Consuming Raw Cannabis

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I’ve written before about the “entourage effect,” a premise that states:  The effect of the parts of the cannabis plant together are greater than the whole. What this means is that when you consume all components of cannabis (cannabinoids, terpenes, and nutrients), the parts work synergistically to create a total effect that would be greater than if you only took individual parts of the plant.

As an example, you might be taking CBD drops and while they might help you, you also might be doing your body more good if you took a product that had a little bit of other cannabis components in it.

Enter eating raw cannabis.

Say what?

Now hear me out, there’s actually scientific evidence (as well as circumstantial evidence in the form of personal stories) that eating raw cannabis does a body good. It seems to be especially beneficial for people with chronic pain and inflammation.

Cannabis leaves contain plant cannabinoids that are specific to the plant. They are also chock full of good plant nutrients.

Cannabis flower contain THCA which is an excellent anti-inflammatory. THCA is THC (the component that give you the “high”) before it is decarboxylated. The way you decarboxylate THCA (get that little extra A-acid to release) is to use heat, either by flame (smoking) or by heating the product. So by eating the flower raw and unheated you are making sure that you get a good dose of THCA.

Cannabis flower also contains CBDA – the precursor to decarboxylated CBD and is another good anti-inflammatory.

By consuming raw flower you are getting a big dose of THCA and CBDA — and here’s the kicker: You are also consuming the rest of those components (cannabinoids and terpenes) which will work together to give you an effect greater than the whole.

So how do you consume raw cannabis?

If you have access to cannabis plants you can throw a handful of leaves into a smoothie (note there is little to no THC in the leaves so you won’t get “high” from doing this, but you could possibly test positive on a drug test) or you can add a few leaves to a salad or to what you are cooking. This would be like what our elders did when they added dandelion leaves to salads and cooking, it’s a way to get an extra boost of nutrients.

You can also ingest raw cannabis flower. Do this by grinding the flower and using a tiny “Pinch” measuring spoon (about 1/16th of a teaspoon.) If you are going to do this, personal stories recommend taking a pinch serving two to three times a day about 6 hours apart. You can place the cannabis in a capsule or you can just sprinkle the ground flower in your food or just take it straight.

If you are ingesting raw leaves or flower for health reasons, it’s important to keep track of your symptoms in a journal. Chances are you won’t feel anything (euphoria) when you ingest raw cannabis, but after a few days of doing this, you might notice that your symptoms are decreasing or going away. It’s not so much what you feel as much as it is what you no longer feel after starting this protocol.

For those of us with chronic pain and inflammation, eating raw cannabis is certainly another tool that we can use in our health journeys.


Wendy E. N. Thomas is a candidate for the New Hampshire House of Representatives Hillsborough County, District 21. She is also in the NH Therapeutic Cannabis program. Wendy agrees with the State-wide Democratic platform of legalizing cannabis in New Hampshire, she would also like to see the Therapeutic Cannabis program expanded to include Anxiety, Lyme Disease, and insomnia (for starters.)

Wendy also understands that people need to know about what cannabis can do, how to keep it away from children, and how to use it responsibly (in the same way that the alcohol industry talks about responsible drinking.)

All opinions reflected in this article and any future articles on the Democratic cannabis platform are the opinions of Candidate Thomas and do not reflect any company or industry.

Wendy works at Prime ATC in Merrimack as a Patient Liaison. The contents of this article are not sanctioned by Prime ATC or any of its affiliates.