Let’s take a step back in time to a world where hemp and cannabis freely abounded. Just one hundred years ago hemp (cannabis sativa with only trace levels of THC) was a common agricultural crop whose seeds and fibre were used for our own nutrition, that of the animals we consumed, and to make everything from clothing, to rope and paper.
Without realising it, our ancestors were receiving a daily boost of vital nutrients, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins and healthy protein. It’s also possible, if they consumed the hemp leaves or flowers containing cannabinoids, they were giving their own endocannabinoid system a healthy boost.
Of course, back then, people didn’t know they had an endocannabinoid system, let alone that it could be maintained through their diet. Despite the ancient wisdom of Hippocrates, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” the idea that consuming vitamins and minerals found in food can prevent illness is a fairly modern one.
Are We Cannabis Deficient?
Fast forward to the present day and the ubiquitous presence of hemp in our lives is a distant memory, pushed out into the nutritional hinterlands by opposing economic and political interests. But could it be that our health has suffered as a result?
Ours is a society plagued ever more by illness and disease, many of which are ailments rarely encountered in the past. Autoimmune disease, degenerative neurological disorders, autism and growing levels of cancer are just some of the conditions dogging our developed nations. As with anything, no one factor can be pinpointed, but amongst the obvious suspects such as stress, pollution and side effects of medication, a deficiency in the nutrients found in hemp might also play a part.
This theory gathers weight when we consider the theory of Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. Humans and all other vertebrates have an endocannabinoid system – a complex network of receptors and cannabis-like chemical compounds called endocannabinoids that interact to bring balance or homeostasis to our bodies and minds. Everything from our immune system, sleep, appetite, bone growth, reproduction, pain, and mood are modulated by the endocannabinoid system.
But according to the theory developed by Neurologist and Researcher Dr Ethan Russo, this fine tuning system can become deficient, resulting in a host of malaises many of which could be considered modern day conditions. These include IBS, fibromyalgia, migraines, MS and potentially many more. Russo also suggests that supplementing our bodies with nutrients found in the cannabis plant can help to boost the endocannabinoid system and in turn alleviate the symptoms associated with the deficiency. He is specifically referring to the special molecules in cannabis called cannabinoids, in particular THC and CBD, which in their own unique ways stimulate the endocannabinoid system.
Raw Hemp and Cannabis Are Dietary Essentials, Says Doctor
But what if consuming hemp and cannabis on a regular basis were just like taking any other health supplement? And why not take it a step further – shouldn’t we consider the cannabis plant as just another fruit, vegetable or herb that promotes balanced health?
That’s just what Dr William Courtney, one of the world’s most vocal advocates of juicing raw cannabis, believes. While an undoubted fan of the cannabis plant in general, Dr Courtney suggests that the health giving benefits are enhanced by eating the leaves and flowers in their unheated, natural state. That’s because freshly picked cannabis contains the acid precursors of the cannabinoids we know so well, THC and CBD.
Why does this matter? For anyone taking THC for health reasons, the psychoactive effect that comes from being heated can be hard to handle, whereas THCa has no psychoactive effect and can as a result be consumed in much higher doses. The non-psychoactive question doesn’t apply to CBD and CBDa as neither cause a high, but Dr Courtney believes that refraining from heating either compound preserves more of their therapeutic benefits.
He says he has observed health improvements in many of his patients, including his own wife Kristen who had a litany of health problems ranging from lupus, childhood rheumatoid arthritis, interstitial cystitis, and endometriosis. At one point Kristen had been on a cocktail of 40 different medications each day, none of which had managed to control her debilitating symptoms. Under Dr Courtney’s guidance she began juicing cannabis, which she says has saved her life. Not only that, after being told she was infertile, she is now the proud mother of three healthy children, having juiced cannabis throughout her pregnancies.
Despite Dr Courtney and Kristen’s apparent successes, scientifically much less is known about the pharmacological effects of THCa and CBDa. Scientists do know that they do not bind with the endocannabinoid receptors, perhaps eliciting their effects on the body through other mechanisms such as the TRPA1, TRPV1, TRPM8, and GPR55 receptors.
CBDa in particular has been seen to interact with the 5–HT1A serotonin receptor, possibly explaining why it reduces nausea, as well as inhibiting the pro-inflammatory COX-2 (ciclooxigenase-2) enzyme. Preclinical studies on rodents have also found CBDa to have antitumoral activity in breast cancer cells.
Dr Courtney has staked his reputation on the importance of including these acid cannabinoids in the food we eat saying, “there is no doubt that these cannabinoid acids are probably the most important critical essential element in our diet.” He recommends juicing the leaves and flowers from one plant a day, an amount far in excess of that available to the common consumer.
Want to go raw, but not sure what to do next?
This leaves most of us unable to access these potentially valuable sources of health giving nutrients. That’s where Raw Hemp Oil extracts comes in. As more people become interested in consuming raw cannabis, raw hemp and raw food in general, a growing number of companies are offering cannabis extracts containing the raw plant material alone or in combination with the heated cannabinoids. In the end, it’s a matter of choice, trial and error. At Endoca we find that some of our clients prefer our Raw Hemp range, while others prefer our standard CBD oil extracts that have been through the heat process.
But if you are lucky enough to live in a part of the world where cultivation for personal use is legal – why not get planting and enjoy the natural wonders of raw cannabis and hemp in your juices, smoothies and salads.
We’d love to hear about your experiences. Do you juice raw cannabis or hemp? Have you tried Endoca’s Raw Hemp Oil range? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.