For those who don’t smoke or vape but still want to get the health benefits of cannabis, juicing raw cannabis might be the answer.
Raw cannabis juice has become incredibly popular in the alternative health and wellness scene in recent years.
Many people claim to have cured chronic illnesses such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and even cancer by drinking the juice of raw cannabis leaves.
Although cannabis juice cannot be used recreationally due to the absence of THC, it is quickly becoming a popular way of using marijuana medicinally.
What is Cannabis Juice?
At the end of the day, cannabis is a vegetable, and like most other vegetables is most beneficial when consumed raw.
By adding cannabis to your juicer, you can create a fresh juice full of healthy nutrients and powerful cannabinoids.
Unlike THC, these cannabinoids are non-psychoactive. So no, cannabis juice will not get you high, but it will give your immune system a huge boost and may also help with various ailments and disorders.
How It’s Made
Cannabis juice can be made at home with any type of juicer or blender. The raw leaves and flowers are pulverized and then hand-pressed through a strainer or cheesecloth, which separates the pulp from the juice.
When juicing cannabis, the entire plant should be used in order to reap the most benefits. While THCA is mostly concentrated in the flowers or “buds” of female cannabis plants, the leaves contain some cannabinoids as well.
A common mistake that people make is trying to juice marijuana bought from a dispensary. But that is simply not going to work.
When making cannabis juice, you must use fresh leaves and flowers that have not been cured or aged. Otherwise, your juice will contain THC and CBD (instead of THCA and CBDA).
Ideally, you will want to get your plant material from a grower or, even better, grow your own at home.
What makes cannabis juice so unique is the high levels of acidic compounds, specifically THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid).
Fresh cannabis actually contains very little THC and CBD, but a much higher amount of these acids.
Cannabis plants produce cannabinoids in their acid forms, which are then converted to THC and CBD after being heated or aged. This process is known as decarboxylation and usually occurs when you smoke, vaporize or cook with cannabis.
Raw cannabis juice hasn’t gone through any sort of decarboxylation process, and therefore contains close to zero THC.
While much research has focused on THC and CBD, less is known about their acidic counterparts.
Benefits of Juicing Cannabis
Cannabis juice is believed to help with a wide range of health conditions, including depression, anxiety, dementia, stroke, insomnia, fatigue, cancer, pain, diabetes and immune system disorders.
One advantage of juicing cannabis is the lack of psychoactive effects. Without the high, patients are able to ingest larger doses of cannabinoids than they usually would.
“THCA is the real tricky molecule… Once it’s heated, it turns into THC and the tolerable dose drops from hundreds of milligrams a day to 10 milligrams.” – Dr. William Courtney
This makes juicing ideal for those who need to stay focused at work or have other reasons that prevent them from consuming THC. Raw cannabis juice may also be used as a dietary supplement.
Due to a lack of research, the benefits of cannabis juice are mostly anecdotal and based on patients’ stories.
Many people claim to have cured themselves of chronic diseases by drinking raw cannabis juice.
One of the most well-known advocates for cannabis juicing is Dr. William Courtney, a California physician who recommends the daily intake of raw cannabis as both a preventative medicine and dietary supplement.
Dr. Courtney’s wife, Kristen Courtney, also claims to have treated her systemic lupus with cannabis juice (using THCA-dominant plant matter).
After taking daily doses of cannabis juice, Kristen was able to stop taking prescription medications for her lupus and no longer experienced the pain and fatigue symptoms associated with the disease.
THCA and CBDA
While not a lot of research has been done on THCA, the few studies conducted on this cannabinoid suggest an array of benefits.
THCA has been shown to treat pain and inflammation, protect against nerve degeneration, lessen symptoms of nausea and appetite loss as well as act as an anti-proliferative against prostate cancer.
Cannabis juice is also rich in terpenes, which are the compounds that give marijuana its particular flavor or scent. They also have significant health properties, such as pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.
Lack of Research
Though there have been many claims on the efficacy of cannabis juice, it’s important to note that research on THCA and CBDA is still in its early stages.
In a 2006 study by Italian researchers titled Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma, CBD was actually found to be the most effective at reducing cancer cell proliferation, while CBDA was the least effective.
These findings seem to contradict the belief that raw cannabinoids are generally better for health. The study, however, did not include THCA.
