Is cannabis a superfood?
Cannabis may have the potential to promote well-being, but does it have any nutritional value? Can you consider it a superfood? We'll provide the answers to those questions in this article.
- What Is a Superfood?
- Nutritional Value of "Superfood" Cannabis
- Is Cannabis a Superfood?
- How To Integrate Cannabis Superfoods Into Your Diet
- Is Cannabis a Superfood?
Cannabis has long been valued for the way it makes people feel. It can boost the mood, relax the body, and holds the potential to provide relief for numerous mental and physical conditions. It can also be consumed in various ways. Some prefer to inhale cannabis through a joint or bong, while others ingest their weed by infusing it into their food.
Given its potential health benefits, could cannabis also add some nutritional value to what we eat? Can it be considered a superfood like berries, whole grains, and leafy greens like spinach and kale?
In this article, we’ll focus on how cannabis and its derivatives could very well fall under the “superfood” category.
What Is a Superfood?
What do olive oil, yoghurt, nuts, and fish have in common? They’re all rich in vitamins and other nutrients, and most experts recommend incorporating them into your daily diet.
These four foods, along with the three others we mentioned in the intro, are examples of superfoods. They contain antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber that bring several important health benefits:
• Contributes to cancer prevention
• Regulates digestion
• Promotes heart health
• Encourages healthy cholesterol levels
• Assists in weight management
• Balances diet
• Boosts energy
Many superfoods are plant-based, and some are low in fat while others are free of gluten. But one thing they all have in common is that none of them are processed. They don’t contain additives that may harm our health in the long run.
Nutritional Value of "Superfood" Cannabis
Getting high on cannabis requires some form of decarboxylation; hence, the process of smoking, vaping, and cooking making edibles. But, believe it or not, the magic herb in its raw form also brings some nutritional value.
Specifically, the leaves, stems, and seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant contain carbohydrates, vitamins, protein, amino acids, minerals, essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), calcium, potassium, sodium, and phytochemicals like cannabinoid acids and terpenes. Note that not all parts/derivatives of the plant contain the same nutrients (more on this below). Still, practically the entire cannabis plant can be put to nutritional use.
Let’s start with terpenes, organic compounds found in almost all plants. In the case of cannabis, terpenes are behind the herb’s iconic flavour and aroma; but, they also underpin the effects of the plant. Specific terpenes, such as myrcene and limonene, have been cited for their ability to influence energy level and mood.
Then there’s chlorophyll, the substance that gives plants their green colour. Like terpenes, chlorophyll can impact the human body to a beneficial degree, potentially quelling inflammation, detoxifying the body, and inhibiting DNA damage.
But, compounds that are more or less unique to the Cannabis sativa plant are its phytocannabinoid acids. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) are two prime examples. Once these acids are activated through decarboxylation, you get the THC and CBD that all herb-users know and love.
THCA on its own isn’t intoxicating. However, it is believed to have several potential benefits, with studies examining its effectiveness at relieving nausea and vomiting, inflammation, and other symptoms and conditions.
Similarly, CBDA has shown anti-inflammatory and antiemetic prowess. One study from 2012 even investigated CBDA’s ability to inhibit the migration of cancer cells, with the study’s authors reaching an encouraging conclusion.
Is Cannabis a Superfood?
Now, let’s get down to the main topic. Is it justifiable to classify cannabis as a superfood? We’ll answer this question by dissecting each part of the plant.
Are Hemp Seeds a Superfood?
As society becomes more open to the benefits of cannabis, hemp seeds have turned into a staple food amongst health nuts. Otherwise known as hemp hearts, these seeds are either turned into oil, milk, or sprinkled onto salads or oatmeal.
And while hemp seeds come from cannabis, they won’t get you high. Instead, they bring numerous non-psychoactive health benefits.
Benefits of Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds contain a plethora of nutrients. They contain an ideal ratio of the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, and they offer one of the highest non-animal-derived sources of protein. Furthermore, they are a great way to incorporate vitamin E and essential amino acids into your diet. Given this, cannabis seeds have the potential to improve our overall health. Based on recent studies, here are some of the possible benefits:
• Promotes healthy cholesterol levels
• Encourages healthy blood pressure
• Reduces inflammation
• Reduces risk of coronary heart disease
• Improves digestive and skin health
• Protects the brain
Is CBD Oil a Superfood?
