you have access to a bunch of fresh cannabis and want to get right to cannabis juicing. Of course, the fresher the plant the better. This will not only increase the amount of terpenes, but it will also decrease the amount of natural decarboxylation that occurs. Don’t worry if your cannabis isn’t fresh out of the ground; as long as it’s not super old, gross and moldy, or covered in pesticides, you should be fine. The amount of natural decarboxylation that occurs is minimal when compared to the amount of THCA that should still be in the plant. If you are a purist, then fresh is best.
     The next tip is to make sure you have a decent juicer. Don’t use something that heats up a lot, because heat will cause the natural decarboxylation to speed up, and too much heat will also cause the more volatile terpenes to degrade or even vaporize. The key to a good entourage effect is to have a varied terpene profile in conjunction with good cannabinoid content.
     Pam tells us to keep in mind that when eating or juicing cannabis plant material daily, expect to go through quite a bit more than you would if you were just smoking. One of the big problems many people have with raw cannabis juicing is having access to enough fresh plant material.
     Remember that different strains have different terpene profiles, along with different cannabinoid profiles. This will affect different people in different ways, depending on the chemistry of their endocannabinoid system.
     Cannabis scientists are not sure what your liver metabolizes raw THCA into. At least not yet. Some speculate that it creates the same metabolites,  but that more of it is absorbed in the intestine before reaching the brain. Some believe that the metabolites from juiced cannabis don’t interact with the same receptors as when it is decarboxylated prior to ingestion. One thing we do know is that it can make you feel great, and many believe that raw cannabis juicing is part of a healthy, cannabis-friendly lifestyle.
     Doctor William Courtney is an advocate of raw cannabis juicing. He notes that high doses of raw THCA or CBDA are far more effective than their non acid-chained counterparts in regard to anti-inflammatory properties, anti-diabetic properties, and anti-ischemic properties.(If you don’t know, it’s when blood vessels constrict, preventing oxygen from flowing to certain parts of the body.)
     Courtney says, “When you eat raw cannabis, your body is able to process extremely large amounts of THCa and CBDa without issue. Your body then converts these acids into the nutrients it needs via your own metabolism.”
     This means that simply eating cannabis potentiates the already healthy effects of these cannabinoids. While chewing on a cannabis plant won’t make you feel all that great because of the unappealing texture, juicing it, or using certain, less spiny parts of the plant to complement a salad or cuisine you may be cooking is definitely the way to go.

     Cannabis has also been described as a superfood. The seeds and leaves can be a source of protein, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. These are all vital for proper cell growth and maintenance. WWe are made up of cells, so—contrary to what the federal government would like you to think—that’s a good thing.
     Pam says, “It’s a complete food all by itself, which is rare in the plant kingdom.”
     The stronger the cannabis movement gets, the better off we’ll all be. Raw cannabis juicing is another fantastic reason to allow people to grow their own cannabis at home, if they choose. Being able to walk out to your crop and pick a few choice flowers to juice and improve your health should be common sense—not against the law, as it currently is in most states.
     We need more research to discover the benefits of other cannabinoids—in their acid forms and metabolites and what effects we can expect to experience. Some people are skeptical about juicing cannabis, claiming that it’s really no different than juicing wheatgrass. As more research is done, the data will tell us whether something is going on here or it’s just another wishful cannabis placebo effect.
     Being the avid carnivore that I am, I will stick to eating food cooked with distillate and smoking flowers and extracts. If you are into drinking plants and that sort of thing,  I suggest that you give it a try and let me know what you think.
     Cannabis has also been described as a superfood. The seeds and leaves can be a source of protein, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. These are all vital for proper cell growth and maintenance. We are made up of cells, so—contrary to what the federal government would like you to think—that’s a good thing.
     Pam says, “It’s a complete food all by itself, which is rare in the plant kingdom.”
     The stronger the cannabis movement gets, the better off we’ll all be. Raw cannabis juicing is another fantastic reason to allow people to grow their own cannabis at home, if they choose. Being able to walk out to your crop and pick a few choice flowers to juice and improve your health should be common sense—not against the law, as it currently is in most states.
     We need more research to discover the benefits of other cannabinoids—in their acid forms and metabolites and what effects we can expect to experience. Some people are skeptical about juicing cannabis, claiming that it’s really no different than juicing wheatgrass. As more research is done, the data will tell us whether something is going on here or it’s just another wishful cannabis placebo effect.
     Being the avid carnivore that I am, I will stick to eating food cooked with distillate and smoking flowers and extracts. If you are into drinking plants and that sort of thing,  I suggest that you give it a try and let me know what you think.