Shopping for cannabis can be overwhelming given the number of products available. Even if you know you just want flower, there are still other decisions to make such as the composition of cannabinoids and what strain will work for you. Another choice you may be faced with is less common: fresh vs dried cannabis?
It turns out a new trend growing among health-conscious cannabis enthusiasts is to consume flower fresh, without any curing.
But what is the difference between fresh (raw) and cured (dry) cannabis flower?
Typically, once cannabis flowers have bloomed, they’re harvested, trimmed, dried, and cured. The most common method of curing is hanging the branches upside down after harvest, so the THC runs down the buds and collects at the tips.
Once the drying begins, the plant goes through chemical changes as chemical compounds in the plant’s trichome resin glands begin to degrade. This degradation is what causes psychoactivity. Aging, heat, and light are the primary triggers to this transformation. If you were wondering why cannabis is smoked, vaped, or cooked before consumption, that’s why.
The scientific name for this degradation process is decarboxylation. When you take fire to some herb, any herb, you transform acids found in resin glands into more active compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the molecule that produces the famous cannabis high.
Raw flower, on the other hand, is undried and unheated. Health conscious cannabis enthusiasts are calling it a “superfood” for its supposed beneficial nutrients. For example, fresh flower is full of cannabinoid acids, which are the precursor compounds to more commonly known cannabinoids. THC is found as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and CBD is found as cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).
Various studies have discovered that cannabinoid acids have reported that these acids may work as an antioxidant (THCA), anti-nausea and vomiting (THCA and CBDA), anxiety relief (CBDA), analgesic (THCA), and anti-inflammatory (THCA and CBDA). However, more robust studies are needed to determine whether this is truly the case.
Cannabis leaves and flowers also contain vitamins and minerals just like many green, leafy plants. Some of the common vitamins found in leaves include: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Iron, and Calcium. And like many leafy greens, cannabis leaves may offer a rich source of dietary fiber.
Another possible benefit of raw flower is that it will not get you high. Only after the plant has been heated does flower have any intoxicating effects.
So Do You Want Fresh vs Dried Cannabis?
The next time you are shopping for flower at your local Have A Heart dispensary, your budtender may assume you want cured flower because fresh is a much rarer request. If you do not plan on smoking flower and are more interested in trying flower as part of your diet, fresh flower may be best for you. Ask your budtender if they have fresh flower instead.
Once you have it, just remember this is a plant like any other and you can prepare raw cannabis in similar ways. For example, you can consume raw flower through juices and smoothies, salads, dressings, and sauces. Bon appetit!
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