The consensus amongst many experts is that CBD can likely benefit certain aspects of physical and mental wellness. But, as it turns out, it may also be an ideal supplement to promote good dietary health.
CBD oil is usually taken through sublingual drops, or with food or drink. Conventional CBD oil is composed of CBD extract and an oil carrier. In this way, both CBD and the carrier may impart nutritional benefits.
Benefits of CBD Oil
A quick Google search will lead you to a laundry list of articles explaining the plausible benefits of CBD oil. To save you some time, here’s a quick rundown as it relates to nutritional value:
• CBD oil acts as a powerful antioxidant, like most superfoods
• Carrier oils like hemp seed, olive, and MCT provide a host of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fatty acids
• CBD oil may promote healthy digestion
• CBD oil boosts levels of internal cannabinoids like anandamide (aka the “bliss molecule”)
• CBD oil may promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle
Are Cannabis Leaves a Superfood?
As mentioned in an earlier section, raw cannabis leaves won’t get you high. However, ingesting them on their own may benefit you in other ways.
Yes, you read that right: the fan leaves on your cannabis plant contain THCA and CBDA, which, as mentioned above, display some intriguing potential of their own.
Benefits of Cannabis Leaves
Apart from those we’ve mentioned, here are some of the possible benefits of raw cannabis leaves:
• Promotes heart health
• Boosts the immune system
• Detoxifies the body
• Prevents DNA damage
• Provides vitamins and minerals to regulate the blood’s oxygen levels
• Promotes digestive health
Are Cannabis Flowers a Superfood?
Smokers know the value of their cannabis flowers. These are where those precious cannabinoids can be found in abundance. For recreational users, it’s the flowers that will get you high. But, in case you didn’t know, cannabis flowers are also superfoods on their own.
Benefits of Cannabis Flowers
Thinking of eating raw cannabis flowers? That may not be a bad idea. The buds are even richer in THCA, CBDA, and other good stuff than the leaves:
• Rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids
• High fibre content
• Nourishes the endocannabinoid system
How To Integrate Cannabis Superfoods Into Your Diet
While we did mention that ingesting raw cannabis may not be all that bad, it’s not always appetising. So, here are some tasty ways you can incorporate cannabis superfoods into your diet.
Cannabis Superfood Smoothie Recipe
Somewhere in the world, the sun is blazing. But, whether or not you live in a tropical climate, a fresh fruit smoothie will always be a refreshing treat to enjoy.
For this tropical CBD smoothie, all you’ll need is a blender, ten minutes of prep time, and the following ingredients.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
• 25mg of CBD oil
• ½ cup frozen mango chunks
• ½ cup pineapple chunks
• ½ cup pineapple juice
• ½ cup plain Greek yoghurt
• 1 cup coconut milk
• 1 small orange, squeezed
• Handful of leafy greens for a health boost (optional)
• Dash of ground cinnamon
• Pinch of salt
1. Place all of the ingredients into your blender and blend until you reach your desired consistency.
2. If you find it to be too thick, you can add some water or milk. If it’s too thin, drop a few ice cubes in.
3. Pour it into a glass and enjoy your wonderful creation.
Hemp Seed Salad Dressing Recipe
Every healthy eater loves a good bowl of salad. It’s light, refreshing, and doesn’t make you feel guilty about what you just consumed.
And, what better way to enhance your salad experience than with a touch of protein-rich hemp seed vinaigrette? For those who enjoy their hemp seed and olive oil dressings, this is one recipe you’ll definitely get a kick out of.
• 4 tsp. hemp seed oil
• 1.5 tsp. balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1.5 tsp. lemon juice
The only pieces of equipment you'll need for this recipe are a mixing bowl and a whisk.
1. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.
2. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
3. Serve up and enjoy.
Is Cannabis a Superfood?
So, can cannabis be considered a superfood? Definitely. You may not want to eat it raw, but there are many ways to infuse it into your meals for a more delectable experience.
We’ve suggested a couple of recipes you can try out for yourself, and there are many more to be found. Hopefully, these new ideas will deepen your appreciation for the magic herb.