Have you ever considered that the cannabis plant could be a nutritional superfood? Many people are unaware of this incredible plant’s health benefits in raw form. Here, we’ll dive into our favorite plants’ nutrient-rich content, health advantages, and the unique properties that make them so special.

A picture of Emily Kyle holding a cannabis leaf.

Article Features

  • A look at the nutrition benefits of consuming raw cannabis
  • How to wash and prepare the leaves for safe consumption
  • Want to start your journey today? Shop with me and have premium, high-quality cannabis products delivered directly to your door! Now shipping across the US.
A picture of Emily Kyles Bliss Products.

Why You Will Love This Guide

As members of my Well With Cannabis Community know, the cannabis plant is more than just a source of recreational delight or medicinal relief.

When eaten raw, it’s packed with nutrients that can contribute to our overall health and well-being.

Understanding the benefits of this versatile plant, from essential vitamins and minerals to unique compounds that promote wellness, can change how you view it.

In this guide, we will review everything you need to know, and I will share my thoughts and opinions as a registered dietitian and certified Holistic Cannabis Practitioner.

Why Keep the Leaves?

As many home cannabis growers like me believe, when it comes to the cannabis plant, nothing should be wasted.

While some people choose to toss or compost their fan leaves, many growers prefer to use all parts of the plant to support their health.

Cannabis leaves do not produce cannabinoids quite like the mature female flower buds do, which is why many people feel they are useless and discard them. 

According to a research article published in The Journal of Phytopharmacology, leaves contain important nutrients, antioxidants, and trace amounts of cannabinoid acids like THCA and CBDA, meaning they are certainly not useless. 

One of the best ways to harness these important nutrients is to consume cannabis leaves in raw form, such as in a salad, or to juice the leaves.

Additionally, if you get stuck with a male cannabis plant, stripping the leaves may be one of the only beneficial things you can do with the plant before discarding it.

A picture of Emily Kyle's Cannabis Plant

Cannabis Nutrition

Now, I’m not just saying this because I am a registered dietitian; the benefits of eating raw cannabis are truly incredible.

I believe understanding cannabis’s nutritional makeup can help you appreciate its benefits even more.

Just like kale or spinach, raw cannabis leaves can be considered a dark green, leafy vegetable and an overall “superfood”.

Cannabis could also be defined as a functional food or a food that has a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.

When eaten, cannabis leaves, stems, stalks, and seeds can provide the body with almost all of the essential nutrients.

As published in Molecules, this includes carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins, minerals, and trace amounts of calcium, sodium, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

But unlike our more traditional dark-green leafy vegetables, the cannabis plant also contains unique phytocannabinoids that provide even greater contributions to our health.

It is even speculated that the raw version of cannabis activates the endocannabinoid system more effectively than dried, cured, then and smoked cannabis.

This next section will break down the unique compounds found in the plant, like terpenes and chlorophyll, each playing a different role in promoting better health.

What Are Terpenes


All plants contain volatile organic compounds or aromatic essential oils called terpenes.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that can be found in all plants, including cannabis.

According to an article published in Molecules, terpenes determine the aroma and taste of plant material and have their own medicinal properties, including potent anti-inflammatory activity.

Different strains of cannabis can have a distinct composition and concentration of terpenes.

Compared to traditional dried forms of cannabis, raw cannabis will retain most of its terpenes, increasing the potential health benefits. 

Not only do terpenes contribute to the plant’s flavor and fragrance, but they also work in synergy with other cannabinoids to enhance their therapeutic effects.

For example, certain terpenes, such as myrcene, are known for their sedative and muscle-relaxing properties, while others, like limonene, offer mood-elevating and anti-anxiety benefits.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

As shared in Frontiers in Pharmacology, certain terpenes, like myrcene and limonene, have potent anti-inflammatory properties.

This makes them useful for reducing inflammation and pain naturally.

Stress Relief

Terpenes don’t just support physical health; they can also play a role in mental well-being.

Also reported by Frontiers in Pharmacology, linalool, and beta-caryophyllene are known for their calming and stress-relieving effects, making them beneficial for those dealing with anxiety or stress.

Enhanced Absorption of Nutrients

As explained in Food Chemistry, terpenes can enhance the absorption of other nutrients in the body.

This means that consuming cannabis with other nutrient-rich foods can maximize the benefits you receive from both.


Chlorophyll, the most abundant pigment found in plants, is responsible for the bright green color associated with greens such as kale, celery, and yes, cannabis.

Chlorophyll gives plants their green color and also plays a critical role in the process of photosynthesis.

However, it’s also a compound found in many superfoods and has been studied for years for its role in human nutrition and health promotion.

According to the Micronutrient Information Center, chlorophyll has a structure similar to hemoglobin in the blood and offers plenty of unique benefits. These include preventing DNA damage, promoting detoxification within the body, treating inflammation, and possibly helping to prevent certain types of cancer.

