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Cannabis plant material that is mature and ready for harvest, but has not been dried or cured, or heated for consumption. Raw cannabis is usually eaten by consumers because it contains cannabinoids in their acid forms, such as THCA or CBDA, before decarboxylation. These compounds provide a unique set of health benefits in addition to fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, which differ from cannabis that is smoked or decarboxylated.

“I put raw cannabis in my smoothies for a boost of superfoods.”

“Raw cannabis does not impart a high, but it does provide a plethora of antioxidants and vitamins.”

What is raw cannabis?

Raw cannabis has not been heated, dried, cured, or activated in any way, and maintains an array of omega fatty acids, proteins, minerals, including calcium and iron, and vitamins like vitamin A, B1, B2, C, and E, in addition to various other compounds. 

While decarboxylation, infusion, and extractions preserve cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis, much of the plant’s nutritional value gets purged or goes unused when smoked as flower or turned into an extract—this is done through combustion, such as using a lighter to smoke a joint or bowl, or a torch to take a dab; or through decarboxylation, such as heating cannabis in an oven in order to make cannabutter. 

People get different health benefits from compounds such as THCA and CBDA by eating raw cannabis, whereas a majority of cannabis consumers decarboxylate weed to turn THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD when smoking, dabbing, or infusing it. 

Benefits and uses of raw cannabis

Because it has not been cured, raw cannabis is too wet to smoke—moisture will make it taste vegetal and make the smoke harsh. Plants are often frozen immediately after harvest for raw cannabis, in order to preserve the plant’s trichomes, which also preserves its nutritional value.

Raw cannabis buds and leaves can be juiced, blended in smoothies, or added to salads or other recipes to ingest for maximum nutritional absorption. With strains containing THC, cannabis’ psychoactive component, ingesting them in raw form can still potentially create a high even though it has not been decarboxylated.