Nevertheless, many advocates believe that raw cannabis juice can improve, support and even heal many aspects of the human body.
As more studies start to come out, cannabis juice will likely become more recognized among the medical community.
Effects and Safety Precautions
While the risks of drinking cannabis juice are very low, there are some things to keep in mind when adding it to your daily routine.
You don’t need to worry about overdosing on cannabis juice. According to Dr. Courtney, it is safe to ingest large doses of THCA and CBDA (600-1000mg/day) as a dietary supplement.
But it’s important to note that drinking cannabis juice will not provide the same kind of immediate relief as smoking or vaporizing. According to Dr. Courtney, some effects will be felt after three days, while others may not reveal themselves for a few weeks.
It usually takes about 4-8 weeks for the cannabinoids in cannabis juice to fully saturate the body’s fat tissue, even when taken daily.
“Full clinical benefit may take four to eight weeks to take effect. It takes that long for plant (phyto) cannabinoids to fully saturate the body’s adipose (fat) tissue.” – Dr. William Courtney
Dr. Courtney also warns against drinking cannabis juice if you’ve been diagnosed with a kidney or gallbladder disorder (such as hypercalciuria, enteric hyperoxaluria or primary hyperoxaluria).
Certain compounds in raw cannabis are known to interfere with liver enzymes which metabolize other drugs.
So if you take a medication that can be blocked by pomegranate or grapefruit juice or are currently on blood thinners, cannabis juice may not be right for you.
How to Juice Raw Cannabis
Anyone who has a juicer or blender at home can easily make their own cannabis juice. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you’re just starting out.
Blender vs. Juicer
Cannabis leaves are best juiced through a wheatgrass-style juicer.
On the other hand, when juicing flowers or buds, it’s best to use a blender and then strain out the pulp using a sieve or cheesecloth. This prevents the buds from getting caught in the filter of your juicer.
Alternatively, you could run the buds and leaves through a centrifugal or masticating juicer and then squeeze the pulp by hand to let out any remaining juice.
Masticating (cold-pressed) juicers are preferred when juicing cannabis since they operate at a lower temperature than centrifugal juicers. Because centrifugal juicers create heat, they could accidentally decarb the THCA in your plant material.
The amount of raw cannabis needed for juicing depends mostly on personal preference.
Dr. Courtney recommends juicing 15 leaves and 1-2 large buds per day, making sure that the trichomes of the buds are clear and not amber (which indicates decarboxylation).
Using a combination of leaves and buds ensures that your juice will contain high levels of both CBDA and THCA.
If your cannabis isn’t organic, it’s recommended that you soak the plant material in cold water to get rid of any pesticides or contaminants.
The Best Cannabis Juicing Recipes
Preparation time: 15 minutes
15-20 fresh cannabis leaves
1-2 raw buds
1 cup of water or vegetable/fruit juice
Metal strainer or cheesecloth
1. Remove stems and soak the leaves in cold water for 5 minutes.
2. Put cannabis leaves and buds in blender.
3. Add 1 cup of juice or water.
4. Blend on medium speed until smooth.
5. Strain into bowl using a metal strainer or cheesecloth. Squeeze pulp to release remaining juice and then discard.
6. Consume immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Juice Extractor Method
Preparation time: 15 minutes
15-20 fresh cannabis leaves
1-2 raw buds
Metal strainer or cheesecloth
1. Thoroughly wash your plant material and soak in cold water for 5 minutes.
2. Turn on the juicer and feed the leaves and bud through the chute.
3. Once the juice has been extracted, remove the pulp.
4. Squeeze pulp by hand over a cheesecloth or strainer to release remaining juice. Discard pulp.
5. Consume immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- You can add fruits, vegetables or other ingredients such as flaxseed, chia seed, or almond milk to mask the bitter taste of cannabis.
- Optionally, you can add raw cannabis to pretty much any smoothie recipe.
- Be sure to use frozen fruit to avoid the blender getting too hot and therefore decarboxylating the THCA.
- If you don’t plan on drinking the juice right away, you can freeze it into ice cubes to extend the storage life.
- When it comes to dosing, a juice made with 10g of cannabis flowers with 5% THC and 5% CBD will give you about 500mg of THCA and 500mg of CBDA.
- Rather than drinking it all at once, it’s best to divide your juice into smaller amounts (50-100 mL) to be taken throughout the day.