Juicing Cannabis Is Better for You Than Smoking It

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Most of us may know cannabis as either a drug, a plant, or simply a flower. But now it's apparently being regarded as a vegetable, particularly because of the double whammy of health benefits not only from consuming the plant but also juicing it.

Cannabis, better-known in America as marijuana, has been classified as a dangerous Schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and treated as such by law enforcement for more than 40 years.

See also: Detox and Cleanse: Three Juice Recipes from the Nutrition Cottage

Juicing vegetables is known to provide several health benefits. Juicing helps the body absorb all of the nutrients, it makes consuming vegetables easier because it excludes all of the extra fiber and it allows a greater variety of vegetables in your diet.

Add cannabis to the mix and your juice diet will become that much more healthful, says Dr. William L. Courney, who has been researching the medical benefits of raw cannabis for years.

Courtney argues that the plant's psychoactive properties do not become activated until humans alter it chemically; i.e., with heat or fire. In a juiced capacity, it becomes a very potent anti-inflammatory, he says.

"The whole psychoactive thing is a human aspect of the plant that has nothing to do with the 34 million years of evolution that the plant has," Courtney says in the video. "The bottom line is that it's a dietary essential that helps all 210 cell types function more effectively."

Scientific studies continue to back the claim that consuming cannabis is good for your health. In fact, the National Cancer Institute published a report in March that shows cannabanoids

might actually halt cancer growth

, particularly breast and colon cancer.

The National Cancer Institute is a branch of the National Institutes of Health -- the medical research wing of the U.S. government -- which is effectively saying cannabis is good for you. Yet it remains classified as potentially dangerous or addictive as substances such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, allowing law enforcement to fill jails and prisons with millions of people who are in possession of the forbidden plant.

There are many compounds in cannabis with health benefits that do not produce the psychoactive feel-good properties of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabanol (THC) -- for example, cannabidiol (CBD), to which the U.S. government has held exclusive intellectual property rights since 2003 (any wonder why it's still illegal?).

But when it comes to juicing cannabis, Courtney argues that THC acid is non-psychoactive when juiced from a raw plant. The THC acid turns into the psychoactively potent compound stoners have come to love once it is heated to about 222 degrees Fahrenheit. By heating the plant to get high, Courtney says, we are missing out on a good majority of the benefits of cannabis when consumed raw.

The evidence that cannabis is actually very good for you is overwhelming, but it obviously has its detractors. Smoking the plant, or any plant matter really, irritates the lungs and could lead to emphysema, yet the evidence remains inconclusive.

So for all of you juicers out there, take a moment to weigh the evidence. Raise a cup of freshly squeezed juice in honor of cannabis and its potential health benefits.

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