I have a goofy friend who insists that eating nugs is ok and I should do it too. Has he been smoking too much or is there some truth to that?
Thanks, Jeff in Phoenix
We all have those friends for sure. I hate to break it to ya but this time the goofy friend is absolutely right. We should all eat a nug every day. There are many benefits from consuming cannabis in the raw state. I’ll explain all the how’s and why’s but go find that goofy friend and share a nug salad with him.
Let me start this explanation with some key points about the difference between raw cannabis and cannabis that has been exposed to heat. When we talk about consuming raw cannabis, ideally we are talking about not cured/dried but even cured cannabis can provide benefits. Raw cannabis contains cannabinoids in their acidic form and exposing it to heat turns those cannabinoids to a neutral form.
I’m trying not to go too deep into my cannabis geek mind set, but raw cannabis contains THC-A which is not a psychoactive and will not cause the same “high” effects. Raw cannabis also contains lots of CBDA and CBGA. Why the discussion of acid vs neutral is important and comes into play when we talk about how much of each our bodies can metabolize.
Some studies show that our bodies can metabolize about 10mgs of the neutral form of cannabis, however when we consume cannabis in its raw, acid form, we can metabolize 500-1000 mgs. So when we smoke or have an edible we are leaving about 99% of the ‘health’ benefits of cannabis on the table. While there is no high, what we do retain is a big up in the antioxidant and neuroprotective benefits that studies have shown come into play in the 100’s of milligrams. Quite a difference if you’re looking for cannabis as a dietary supplement.
Let me be clear, I won’t be tossing my bong to the side for a raw nug. The uplifting psychoactive effects have never been a negative side effect of cannabis for me. I love the increased focus or sleepiness I can achieve by picking the right strain, and the pain relief isn’t something you can achieve as easily either. So if you’re wanting the ‘high’ (which is quite fine BTW) consuming raw cannabis won’t give you those effects. The great thing about cannabis is that there aren’t rules about doing both!
How would you consume this if you chose to do so? One way lots of people like to talk about is juicing the fan leaves of the plant. Here in Arizona, where most people can’t get access to fan leafs, it’s not an easy task. If you are able to, the fresher the better, just like any juicing venture. I’m not a juicer but if you own a fancy machine that’s what you’ll need to juice the leaves. The ones made for wheatgrass juicing would be great.
Since most of us don’t have access to fresh daily harvest of leaves or even fresh off the stem buds, most will be eating a regular dispensary nug. First off, I can’t stress enough to have the test results of anything you are consuming. You want to know the source and confirm this is a clean, chemical and mold free cannabis. Then, all you need to do is grind it up and add it to your smoothie or sprinkle it on your salad. Or do both. The grinding up is what helps release the terpenes for better absorption. I’d also forewarn you that it is high in fiber, so be careful with how much you consume.
I do have to add that I know someone in Phoenix who did a trial of what happens when you eat an entire ounce of raw cannabis. Yup, you heard me right. Someone donated an entire ounce for his experiment. You can find the video on Youtube just search for ‘Man Eats Ounce of Cannabis’. He summarizes his results by saying “he slept for 14 hours and woke up feeling great”. So there might be some psychoactive effects in large (huge) quantities. I think he had some negative side effects from the fiber but thankfully, I don’t recall.
That goofy friend wants you to have all the dietary benefits from consuming the raw plant which include Vitamin C, fiber and Anthocyanin, the purple colored food vitamin found in purple cabbage and eggplant and purple cannabis which is great for your heart and immune system. Also neuroprotectants, antioxidants and most importantly a super healthy endocannabinoid system.
Jeff, I think we need to rename your goofy friend to captain healthy cannabis man.
Stay Lifted, Mama
Laura Mastropietro, former cannabis co-op grower and patient advocate, consultant, Edible Chef for two edible lines, featured in ‘Cannabis Saved my Life’ by Elizabeth Limbach, currently curates a learning hub called PotofWellness.com, stays active in the cannabis community while running a restaurant and commercial bakery in beautiful Sedona Arizona. Wife, Mother, Grandmother, with a full beautiful life and toss in a life altering disease, cannabis is the magic that helps her keep it all going. Have a cannabis question? Send it to Dear Mama at firstname.lastname@example.org