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Yes, You Can Add Raw Cannabis To Your Green Smoothie

Green smoothies and cold-pressed juices are lauded for their ability to give the body a boost without taxing the digestive system as much as eating does. The nutrients found in raw fruits, vegetables and herbs are preserved when they are not heated or cooked and can provide enzymes and vitamins which can improve our immune system or just make our skin glow a little more. Just like with fruits or vegetables, you can juice raw cannabis leaves or buds to make juice and enjoy the benefits without getting high.

Just like with fruits or vegetables, you can juice raw cannabis leaves or buds (Shutterstock)

THCA and CBDA are the raw, unheated versions of THC and CBD that are found in live cannabis. Most people have heard of THC (the cannabinoid that’s responsible for the high feeling) and CBD (the cannabinoid with therapeutic properties that won’t get you high) but are unaware that they are activated by heat through a process called decarboxylation. The process makes the compounds bioavailable to the body and allows them to affect everything from mood and appetite to your ability to manage pain.

Although it may sound complicated, decarboxylation takes place every time you light up, vape or heat your cannabis to make infused butter or oils. The process creates THC but also reduces the percentage of terpenes and cannabinoids that would be present in raw cannabis. Without being heated, THCA doesn’t have any psychotropic effects but still offers some benefits including decreasing inflammation, treating nausea and loss of appetite, improving sleep issues like insomnia and reducing chronic pain.

To make raw cannabis juice, you will need buds and/or leaves from the plant that have not been cured. Weed purchased from a dispensary, or otherwise, is cured. Finding fresh, raw cannabis might be difficult for the average person who probably doesn’t have a direct relationship with a cultivator that could provide it for them. You can check in with friends who might be growing at home, reaching out to your network or even inquiring at a dispensary about where you might be able to find a source for live cannabis.

Some dispensaries sell clones (small plants that have been made by using cuttings from larger cannabis plants) that you can purchase and continue growing at home. With predictions that the home grow market will double this year , it’s likely that clones will become available in more dispensaries throughout the country. If you go that route, you’ll have to be patient enough to wait for the plant to grow enough leaves and buds to make an adequate amount of juice. It’s important to pay close attention to the plant and be careful not to let the buds begin to dry out or cure before you use them.

When you have your material, you can choose between using a cold-press juicer or a blender with a little bit of water to liquefy the cannabis buds and leaves in the same way you would any other fruit or vegetable. If you can handle wheatgrass or ginger shots, you should be able to manage the taste of cannabis juice. It has an earthy, spicy, mildly bitter flavor that definitely reminds you of exactly what you are sipping on. To dilute the cannabis juice, mix it with fresh fruit juice or a smoothie. Masking the flavor won’t detract from any of the benefits, it will just help to make it more palatable.

For now, raw cannabis juice is most likely something you’ll have to make and enjoy at home. But in the future there may be cafes, coffee shops or juice bars that serve it right alongside their other drinks. After all, CBD coffee is a thing , so it’s only a matter of time.

Raw cannabis juice allows you to reap the benefits of cannabis without the high.

How to Make a Great-Tasting Cannabis Smoothie

Start with the buds, then bust out the juicer.

Katie Marsh doesn’t look like a stoner, but if you took away her cannabis smoothie, she’d probably clock you. Marsh began her morning ritual of juicing weed one year ago, four years after she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She tried ibuprofen, prednisone, and wheatgrass. But nothing eased her chronic pain.

A light went on when a friend suggested she try juicing marijuana. “It just struck me as something that might work because it’s very green,” the mother of two, who lives in Madawaska, Maine, tells Esquire. After meeting with cannabis researcher Dr. William Courtney in California, she bought a bag and started juicing it every day. “It wasn’t my goal to be high,” Marsh, 47, says matter-of-factly. “My goal was pain relief.”

Today Marsh’s disease is in remission, through experts say the verdict is out on whether it’s due to the juice. “The acidic form of THC in test tubes has some effect on enzymes involved in inflammation,” says David Casarett, M.D., whose book, Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana (Current), is out now. “In theory, there’s reason to think the acidic form has some effects.” Still, he admits there’s no definitive proof.

For those eager to try a cannabis shake, Rich shared a favorite recipe from her self-published book, Juicing Cannabis for Healing. — Jill Krasny

Katie Rich shares a smoothie recipe from her self-published book, Juicing Cannabis for Healing.