Even with rigid laws against edibles in Canada, Canadian stoners continued to convert their cannabis bud into oils and butter. These cooking oils are then made to craft the most delectable infused treats. This process generally involves decarboxylating the cannabis, which turns the THCa into THC. It is through this heating that cannabis transitions from raw to a product that gives us that familiar psychoactive high. Since getting high has long been the purpose, it is only now that the status quo is beginning to ask what raw cannabis can do for our health.
Whether it is in the raw, cured, or decarboxylated form; cannabis is chalk-full of compounds called cannabinoids. One of the differences in these forms is the amounts and types of cannabinoids in each. When decarboxylated, THCa drops the acid and becomes THC. This means that it is now a compound that interacts with our brains in a psychoactive way. Simply put, now the cannabis can get us high. We decarb our bud when we light it with a lighter, or when we heat it before baking with the herb. When left raw, however, cannabis leaves and flowers have their own benefits.
There is talk in the community that eating cannabis leaves raw lets us take in more THCa, and in turn brings many health benefits. Like the other major cannabinoids, THCa and it’s constituent CBDa are heavily saturated in antioxidants. Recent studies in the last few years also suggest that these unheated cannabinoids may have a positive effect on those battling various forms of cancer. It could be that a majority of the benefits are related to the heavily saturated antioxidants that increase the body’s efficiency. These cleansing properties can jump start toxic accumulation in the body. Raw cannabis leaves are best enjoyed in smoothies, salads, or even juiced.
Cara Wietstock is a native Californian living in Washington state with almost a decade of budtender experience and even more stoner experience. While she's not pontificating on the current state of cannabis for Roottie, she is practicing yoga, sipping CBD infused teas and hiking through the Pacific Northwest.