Are Unprocessed Cannabis Leaves a Superfood?

Everyone knows by now that both mental and physical health benefit greatly from cannabis. The buds of the cannabis plant contain the highest concentration of resinous trichomes. With this they can provide relief from anxiety, depression and ADHD. However, this depends on the strain and the profile of the cannabinoids/penes. Even for people who only smoke for fun, the cannabis buds can help them have a calm, more positive outlook on life. In doing so, the buds can be smoked, vaporized or incorporated into edibles. As for physical ailments, a few puffs from a joint are sometimes enough to counteract chronic pain and relieve nagging headaches. However, most people have known that for a long time. Still, there’s something you may not have thought about before. After all, what can unprocessed cannabis leaves do for you? To answer this question, we must first look at a cannabinoid you may have never heard of.


Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) is the non-psychoactive precursor to THC. While research on this particular compound is scarce, there are certainly findings that point to relevant, therapeutic applications. Despite THCA being the most abundant cannabinoid in non-decarboxylated cannabis (including in the leaves), researchers have always been more interested in what it is converted to. The neuroprotective function of THCA is extraordinary, but that is true of most cannabinoids. In addition, THCA has anti-inflammatory and anti-emetic properties. This could make it an effective treatment for various conditions, such as arthritis and nausea. Anecdotal evidence thereby shows that THCA is useful in combating insomnia, chronic pain and muscle twitching.


Live cannabis plants contain THCA. Only when the plant is heated or dried for a while does THCA turn into psychoactive THC. This is why the buds of cannabis must be decarboxylated before they can be processed into edibles. This is also the reason why cannabis butter/oil must be used in recipes for edibles. So you can’t just add freshly crumbled cannabis to a dish. The decarboxylation process takes place while the buds are drying and curing, but occurs fully when you light a joint or pipe, or safely heat the plant material to the desired temperature in the oven. This process also applies to CBD. CBD is first the acid-precursor CBDA, which does not have an effect on the same scale until it is decarboxylated. Fortunately, decarboxylation is fairly simple. Simply grind your weed in your grinder into small pieces (but not powder) and spread it evenly on the baking sheet of your oven. Then put it in the oven for 30-45 minutes at 110°C and shake things up every ten minutes. This temperature is high enough to completely decarboxylate your cannabis and low enough to prevent the cannabinoids from breaking down. It’s also interesting to note that cannabis in a vaporizer actually does this by itself.


Cannabis leaves are a fantastic addition to healthy smoothies or juices. In the process, they do not need to be decarboxylated. The taste of fresh cannabis is not as strong as you might think, especially in small amounts. It is particularly suitable as a garnish or to incorporate into homemade sauce. Besides being delicious, the leaves are also very healthy. In fact, like most other vegetables, cannabis leaves are bursting with fiber, which is important for healthy digestion. Some claim that chewing the whole leaves can cause rumbling in the belly, so most people choose to incorporate them into a green smoothie. Another additional health benefit of consuming fresh leaves: the vitamins and minerals you get with them. They contain vitamin D and C. As for minerals, iron and calcium are prominent. These ensure that your bones stay healthy and your blood gets enough oxygen. Finally, cannabis can be high in antioxidants and anthocyanins (although anthocyanins are only found in the so-called purple strains). Antioxidants are fantastic substances that fight stress and aging. Anthocyanin can thereby lower cholesterol and be health promoting for the heart. Cannabis leaves are therefore terribly healthy and offer a holistic range of benefits that are hard to obtain completely with traditional supplements and pharmaceuticals.


Now that you know what you can use the leaves of your favorite plant for, it’s high time to share with you a delicious superfood smoothie recipe incorporating your cannabis leaves. It’s super simple and really fantastic. Here’s what you need:


  • 2 cups coconut water
  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • ¼ cup finely chopped, fresh cannabis leaves
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey


Basically, all you need to do is put all the ingredients in a blender and run it on low to medium speed until a smooth mixture forms. All these ingredients you can adjust to your own wishes by adding or leaving something out. Of course, the cannabis leaves always belong in it. Go on a culinary journey of discovery and add or subtract ingredients when making this non-psychoactive drink. For example, if you don’t want to eat animal products, as a vegan you can replace the honey with agave nectar or maple syrup. We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about cannabis leaves and the benefits they offer to the health-conscious cannabis consumer. In addition, growers can put the many cutting wastes to good use this way. Also, tell us if you come across a fantastic recipe that you absolutely want to share. Have fun and indulge in this healthy, green smoothie!