Donald Abrams, MD, professor of clinical medicine at the University of California San Francisco and a general oncologist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, has become an advocate for marijuana stemming from his years of research into the medical benefits of cannabis.
In his short film, Leaf, Abrams provides insight into consuming cannabis in its raw form, rather than cured and smoked. And the way Abrams talks about consuming raw cannabis? Juicing it.
Much like any other pressed juice, cannabis juice is easy to consume and digest. Some folks even believe cannabis should be considered a vegetable because its fits the description as a “plant cultivated for food, edible herb or root.” Marijuana, like many other vegetables, can lose some critical enzymes and nutrients when heated, meaning smoking marijuana could decrease some of the plant’s health benefits.
Why Juice Marijuana?
Drinking cannabis juice means you’re still consuming the cannabinoids in marijuana, just without the high. Plus, you’re getting extra nutrients including: calcium, fiber, iron and fatty acids. Dr. William L. Courtney, who runs the Cannabis International Foundation studying the dietary and medicinal use of cannabis believes that cannabis in its raw form can be preventative as well as healing. He comments, “It (cannabis) has captured these molecules that help our bodies’ regulatory system be more effective. The bottom line is it’s a dietary essential that helps all 210 cell types function more effectively. I don’t even refer to it as medicine anymore, strictly as a dietary essential.”
Drinking cannabis juice regularly has been anecdotally found to assist with immune function and provide anti-inflammatory benefits, partially by reducing damage caused by free radicals. Cannabis can also aid in restoring two-way communication pathways in nerves, helping to curtail inflammation. Marijuana has also shown to improve overall cell function, bone metabolism and neural function.
Juicing cannabis gives people an easy way to consume the full profile of the plant. Dr. Courtney has seen positive effects from nearly 8,000 people who have begun a protocol of juicing cannabis.
Drinking Marijuana Juice Won’t Make You High
Juiced raw cannabis has no psychoactive effects because the raw plant only contains tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). THCA only turns into the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) when the plant is heated. Without the heat, there is no high.
Due to the delivery method, the body can handle much higher doses of cannabinoids from juiced marijuana, meaning you’re getting more cannabinoids into your body with every sip.
Increasing the number of cannabinoids in the body has many positive effects. Ethan Russo, a former senior medical advisor for GW pharmaceuticals, explained the benefits: “CBD (cannabidiol) works on receptors, and as it turns out, we have cannabinoids in our bodies, endogenous cannabinoids, that turn out to be very effective at regulating immune functions, nerve functions, and bone functions. The endogenous cannabinoid system acts as a modulator in fine-tuning a lot of these systems, and if something is deranged biochemically in a person’s body, it may well be that a cannabinoid system can bring things back into balance.”
Anecdotal Evidence That Juicing Cannabis Works
Kristen Peskuski, a woman featured in Leaf, suffered from many ailments ranging from endometriosis to anemia to lupus. She first tried smoking marijuana, but found very little relief. But once she started drinking cannabis, she saw a dramatic decrease in symptoms. Her OBGYN believes that drinking cannabis juice may have even helped her become pregnant, previously thought to be impossible due to her severe endometriosis.
Katie Marsh, who shared her story with Fox News, had similarly life-changing results from juicing cannabis. Marsh suffered from acute rheumatoid arthritis and had excruciating side effects from her virtually ineffective medication—she could barely get out of bed and take care of herself. So she tried juicing cannabis after many unsuccessful trials with other natural anti-inflammatory remedies, such as ginger and turmeric. Within a few days, Katie was able to stop taking prednisone and ibuprofen, and nearly a year later her condition was completely in remission.
Any Risks in Juicing Raw Marijuana?
There seems to be little risk in juicing cannabis. Out of Dr. Courtney’s 8,000 patients, only two reported an allergic reaction. Also, one out of 1,000 patients reported feeling physcoactive effects—but this rare reaction could be due to a patient’s extreme sensitivity to cannabis or an unusual marijuana plant.
Dr. David A. Greuner, a double board-certified surgeon and the managing director and co-founder of the Surgical Associates of New York City, believes that juicing raw cannabis has all of the same positive benefits of smoking marijuana. He states that juiced cannabis can help relieve pain and nausea in cancer patients and help increase the appetites of patients who suffer from HIV.
How Do You Juice Cannabis?
In order to juice cannabis, it must be fresh, not marijuana that has been cured for smoking. Dr. Courtney recommends juicing both the buds and leaves, and it can be juiced like any other vegetable in a cold-press juicer. Due to its bitter taste, people often mix cannabis juice with other fresh vegetable juice.
The juice is convenient and easy to drink, and has opened new doors to people seeking the most health benefits possible from the cannabis plant.
Photo credit: Tamara Smith