Three Delicious Raw Cannabis Smoothie Recipes

smoothie

It was once a common assumption within the cannabis community that plant cannabinoids aren’t “activated” or useful until they are “decarbed” — short for decarboxylated — which refers to the process of heating cannabis before it is consumed. But that notion has proven to be way off the mark.

The major and minor cannabinoids in raw, unprocessed cannabis plants are found in their acid form: THCA, CBDA, CBGA, CBCA, and THCVA. When decarboxylated at a particular temperature, these cannabinoid acids are converted into their neutral counterparts: THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, THCV, etc. (and the ‘A’ vanishes). This process also occurs naturally, though much more slowly, as dried cannabis ages.

Jump to raw cannabis smoothie recipes.

Cannabinoid Acids

Thus far, medical scientists have focused primarily on the therapeutic properties of decarbed or neutral cannabinoids. But increasingly, researchers, physicians, and patients are recognizing the value of cannabinoid acids as well as other compounds found in the raw cannabis plant, which contains various enzymes, vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, flavonoids, carotenoids, terpenes, and other polyphenols.

Concentrated in the resinous trichomes of raw cannabis flowers and to a lesser extent on the leaves, cannabinoid acids such as THCA and CBDA offer a robust cornucopia of health benefits without any intoxicating effect. What’s more, cannabinoid acids are more easily absorbed than their decarbed versions.

Several studies have shown that THCA, a neuroprotectant, has immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antiseizure, and antineoplastic activity, while CBDA is a potent antiemetic and anticonvulsant. Dr. Dustin Sulak, an integrative physician and medical cannabis expert based in Maine, observes that “CBDA is stronger and more potent than CBD, not just because it’s getting absorbed better but because it is acting more powerfully.”

Beyond the Bud

Each part of the cannabis plant contains its own distinctive chemistries, and these may interact synergistically, increasing the therapeutic potential of the whole plant beyond the benefits of a single compound or botanical constituent. That includes all the components of raw cannabis not just the flowers:

  • Cannabis shade leaves. Although they generally possess little cannabinoid content, cannabis leaves contain other beneficial compounds, including alkaloids, flavonoids, resins, and terpenes. Plentiful and relatively easy to obtain, shade leaves are also high in chlorophyll, which has an array of useful properties that promote wound and skin healing and help to detoxify the body from heavy metals. Many so-called folk remedies involve the use of raw cannabis leaves to treat various conditions. A study in the African Journal of Traditional, Alternative and Complementary Medicine mentions an effective traditional treatment for tuberculosis using cannabis leaf macerated in warm water, as administered by Bapedi healers of Limpopo province, South Africa.
  • Cannabis roots. Cannabis roots contain no phytocannabinoids, but they produce triterpenoids such as friedelin, which has anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, anticarcinogenic, and antimicrobial effects. And epifriedelanol, another triterpenoid found in cannabis roots, has anticancer and cytoprotective properties that could be useful in treating aging-related diseases, according to a review by Ethan Russo and Jahan Marcu in Advanced Pharmacology.
  • Cannabis and hemp seeds. Raw cannabis and hemp seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and are among the world’s most nutritious foods. An article by Jace Calloway in Euphytica reports that these nutrient-packed seeds have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Hemp seeds are rich in essential fatty acids that are metabolized into building blocks of the endocannabinoid system. Add hemp hearts (hulled hemp seeds) to your smoothie or sprinkle some on salads and vegetable dishes. You can also sprout cannabis seeds just as you would wheatgrass or other greens and juice them. Cannabis sprout juice is especially high in beneficial compounds. Cut the sprouts when they are four-to-five inches tall and juice away.

Fresh From the Garden

Where can you get fresh cannabis? The most obvious answer is to grow your own (if you live in a US state that allows this) or ask a grower friend for some trimmings. While the plant is still in the ground you may want to preserve the flowering colas for a ripe final product. Trimming some of the smaller buds for juicing won’t interfere with this and can actually increase the size and potency of the colas, so consider trimming from the lower branches.

(Many thanks to Cora Genetics for generously donating fresh cannabis so Project CBD could develop several smoothie recipes.)

When juicing or adding fresh cannabis in smoothies, make sure to use organic, unsprayed, freshly picked and washed flowers and leaves. The best flowers for juicing have sticky, resin-rich trichomes that have ripened to a milky or cloudy color. Leaves should be deep green and healthy looking. Roots should be washed and scrubbed well. Seeds generally don’t need washing but should be unsprayed, clean, and sorted.

It’s best to use your raw cannabis plant material soon after picking. If you don’t use it right away, keep it in an airtight bag in the fridge for a week or two. You can also freeze raw cannabis for later use. Note that the leaves and flowers will turn a darker color, but the compounds will stay fresh for several months in a well-sealed container. Another option is to juice or puree fresh cannabis and freeze it in ice-cube trays; just pop a few into a beverage. Cannabis puree can also be added to pesto!

Straight Shots & Mocktails

You can drink straight “shots” of fresh cannabis juice or add the freshly pressed juice to a smoothie or other drink. Even a mocktail can be doctored up with a jigger of C-juice. If you want a smooth, pulp-free juice, use a cold-process juicer such as a Champion or another type that removes the fiber.

If you aren’t afraid of a little texture, add whole, raw flowers, leaves, or a piece of cannabis root to your smoothie and you’ll gain all the benefits plus a fiber boost. It won’t feel like you’re gulping down a mouthful of grass clippings if you use a good-quality, high-speed blender that can pulverize the plant fiber to a fine, smooth consistency. (Note: stick or immersion blenders generally don’t work for this purpose.)

