I Made a Raw Cannabis Smoothie To Prove I Can Be Healthy Too
Is eating raw weed actually that much better for you?
My diet sucks. I’m 27 and still order chicken fingers and styrofoam boxes of greasy takeout-trash a few nights a week. And Friday through Sunday, 90 percent of what goes into my mouth is first dipped in ranch dressing, or comes wrapped in a tortilla. A flour tortilla. I even get white rice, instead of brown, and drink Diet Coke on most days, Dr. Pepper on the rest. I’ve eaten an ice-cream sandwich for breakfast on more than one occasion. When I start to feel as if I’ve caught scurvy (if that’s still a thing?), I’ll go to Whole Foods, or like, snack on a banana. But, man, it sure does take a lot for me to finish a cold-pressed juice. I’m drinking one right now––carrot, cucumber, olive, basil, barf(?)––and it just feels wrong. If only I could survive on cigarettes and soda-pop, I’d be set.
Which is why it’s pretty tight that marijuana is good for you, because I consume a lot of that stuff. And the word on the weed-Internet is: Ingesting raw cannabis might actually be healthy too.
But did it get me high? No. But that also wasn't really the point.
If you search the Internet for raw- cannabis juice recipes, one of the first names you'll find talking weed smoothies is Dr. William Courtney––a Northern California-based dietary specialist and marijuana-researcher. Courtney says juicing raw cannabis, or blending dried flower into a smoothie, is the bees’ knees, and will unlock more of weed’s magical healing powers than smoking, vaping, or baking it:
“You are actually walking away from 99% of the benefits cannabis provides when you cook or smoke cannabis.”
Right on. But just why is raw cannabis so much more nutritious than smoked herb? What makes weed the “most important vegetable on the planet?”
Pre-decarboxylated cannabis (Re: weed you haven't lit yet) contains the non-psychoactive, acidic elements: THCA and CBDA, which precede delta-9-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol); and CBD. The latter is widely (and legally) used as a medical treatment for everything from joint-pain to symptoms related to cancer, to social anxiety. And the former is, well, old news entirely. Weed-juicing enthusiasts who ascribe to Courtney’s raw theory, swear by it, but they’re not scientists. And all weed is different, no matter how fresh it might be, cannabis plant matter can still contain pesticides.
In conversation with BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin, Michael Backes of Sacramento-based Abatin Wellness Center, a medical marijuana provider to patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, makes a veritable counterpoint to the pro-raw-cannabis-juicing narrative:
“The primary advantage of raw fresh cannabis is found in its predominance of THCA and its lack of psychoactive THC. . . But the medical benefits of large doses of acidic cannabinoids have not been subjected to controlled clinical trials. The evidence at this point is anecdotal. And if someone is not harvesting the cannabis fresh and consuming it immediately, then there is a risk of significant THC intoxication.”
So, I thought it was high time to give it a try. Of course, like most of my cooking––which, if I'm being honest, is usually just re-heating some kind of takeout in the microwave––this weed-juice-smoothie-mashup didn't follow any kind of recipe.
You will need the raw cannabis leaves or fresh trimmings, a juicer or a food processor, but the rest is up to you. For this experience––which was intended to be a break from the drive-thru poison that I normally eat––I threw in an apple, a pear, some apple juice, ice, and some Cretan honey to cut the acidity of the fruit.
The above photo captures the only moment of the afternoon in which this weed-drink looked or smelled remotely appetizing.
But the reality of the post-food-processor-situation was: This smoothie sucked, and it sucked hard. I didn't drink much of it. After pouring the weed-sludge that wasn't going to get me high into one of my roommate's water-bottle-cup things––I took four or five sips, tops. Terpene-rich is not how I would describe this raw marijuana juice. It was––for lack of a better term––just whatevs, with no shade being thrown at the weed. (Thanks, GanjaGold!)
I took the drink onto my balcony, lit a cigarette, looked out over the Los Angeles skyline, took one more gulp, before coming to the realization that: Even when weed is involved, I'm not a juice guy. I didn't feel any healthier––to be fair, the whole juicing craze is more of a regiment, than a one-and-done type deal. Of course, green foods, even cannabis, are good for you. But did it get me high? No. But that also wasn't really the point.
The drink sat lifeless on my kitchen counter for the rest of the evening, as if it was mocking me for spending an afternoon pointing my DSLR camera at fruits and weed and a food processor. Such is life. And since it was Halloween, I hollered at this THC-infused, cold-pressed, raw-cannabis, orange juice shot.
Do you want to try a weed smoothie? Or cold-pressed, raw-cannabis juice? Make it at home. Go bananas. Just do you. But if bougie canna-juice-bars begin popping up in weed-legal states such as Colorado, Oregon, Washington, or (fingers crossed) California––run for the hills.