My mum always told me to eat my greens. So I’m sure she’ll be pleased to hear how I’ve recently been benefiting from eating cannabis in the form of hemp buds.
That’s right, one of the most demonised plants in the world is actually a healthy and nutritious vegetable.
In this article, I’ll explain why I’ve added hemp flower to my diet and how you can too.
What is hemp flower?
Hemp is cannabis. It’s merely a term used to describe cannabis that has low amounts of THC (the stuff that gets you high) and has been traditionally used for industrial purposes like making ropes and textiles.
These days, however, hemp is also cultivated for its CBD content – CBD being one of the most popular wellness ingredients in the world.
Even in places where high-THC cannabis is illegal, hemp and CBD is usually allowed to be grown and sold.
In the U.S and Europe (including the UK), smokable hemp flower has become very popular over the last few years. You can read more about that in this article: A Quick History Of Smokable Hemp Flower In The UK
But why would you want to eat hemp flower? Here are a few reasons I can think of…
1. High levels of CBDa
The primary cannabinoid in hemp flower is CBDa. CBDa is the chemical precursor to CBD. Basically, the “a” stands for “acid”, denoting that the cannabinoid is in its acidic state.
Upon exposure to heat, the cannabinoid will go through a process called decarboxylation, which will result in CBD.
While CBD is known for its many health benefits, CBDa has its own beneficial properties. CBDa has been found to have potent anti-inflammatory effects (even more so than CBD), may possibly be effective at preventing and treating COVID-19, and has greater bioavailability than CBD.
Therefore, eating hemp flower can give you good amounts of CBDa, which can be difficult to obtain when you smoke or vape buds.
Aside from cannabinoids like CBDa and CBD (some of which is still present in hemp flower), as well as trace amounts of other cannabinoids like THCa and CBGa, hemp flowers are also full of terpenes.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are found in many plants. They are responsible for the distinct aroma and taste of many plants including cannabis. Earthy sage. Zesty lemon. Spicy cinnamon. It’s all thanks to terpenes.
Aside from from making cannabis smell amazing, terpenes also offer some powerful benefits of their own, with research showing many have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-viral effects.
Some of the most common terpenes found in cannabis and hemp include:
Some other plant compounds that are known to be beneficial to health are flavonoids.
They have anti-inflammatory effects and can protect cells from oxidative damage. Researchers have also found that a diet rich in flavonoids reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Like terpenes and cannabinoids, many flavonoids will be lost during combustion, so eating them makes sense.
4. High absorption
The advantage to consuming raw hemp flower is the ability to ingest a higher level of cannabinoids. This is because CBDa is a lot more bioavailable than CBD.
It’s estimated that when cannabis is consumed via smoking, vaping, or cooking, the body is capable of absorbing up to about 10 milligrams of cannabinoids at a time. However, consuming raw cannabis allows the body to absorb up to 1,000 milligrams.
Cannabis has been found to have impressive antioxidant content on par with blueberries, green tea, and kale.
Antioxidants can help protect cells and have also been found to boost the immune system, reduce the risk of developing many common diseases including diabetes, dementia, and cancer.
How to eat raw hemp
Most of us don’t fancy taking a bite out of hemp bud as it’s not going to be very pleasant. However, there are a few different ways you can get hemp into your diet without cow-chewing buds.
Juicing is popular among health and wellness types for good reason. A good juicer will allow you to extract lots of the beneficial compounds from plants without the fibre.
Juicing hemp flower works the same as it would any other plant – simply throw it in, press a button, and watch your glass fill with earthy green juice. Try mixing it with other fruits and vegetables as it won’t taste great by itself.
Similar to juicing, you could very simply throw some hemp flower in your usual smoothie blend for some added goodness. A quick google I’m sure will give you some tasty ideas to try.
Dried cannabis buds are a popular traditional garnish in many southeast Asian countries – like Cambodia, where “Happy Pizzas” are on sale in many towns and cities.
You can throw some hemp flower in an old pepper grinder and simply sprinkle some over a salad or any meal you fancy really.
Raw hemp capsules
If hemp juice and salads are a bit off putting, the easiest way to eat hemp flower is to get some capsules.
I use these hemp flower capsules from Brown’s CBD because they are organic (pesticide-free), potent and very fairly priced. Each capsule contains 9mg on CBDA, 0.8mg of CBD, traces amounts of cannabinoids such as CBG and CBC, as well as intact terpenes and flavonoids.
If you’re looking to add a true superfood to your diet, hemp flower may be the ideal candidate.
Loaded with beneficial compounds like CBDa, terpenes and flavonoids, small amounts of hemp can have profound effects on your biology including reduced inflammation, pain and risk of disease.
Try hemp in your juice, smoothie or sprinkled in food. Alternatively, grab a handy pack of hemp flower capsules from Brown’s CBD like me.