Therefore, we can conclude that consuming cannabis rich in chlorophyll can contribute to your overall wellness, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet.

Remember, compared to traditionally dried and cured cannabis, raw leaves and flower buds retain the most chlorophyll.


As published in Molecules, chlorophyll has many therapeutic properties, including its ability to assist in detoxifying the body.

Chlorophyll does this by binding to toxins and facilitating their elimination from the body.

This helps your body to naturally maintain a clean and healthy system, free from harmful or unwanted substances.

Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

A critical review published in Plants notes that chlorophyll itself is rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K and essential minerals like magnesium and iron.

These nutrients are vital for various bodily functions, including immune support, bone health, and energy production.

Promotes Healthy Skin

A randomized controlled study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology suggests that consuming chlorophyll can also improve skin health.

Its antioxidant properties help reduce the signs of acne and promote a clearer, more radiant complexion.


Cannabinoid Acids

Beyond acting as a dark-green leafy vegetable, raw cannabis also acts as a functional food, supplying important cannabinoid acids.

According to an article published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, cannabis plants are rich in cannabinoid acids, which are the precursors for every phytocannabinoid we love, including CBD and THC.

These acids, like CBDA and THCA, offer their own unique benefits, making raw cannabis a unique addition to any nutrition-focused lifestyle.

Cannabidolic Acid

Cannabidolic acid, also known as CBDA, is the second most abundant cannabinoid acid found in most raw cannabis plants.

CBDA is an inactive precursor for CBD, meaning CBDA is required to produce CBD. 

According to Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, CBDA is non-intoxicating, meaning it will not make you feel ‘high,’ and it has many potential therapeutic applications, including anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and pain-relieving properties.

CBDA is the raw form of CBD. It’s found in the raw cannabis plant before it’s exposed to heat, meaning that the best way to consume it is through consuming raw cannabis.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Benefits

As presented in Antioxidants, CBDA has been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

These can help reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative stress, which is linked to various chronic diseases.

Nausea Relief

For those struggling with nausea, CBDA can offer relief.

A review published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research notes that CBDA has been found to reduce nausea and vomiting, making it beneficial for those undergoing treatments like chemotherapy.

Learn more about the benefits of CBDA and discover how to make a CBDA tincture.

Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid

THCA is present in raw cannabis and converts to THC when heated through a process called decarboxylation.

THCA is the non-active form of THC. THCA has no potential intoxicating activity, meaning it cannot get you high. 

Research in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry suggests that this chemical compound, in its raw form, is considered a plant-based superfood and has potential anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiemetic properties.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Much like CBDA, the International Journal of Molecular Science notes that THCA has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

This makes it useful for managing conditions like arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

Neuroprotective Effects

The same research notes that THCA is also being studied for its neuroprotective effects.

It may help in protecting brain cells from damage, potentially offering benefits for conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Learn more about the benefits of THCA and discover how to make a THCA tincture.

Cannabis Decarboxylation by Emily Kyle

Additional Health Benefits

We’ve covered the individual benefits of certain compounds found within the cannabis plant, including nutrients, terpenes, and other plant compounds.

But how do they work together to help support the aspects of health that matter most to you?

Supporting Mental Health

Cannabis is known for its potential to support mental health.

While THC and CBD are famous for their therapeutic effects, the raw plant itself contains properties that can help uplift mood and reduce stress.

Regular consumption of raw cannabis may provide mild calming effects without the psychoactive experience associated with smoking or vaping.

Boosting the Immune System

Did you know that cannabis can also boost your immune system?

Compounds found in the plant, including cannabinoids and terpenes, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

These compounds help fight off infections, reduce inflammation, and maintain overall immune health.

Enhancing Digestive Health

Improving your digestive health can be as easy as adding raw cannabis to your diet.

The plant’s fiber content aids digestion, while its anti-inflammatory properties can soothe the digestive tract.

This makes cannabis a great addition to your diet, whether you’re looking to improve gut health or manage conditions like IBS.


The nutritional benefits of the cannabis plant are vast and impressive.

From supporting mental health and boosting the immune system to enhancing digestive health and providing essential vitamins and minerals, raw cannabis offers a wealth of benefits.

By understanding its unique compounds like terpenes, chlorophyll, and cannabinoid acids, you can better appreciate how this plant can contribute to overall well-being.

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I am excited to share this blend of knowledge, offering a holistic approach to health that taps into the full spectrum of nutrients and therapeutic compounds found in raw cannabis.

The world of cannabis is vast and full of potential—embrace it and discover how it can benefit you.

More Resources You Will Love

About Emily

Hi, I’m Emily Kyle and I teach people just like you how to use cannabis to find joy, enhance productivity, improve relationships, and naturally support your overall health and wellness.

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