If you haven’t consumed raw cannabis before, it’s best to start slow. It won’t make you feel intoxicated, but some people may be allergic or extra sensitive to raw cannabis. Discontinue using if you have an adverse reaction. And keep in mind, if you are preparing a recipe with cannabinoid acid-rich flowers and decide to heat it, you will end up decarboxylating the cannabinoids and the THCA will turn into THC, “the High Causer.”

There’s no better way to level up on your micronutrients than with a swig of cold, freshly pressed cannabis juice or a raw cannabis smoothie. Project CBD has developed three, dare I say, delicious cannabis smoothie recipes for you to try. Give them a go, and let us know what you think!


Recipe: Virgin Mary Jane

Perfect for a warm afternoon, this ice-cold, zesty, savory beverage is chock full of veggies and spices that jive perfectly with fresh cannabis. Dial up the veggies if you want a thicker, gazpacho-like texture, or add more chili if you like it extra spicy. For a delicious mocktail, add a splash of lime-flavored kombucha or non-alcoholic beer and you’ve got yourself a virgin Red Eye. With so much flavor, it’ll feel like you’re getting away with something. Serves two.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packed cup or more of fresh cannabis, torn into rough pieces: flowers, leaves, or a mix
  • I stalk of celery, including leaves, diced, plus two stalks for serving
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • ½ bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 sprigs cilantro, leaves and stem, roughly chopped, plus some extra sprigs for serving
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon diced shallot or red onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled (optional)
  • ½ to 1 japapeño or serrano chili, seeded and diced (optional)
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt or ground celery seed
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste (Tabasco or other)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 16 ounces of low-sodium tomato juice

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a blender, adjusting seasonings and adding more juice if needed. Serve over ice in tall glasses with a celery stalk and a sprig or two of cilantro.


Recipe: Berry Cannalicious

Dark-colored berries are packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, and studies have shown that regular intake of flavonoids reduces the rate of cognitive decline in older adults, making this the perfect anti-aging smoothie. A splash of cherry or pomegranate juice, or hibiscus tea, adds even more flavor, color, and nutrients. You can tailor this smoothie to your sweetness quotient and sprinkle in some medicinal mushroom powder for more brain boost. Drink this smoothie and you just might live forever. And it tastes amazing! Serves two.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packed cup or more of fresh cannabis, torn into rough pieces: flowers, leaves, or a mix
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups mixed frozen berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and/or cherries
  • ¾ cup of dark cherry or pomegranate juice, or cold, unsweetened hibiscus tea (you can find dried hibiscus flowers at your local Mexican market)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond, cashew, soy, rice or other plant-based milk
  • Honey, 2-3 pitted medjool dates, or stevia to taste
  • Optional: Two teaspoons of mixed dried medicinal mushroom powder

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, adding more liquid as needed. Serve in tall glasses.


Recipe: Tropic of Canna

This creamy smoothie is a beautiful, bright green color, and full of the tropical fruit flavors of mango, papaya, and pineapple. Throw in some hemp seeds for a fatty acid boost, or strawberries and mint to your liking. Guaranteed to transport you to a tropical island with the best waves for mind/body surfing. Serves two.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packed cup or more of fresh cannabis, torn into rough pieces: flowers, leaves, or a mix
  • 2 cups mixed frozen mango, pineapple, papaya, and/or strawberry
  • 1-inch piece of fresh, raw ginger root, diced
  • 2 cups or more of coconut water, plant-based milk or water
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw hemp seeds, optional
  • Honey, 2-3 pitted medjool dates, or stevia to taste
  • Couple of mint leaves for flavor and/or garnish (optional)

Directions: Blend all ingredients until smooth, adding more liquid or fruit to get the desired consistency. Serve in tall glasses with optional mint garnish.


Melinda Misuraca is a Project CBD contributing writer with a past life as an old-school cannabis farmer specializing in CBD-rich cultivars. © Copyright, Project CBD. May not be reprinted without permission.


References

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  • B.S. Audu, P.C. Ofojekwu, A. Ujah, M.N.O. Ajima. Phytochemical, proximate composition, amino acid profile and characterization of Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) The Journal of Phytopharmacology. 2014 3(1): 35-43.
  • Callaway, J. Hempseed as a nutritional resource: An overview. Euphytica. 2004 140. 65-72.
  • Dawidowicz AL, Olszowy-Tomczyk M, Typek R. CBG, CBD, Δ9-THC, CBN, CBGA, CBDA and Δ9-THCA as antioxidant agents and their intervention abilities in antioxidant action. Fitoterapia. 2021 Jul;152:104915.
  • Devore EE, Kang JH, Breteler MM, Grodstein F. Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol. 2012 Jul;72(1):135-43.
  • Pellesi L, Licata M, Verri P, Vandelli D, Palazzoli F, Marchesi F, Cainazzo MM, Pini LA, Guerzoni S. Pharmacokinetics and tolerability of oral cannabis preparations in patients with medication overuse headache (MOH)-a pilot study. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2018 Nov;74(11):1427-1436.
  • Russo EB, Marcu J. Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads. Advanced Pharmacology. 2017 80:67-134.
  • Semenya SS, Maroyi A. Medicinal plants used for the treatment of tuberculosis by Bapedi traditional healers in three districts of the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2012 Dec 31;10(2):316-23.
  • Takeda S, Okajima S, Miyoshi H, Yoshida K, Okamoto Y, Okada T, Amamoto T, Watanabe K, Omiecinski CJ, Aramaki H. Cannabidiolic acid, a major cannabinoid in fiber-type cannabis, is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration. Toxicol Lett. 2012 Nov 15;214(3):314-9.
  • Yang HH, Son JK, Jung B, Zheng M, Kim JR. Epifriedelanol from the root bark of Ulmus davidiana inhibits cellular senescence in human primary cells. Planta Med. 2011 Mar;77(5):441-9. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/chlorophyll-metallo-chlorophyll-derivatives#supplements

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