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OKCanna Shop
by OKCanna Shop Published on March 4, 2021

The nutritional benefits of marijuana are just another reason to love the versatile plant. To be clear, marijuana holds incredible therapeutic potential. However, it can also help nourish the body thanks to its abundance of nutrients, terpenes, cannabinoids, and other valuable components. In fact, tossing a few hemp seeds and fan leaves into a salad is a great way to consume almost all of the necessary essential nutrients a body needs to thrive.

Let’s take a look.

The Nutritional Benefits of Marijuana: Essential Nutrients 

Raw hemp seeds are well-known for their health benefits. For example, hemp seeds are an excellent protein source, accounting for more than 25 percent of their total caloric value. They also provide significant fatty acid levels, including two highly beneficial fatty acids: omega-6 and omega-3. These fatty acids are especially important because they can help regulate blood pressure and inflammatory responses. Hemp seeds also contain significant levels of Vitamin E and minerals like potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and zinc.

Though hemp seeds tend to gain the most recognition in terms of nutrition, some researchers suggest that the fan leaves may be just as valuable. Raw cannabis expert William L. Courtney, MD, suggests that marijuana foliage may be the most nutrient-dense vegetable there is. That’s because cannabis contains terpenes and phytocannabinoids in addition to its nutritional properties associated with other dark leafy greens.

Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is responsible for the bright green pigment in most plants, including kale, celery, and cannabis. It helps plants absorb ultraviolet light, which then transforms into energy. Much like plants, humans can benefit from chlorophyll, which may help fight inflammation, promote detoxification, and protect the body against DNA damage from free radicals in the body.

Nutritional Benefits of Marijuana Terpenes

Terpenes are the aromatic oils that adorn many plants, including marijuana flowers. They develop in the mushroom-shaped resin glands to give cannabis buds their unique scents. For example, some terpenes may emit a citrus-like perfume while others smell more like wet earth or diesel fuel. As such, cannabis terpenes can help consumers differentiate between strains like Lemon Skunk or Girl Scout Cookies – one will smell more like lemons and the other more like baked goods.

However, the aroma is not the only exciting thing about terpenes. In fact, terpenes hold a lot of potential when it comes to overall health. For example, certain terpenes may show anti-inflammatory, mood-boosting, or soothing properties. As such, manufacturers commonly include terpenes in perfumes, cosmetics, foods, bath products, and more.

Common Marijuana Terpenes

Myrcene

Myrcene is the most abundant cannabis terpene, though it is also common in hops, mango, and lemongrass. It gives off a pungent, earthy scent and may provide antibiotic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Pinene

Pinene, often distinguished as either alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, emits an earthy, piney, spicy aroma. It is also common in rosemary, basil, and conifer trees and may help combat some respiratory issues. As such, inhaling pinene-rich cultivars may help reduce lung irritation, especially if vaporized instead of burned.

Geraniol

Geraniol is an exceptionally floral terpene common in rose oil, geraniums, and lemons, though it is present in many other fruits, flowers, and vegetables, as well, as it serves to attract pollinating insects like honeybees. It is a popular ingredient in candies, perfumes, and soaps, and has promising therapeutic value, as well. For example, some research suggests that geraniol may be antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer.

Humulene

Humulene lends a great deal to the nutritional benefits of marijuana. It is a cannabis terpene that may act as an appetite suppressant and an anti-inflammatory agent. Its scent is woody, spicy, and herbal, giving wood and hops their character aromas, as well.

Linalool

Linalool is another floral-scented marijuana terpene common in cannabis, lavender, citrus fruits, and many spices. In addition to its wonderful aroma, linalool may offer antibacterial, antifungal, anti-seizure, anticancer, analgesic, and sedative properties.

Limonene

Limonene is a citrusy terpene that is particularly common in oranges, spices, and some cannabis cultivars. Many consumers prefer strains high in limonene for their uplifting qualities and blues-busting potential. Some suggest that limonene can also help fight acid reflux and aid with indigestion.

Phytocannabinoids

Plant-based cannabinoids are the chemical components for which cannabis plants are best known. Phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids from plants, include THCa, CBDa, CBGa, and CBNa, which are acidic in their raw form. When these cannabinoids heat beyond a specific temperature (usually around 200 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the specific cannabinoid), they lose their acidic carboxyl atom, which helps them absorb more efficiently within the body. Consequently, those who consume raw cannabinoids can do so at much higher concentrations. This is especially important when it comes to psychoactive cannabinoids like THC and CBN. In other words, those who seek higher cannabinoid concentrations may do well to consume raw cannabis to avoid extreme psychoactivity.  On the other hand, those who seek a psychoactive experience may need to decarboxylate (slightly heat) their marijuana flower first.

Final Thoughts on The Nutritional Benefits of Marijuana

One should not overlook the nutritional benefits of marijuana. Whether consumed raw or heated and decarboxylated, consuming all parts of the cannabis flower can be a great way to improve one’s overall health.

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