Raw cannabis is considered by many experts as a dietary essential. As a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, some classify it as one of the most important plants on earth. The biggest benefits from the plant may come not by smoking it, but rather by consuming it in its raw and natural form. So what's the difference?
CBD (Cannabidiol), one of the main constituents of the cannabis plant has been proven medically to relieve many diseases including the inhibition of cancer cell growth. Recent studies have shown it to be an effective atypical anti-psychotic in treating schizophrenia. CBD also interferes with the amount of THC your brain processes, balancing the psychotropic effect of marijuana.
“If cannabis were discovered in an Amazon rainforests today, people would be clambering to make as much use as they could out of the potential benefits of the plant,” said Donald L. Abrams, MD, Chief of Hematology and Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University California. Dr. Abrams is widely known for his research on medical cannabis applications. "Unfortunately, it carries with it a long and not so long history of being a persecuted plant," he added.
Why raw? Heat destroys certain enzymes and nutrients in plants. Incorporating raw cannabis allows for a greater availability of those elements. Those who require large amounts of cannabinoids without the psychoactive effects need to look no further than raw cannabis. In this capacity, it can be used at 60 times more tolerance than if it were heated.
Dr. William L. Courtney, MD, featured in the video above is a dietary raw cannabis specialist who prescribes the treatment for a variety of diseases. He
was one of the first to present works regarding the benefits of raw cannabis juice.
Five years ago, while still a regular physician, Courtney was as spooked as most doctors about pot. Then he came across an article in the December 2004 issue of Scientific American. It changed his life. The article highlighted a molecule in cannabis that could do something he had never seen before: send signals not only into a nerve cell, but also back out again.
The finding reversed 20 years of his understanding of how neurotransmitters work. One-way traffic was the basis for inflammation: Immune cells receive endless messages to get cracking, none to calm down. Continuous attacking can inflame otherwise healthy tissue. Two-way communication makes possible a feedback loop, encouraging a modulation, the promise of which swept over the Michigan-born microbiology major with the force of religion. "My God," he said. "It's the basis of health."
His greatest proof that it works? A miracle patient named Kristen Peskuski. Pekuski, by her own admission, had always been sickly. Throughout her life she suffered from hypoglycemia, endometriosis, rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, chronic bacterial infections, systemic lupus, chronic sinusitis, interstitial cystitis, and a host of other serious conditions. She saw doctors in some of the best hospitals around the country and was at one time taking over 40 prescription medications a day. Not a single doctor was able to diagnose the root of her illnesses, instead focusing on treating whatever ailment she was suffering from momentarily.
Eventually, she came under the care of Dr. Courtney and he began the raw cannabis experiment. Pekuski says that raw cannabis saved her life because what she really suffered from was a cannabinoid deficiency disorder.
Emerging information about endogenous cannabinoids has revealed their role to be much more important in human biology and health than ever suspected before. Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring and affect a number of physiological processes, including appetite and pain sensation. The CB1 receptors that accept chemical messages from the endocannabinoids do not distinguish whether the cannabinoids have been produced naturally or not. This is why using cannabis allows the brain to send the same messages as it would if the endocannabinoid system were not malfunctioning.
While the general thinking has been that medical marijuana eases symptoms of various illnesses, the questions have now turned into whether medical marijuana actually addresses biochemical issues in the brain.
For Dr. Courtney and Kristen Peskuski, the results pointed in that direction. Moreover, it was the method of ingestion that may have been equally revealing. Juicing was what really allowed Peskuski to receive enough cannabanoids to recover from her illnesses.
As it is, within the natural makeup of a raw cannabis plant, THC exists in two varieties: THC and THC-A. Once the plant is cured and heated, components of the THC-A change. While this change creates an overall higher THC potency, it also decreases the available amino acids and other cannabanoid compounds, like CBD and CBN.
“What has happened is, almost all strains available in America through the black market are THC concentrates,” said Ethan Russo, a Seattle area physician who is senior medical adviser to GW Pharma. “The CBD in almost all cases has been bred out. The reason, cannabis in this country has been cultivated for its intoxicating effect.” Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.