Think you can only benefit from hemp by vaping, smoking, or using a CBD tincture or topical? Think again. There are some serious benefits that can be found by consuming raw hemp leaves. Raw cannabis is actually so good for you that some might even consider it a superfood.
It’s true. And not very surprising when you think of the myriad of benefits the hemp plant contains.
When we look at the Cannabis sativa plant (which includes both marijuana and hemp) from a nutritional perspective, it’s more “leafy green vegetable” than it is “weed,” and it’s actually extremely healthy.
If cannabis is so good for you, can you eat raw hemp leaves like you would spinach or kale?
Let’s take a closer look.
The Health Benefits of Raw Hemp Leaves
Nature truly provides us with almost everything we need to maintain great health. There are several medicinal plants that can be found throughout nature, and as we all know, cannabis is certainly no exception.
Not surprisingly (considering the myriad of benefits contained in CBD), hemp leaves pack a powerful nutritional punch. The leaves of the cannabis plant are full of iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, fiber and phosphorous.
Raw hemp leaves are also full of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants known for their effects on aging skin as well as their ability to protect against the development of several different diseases. Raw hemp is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and rich in digestible globular proteins.
To say that raw hemp is healthy is almost a bit of an understatement.
Let’s take a closer look.
What Makes Raw Hemp Healthy?
Aside from its amazing nutritional profile, there are a few components of the raw hemp plant that make it such an amazing plant to consume in its natural state. These include:
The primary cannabinoids in raw cannabis leaves are CBDa and THCa. The “A” at the end of these cannabinoids stands for “acid” and denotes that the cannabinoid is in its acidic state. In order to experience the psychoactive effects of marijuana, THCA must be heated, a process known as decarboxylation.
Raw hemp leaves are primarily dominant in CBDa. While CBD is known for some serious benefits of its own, CBDa could also contain beneficial properties.
Aside from super-beneficial CBDA, raw hemp leaves are still full of the natural terpenes contained in the plant itself. Terpenes are the aromatic chemicals found in several different plants that provide a distinct aroma and taste. Earthy sage. Zesty orange. Spicy cinnamon. It’s all in the terpenes.
Terpenes bring some powerful benefits of their own to the table. Some of the most common terpenes found in raw cannabis and hemp include:
Chlorophyll is what’s responsible for giving hemp is green pigmentation. While typically chlorophyll is removed from CBD products, hemp leaves are packed with it. What makes chlorophyll so good for your health? Research shows that chlorophyll is beneficial for the following:
So, Can You Eat Raw Hemp Leaves?
If you can get your hands on some, raw hemp leaves can be an amazing addition to an already healthy lifestyle.
Dr. William L. Courtney is an expert in raw cannabis, whose area of special interest is in the dietary uses of cannabis to achieve 250-500mg cannabinoid acids, which he contends is an essential nutrient in the diet of individuals in their 4th decade and older.
Courtney believes that the “raw” version of cannabinoids helps activate the endocannabinoid system more effectively than when it is dried, cured and heated.
How to Eat Raw Hemp Leaves
Ever tasted raw hemp?
It’s a bit bitter, to say the least. For those of you who enjoy a bitter green (think dandelion, arugula, endive and others), raw hemp leaves could be a welcome addition to a fresh green salad. For those of you who can’t stomach bitter greens, we feel you. That’s why adding raw hemp leaves to a smoothie or juice is our favorite way to consume raw hemp leaves.
If you’re into juicing, think of raw hemp leaves as a huge powerhouse of nutrition. Whatever your favorite juice recipe may be, simply add a handful of hemp leaves (1-2 cups) along with your other ingredients. You’ll get all the benefits of the raw hemp leaves without their bitter taste. Our go-to juice contains a healthy amount of raw hemp leaves, cucumber, carrot, apple and ginger.
Not a big fan of juicing? Try adding your raw hemp leaves to a smoothie instead. We love smoothies. What an easy and great-tasting way to get the nutrients you need! You can experiment with CBD superfood smoothie recipes by tossing a handful of raw hemp leaves into the blender. The other ingredients blended into these drinks mask the bitter taste of the raw hemp leaves, while the hemp leaves offer increased nutritional benefits.
Of course, if you wanted, you could always just eat them raw right off the plant itself.
Are Raw Hemp Leaves Right for You?
While raw hemp leaves aren’t likely to be sold in your local produce section anytime soon, eating raw hemp leaves offers some pretty significant health benefits. Raw hemp leaves are such a powerful source of nutrition that some even consider them a superfood.
Full of fiber, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and more, raw hemp has you covered as far as nutrition is concerned. Add the rich amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids combined with the antioxidant effects of the polyphenols raw hemp leaves contains, and you’ve got yourself an extremely healthy addition to your juice, smoothie or salad.
So, can you eat raw hemp leaves? If you can get your hands on some raw hemp leaves, go for it!
Not only can you 100% eat raw hemp leaves, but your body will likely thank you for it.
Here’s to your health!
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Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.