Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 05/19/2017 in Consumption
Updated on January 4, 2020.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Juicing is a popular diet trend worldwide, lauded for dietary benefits. It should come as no surprise, then, that the juicing trend has spread to marijuana products. Today, medical marijuana patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals are looking into the benefits of juicing cannabis — and they’re finding promising results on all fronts.
What Is Cannabis Juicing?
Cannabis juicing is very similar to vegetable juicing, in principle.
Many vegetables lose some of their beneficial properties when heated. The heat causes many enzymes and nutrients to degrade. The cannabis plant behaves much the same way — the cannabinoids in the plant degrade when heat is applied to it.
Cannabis also contains many other beneficial nutrients, like iron and calcium, which marijuana smokers miss. When juiced, however, medical marijuana users benefit from a nutritionally-dense product.
The Benefits of Juicing Cannabis
While medical cannabis can be smoked or vaporized to take advantage of the plant’s healing properties, juicing offers significant additional benefits over these methods, including the following:
Avoid the High
While many people like the psychoactive effects of cannabis, some prefer to avoid them — especially those who have to work or go to school while using marijuana treatments. Juicing can, therefore, be a useful treatment for these individuals. Heat degrades the THCA in raw cannabis to THC, the psychoactive variation. Juicing eliminates the use of heat, providing a person’s cannabinoid dose without the high.
Ingest Higher Doses
Avoiding the high makes it easier for individuals to get higher doses of medically-important cannabinoids. Dr. William Courtney, the founder of the Cannabis International Foundation, promotes juicing specifically for this reason.
When you smoke cannabis, the THC blocks the receptors that take in cannabinoids, reducing the number of cannabinoids your body can absorb to around 10mg at a time. When you juice marijuana, you avoid taking in heat-activated THC, leaving these receptors open to absorb more cannabinoids. This can increase your absorbed dosage to five- or six-hundred milligrams, which in turn enhances the medical and nutritional benefits of cannabinoids, allowing patients to benefit more from the treatment.
Cannabis juice is a more versatile form of cannabis, allowing the user to mix the substance with any number of ingredients to make for an enjoyable experience. You can even incorporate it into a smoothie on hot summer days. It’s also easier to transport and take on-the-go, while smoking and vaporizing can pose an inconvenience outside the home.
Smoking cannabis, while it’s a more “traditional” way to ingest the plant, can pose problems for many medical marijuana users. Many children using medical marijuana to treat epilepsy or autism can’t or won’t smoke, while many adult users with asthma or sensitive airways may have trouble inhaling the smoke.
Smoking marijuana can also irritate the user’s airways, leading to chronic bronchitis and other respiratory issues. Juicing poses a valuable alternative. It allows users to benefit from the plant without the problematic respiratory side-effects of smoking.
While smoked cannabis is widely regarded as a valid treatment option for chronic diseases like epilepsy and cancer, you avoid several nutritional benefits when you smoke marijuana instead of eating it. Adding cannabis to your diet helps maintain health and prevent disease by providing nutrients like fiber, iron and calcium. Cannabis also contains fatty acids, which are known to improve cellular function.
Cannabinoids themselves possess additional properties. They act as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and neuroprotective agents. In all, these features make raw cannabis a formidable dietary supplement.
Cannabis is widely promoted for its medicinal properties. These include cannabis’ ability to assist with immune system functions. The plant also helps reduce inflammation, improve bone metabolism and enhance neural-function. Some research has even shown that marijuana helps inhibit cancer growth.
These benefits stem from how cannabinoids behave in our bodies. Everyone has natural endocannabinoids already functioning in their bodies, regulating and fine-tuning immune, nerve and bone functions. These endocannabinoids are bolstered by the introduction of plant cannabinoids, optimizing endocannabinoid function and improving the function of these systems overall.
How to Juice Cannabis
Juicing cannabis takes more than throwing dried bud into a blender. Cannabis juice requires raw, fresh-picked cannabis, grown properly and devoid of pesticides and other contaminants. The process goes as follows:
1. Obtain Fresh Cannabis
Dried marijuana — the kind you’d use for smoking — can’t be used for juicing. Instead, find raw cannabis, and the fresher, the better. Unfortunately, most dispensaries don’t supply raw cannabis on a regular basis. If you can’t find a supplier, you may need to grow your own, like most patients and caregivers. Be sure to choose raw buds from flowers that are harvested when the THC glands are clear, rather than an amber color.
2. Portion the Cannabis
Typically, each serving of cannabis juice requires fifteen leaves and two large buds. Each bud should be from two to four inches long. Again, try to pick these the same day you’ll be using them.
3. Juice the Cannabis
Process your cannabis using a juicing machine, making sure the machine is clean and properly prepared for juicing.
4. Dilute With Another Juice
Pure cannabis juice is extremely acidic, so diluting it is highly recommended. Use another vegetable juice, like carrot juice, and mix the two at a ratio of 1 part cannabis juice to 10 parts vegetable juice. Try to avoid diluting with juice that’s high in sugar.
5. Portion Your Juice
Rather than drink your juice all at once, split your juice drink into three portions to drink with each meal. Be sure to refrigerate the remaining portions to preserve the juice’s nutritional properties. If you’re making a larger batch, split the juice drink into three-per-day portions. Each container should be tightly sealed and placed in the refrigerator until use. Avoid making more than three days’ worth of juice.