Generally, people who use marijuana are either looking to get high or benefit from its reported medical uses. Does eating raw weed have the same effect as smoking it, vaping it, or consuming it in the form of edibles?
The effects of marijuana come from its active ingredients: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabigerol (CBG). These three ingredients are not naturally present in marijuana. They occur as a result of a chemical process called decarboxylation.
Because of this, raw weed may not produce the high that people usually expect from cannabis. That said, some researchers are still interested in the possible medicinal uses of raw weed.
Read on to learn about whether or not a person can get high from eating raw weed and about the possible medicinal effects of these inactive compounds. This article also discusses some other ways that a person can use cannabis.
Researchers have now isolated more than 100 cannabinoids. THC, CBD, and CBG are three compounds that may produce significant therapeutic effects.
However, these three cannabinoids do not occur naturally in high concentrations in raw weed. Raw weed contains these three cannabinoids with a carboxylic acid attached. Experts refer to these compounds as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic (THCA-A), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).
With exposure to light or heat from smoking or baking, the carboxylic acid group detaches. This process is called decarboxylation. Without the carboxylic acid group, these three compounds have the potential to cause a therapeutic effect. It is only then that THC can result in a high.
People are therefore unlikely to experience a significant high if they eat raw weed.
Despite the lack of high from the carboxylated forms of THC, researchers are interested in the possible therapeutic effects of raw weed. These potential benefits may include:
Protecting brain cells
One study in the British Journal of Pharmacology demonstrated that THCA might have a protective effect on brain cells.
These findings may be important for experts in neuroinflammatory diseases and neurodegenerative conditions such as Huntington’s disease. THC may be an interesting therapeutic option in these cases.
Inhibiting tumor necrosis
Another study, this time in the journal International Immunopharmacology, also tested the effects of unheated cannabis extract.
The researchers note that THCA was able to inhibit the tumor necrosis factor alpha levels in immune cells. Furthermore, this inhibition lasted for a long time.
Further studies will be necessary to confirm the effects of THCA on the immune system and its applications in immune conditions.
Providing antinausea effects
Researchers are also interested in the possible antinausea effect of THCA.
In another study in the British Journal of Pharmacology, researchers explored the antinausea effect of THCA in rats. The researchers demonstrated that it was effective in reducing nausea and vomiting.
They suggest that THCA may be a more potent alternative to THC in the treatment of nausea and vomiting. Further studies are necessary to find out whether or not these effects also occur in humans.
Researchers have also demonstrated the antinausea and anti-vomiting effects of low doses of cannabidiolic acid. Also, cannabidiolic acid made the antinausea drug ondansetron more effective. Further studies in humans are needed to confirm these results.
One of the difficulties associated with studying the effects of THCA is its instability in nature. The carboxylic acid group detaches easily from the compound.
For example, researchers have demonstrated that THCA is unstable in ethanol. After 10 days at 77ºF (25ºC), only 33% of the THCA remained in ethanol. Losses of THCA even occurred after freezing.
Although researchers suggest that there are many possible medicinal uses of raw weed, they must ensure its stability to prevent THCA from converting quickly to THC, which causes a high.
According to one study, smoking is the most prevalent form of marijuana use. Vaping is another common form of consumption. However, both vaping and smoking can have adverse effects on the lungs.
Consuming marijuana in the form of edibles could be a way of using weed without harming the lungs.
The effects of edibles differ from those of raw weed because the cannabis in edibles has gone through the process of decarboxylation.
The section below discusses edibles in more detail.
In states where recreational marijuana use is legal, 11% of people who use it take it in edible form. In states where only medical marijuana use is legal, there is a 5.1% prevalence of edible use. Only 4.2% of people report consuming edibles in states where marijuana is illegal.
Researchers have also found that baked goods and candies are the most consumed edible marijuana products in the United States.
Manufacturers also produce marijuana infused:
- sublingual drops
- mouth sprays
People who do not want to smoke, who do not want to smell of smoke, or who feel anxious about inhaling weed may wish to consider consuming edibles instead.
It is possible for a person consuming marijuana in the form of an edible to take too much. They may not notice this immediately because the high may be delayed. To avoid taking too much, eat a smaller amount and wait for the effect.
People are unlikely to get high from eating raw weed. Cannabis naturally produces potentially inactive compounds. These include THCA, which is THC with a carboxylic acid group attached, among others.
Some researchers are interested in the possible medicinal benefits of THCA, as it has demonstrated early evidence for neuroprotection, immunologic effects, and antinausea and anti-vomiting effects.
People who want to get high from consuming cannabis can prepare raw weed in baked goods. Heat and other factors cause the carboxyl group to detach from the compound. In this form, THC will have psychogenic effects.
A person can also consume marijuana in drinks, spreads, mouth sprays, and pills.