By Richard Shrubb
By juicing raw, fresh cannabis you can take a greater therapeutic dose of cannabis with almost no psychoactive effects. The chief issue in the way of medicinal users in the UK seems to be cost – you’d need a whole plant a day – and the risks of being busted growing your own “cannabis farm”.
You can consume up to 600 mg of THC – Acid (hence, THCA) in cannabis’ raw form. If you were to smoke that much THC you’d be on the floor. Smoking THC, a practised smoker can consume as much as 10mg for medical purposes. Writing in Treating Yourself, Issue 24, Californian medical marijuana specialist doctor William Courtenay suggests “Heat increases THC from 90 microgrammes / ml to 10600 microgrammes / ml. This sweeping conversion from negligible THC into clinically effective THC is done at the expense of 14500 microgrammes /ml of THCA found in the unheated plant”…
As with all different preparations of cannabis, juicing is shown to have certain benefits that smoking does not. Smoking also has benefits that juicing does not. With pain relief you do need THC as opposed to THC Acid because THC is a very good painkiller. Tina Mendes, medical lead on the NORML UK Executive says of juicing, “it is a healthy, natural and refreshing way of consuming cannabis. I use juicing to combat my irritable bowel syndrome. Smoking isn’t the most effective way to consume weed for medical purposes anyway.” Tina, like many people, has been on the receiving end of police attention for growing her own.
In this video about medical marijuana research, the conversion of THC Acid to THC is explained as THC Acid being “decarboxylated” into psychoactive THC. Another senior member of NORML UK has difficulty in understanding this as he has eaten bud before, and this has got him stoned.
Another article perhaps explains why he got stoned: “This carboxyl group is unstable; heat, light, or alkaline pH make it evaporate as CO2, resulting in the more well researched cannabinoids. Even just drying for a while causes these precursors to break down.” Most weed sold is dried – it is likely he ate the dry stuff with decarboxylated THCA, meaning he got a good buzz from the newly created THC.
Consuming weed in this way is not going to be cheap. In an interview with the Washington Post Dr Courtenay suggested that “large shade leaves should be used, or fan leaves from a 3 month old plant” 8-10 leaves as a therapeutic dose? That would be around 45 plants every 45 day growing cycle. You can imagine how the Daily Heil would react to someone busted with that many plants in their living room! The stigma with weed being what it is, this isn’t “£45000 worth of cannabis” but actually a homegrown medical cabinet.
Des Humphrey is on the NORML UK Executive. Like many medicinal users, he has weaned himself off a toxic mix of pharmaceutical medications and primarily uses cannabis – to greater benefit for his body than the piles of pills he’d normally have to swallow. Cost stands in his way: “I have juiced before, its the amount needed to get the desired effect that stops me from doing it every day, the cost would be massive. But if it were available for me I would juice every day, as it is I use the main fan leaves as a tea to make cannabis/bush tea.”
The DEA is a fan of juiced cannabis! From my understanding reading around the subject, the DEA would love a medical marijuana preparation that doesn’t expand peoples’ minds by getting them stoned. As such there is potential for medical users to benefit – if more research is carried out.
So, what of the future of cannabis use? Will medical research leap onto THCA as a therapeutic compound? A brief Google search suggests not a lot has been done to date. Only one paper has been published on THCA – and that was a petri dish experiment on cancer cells. Once again, anecdote and a doctor who is a fan of juicing suggests this has a legs for future research. What will they find? What outcomes will there be? Only time will tell.
Richard Shrubb is a freelance journalist with a specific interest in medical science and sailing, for more info about Richard, see his web site www.richardshrubb.co.uk and you can follow Richard on Twitter #Shrubberz