Raw Cannabis Juice - the next level of medical cannabis?
A recent buzz around the internet is the discovery of raw cannabis juice as a nutritious and highly medicinal super drink. The mind behind the juice is Dr. William Courtney, a California physician who has been working with medical cannabis for decades. Looking at the history of cannabis, its use as a medicine dates back as far as the times of Jesus when the holy ointment was the latest craze. In more recent times, a plethora of independent research has affirmed the broad medical qualities of the herb. Cannabinoids - particularly CBD - have been shown to be effective in reducing epileptic seizures, controlling diabetes and even shrinking tumours. Anecdotal evidence and maybe even personal experience seem to confirm these claims.
From oil to juice?
It is always exiting to see new developments in the field of medical cannabis. When it comes to increasing the medical qualities of cannabis while keeping the psychoactive effects at bay, then smoking is definitely not the best way to go. Recently, the Rick Simpson oil has been making the rounds due to the documentary „Run from the cure“, which shows the incredible curative effects of the extract. Yet, the procedure to make the oil is not without its dangers and it requires a skilled approach. Particularly in this regard, juicing raw cannabis would be an easy solution for medical cannabis patients, who wish to prepare their medicine fresh in the kitchen. But can the cannabis juice buzz really deliver on its promises?
Medical activity of CBD and CBDA
To start with, lets look at the basics. Before cannabis is heated, the cannabinoids in the fresh, raw plant appear in their acid forms. THC as THCA, and CBD as CBDA - both are non-psychoactive at this stage. Only when heated, they are converted into delta-9 THC and CBD, their psychoactive form. Essentially the claim is, that the raw form as THCA and CBDA are as medically active as their psychoactive counterparts. And, since they are non-psychoactive, you can consume them in much larger quantities and hence get a stronger medical effect. Now, we do know that THCA and CBDA in their raw state are not psychoactive. But are they medicinally active?
Dr. Sean McAllister from the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco has conducted research on CBD and tumours. At at a conference in Tucson, USA, Dr. McAllister stated that „CBD and THC are potent inhibitors of breast cancer cell proliferation, metastasis, and tumor formation. [...] But compared to CBD, CBDA had negligible effects in cell viability assay against multiple cancers. We therefore never took a great interest in the molecule.”
In a 2006 study titled “Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma" a research group around Alessia Ligresti and a team of Italian scientists compared the effects of CBD and CBDA on breast cancer. They concluded that „Cannabidiol [CBD] always exhibited the highest potency [...] Cannabidiol acid [CBDA] was the least potent compound. Among the other plant cannabinoids, cannabigerol [CBG] was almost always the second most potent compound, followed by cannabichromene [CBC].”
That doesn‘t look good for the juice. That being said, it is important to note that CBD and THC are by far not the only active ingredients - from the 480 natural compounds discovered in the cannabis plant, some 85 of them are classified as cannabinoids. While already a substantial amount of research has been done, much more needs to come. At this moment we have to assume, that cannabis juice doesn‘t hold up the the buzz. It is still early days, in the future raw cannabis juice may be proven to have many therapeutic benefits, but for now we advise a healthy degree of skepticism until more research is available. There are still many other ways to get your healthy dose of CBD.