Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 13, 2023

Smoking weed has been the most popular method of marijuana use ever since people first discovered the benefits of the cannabis plant. Nowadays, besides smoking it, cannabis users enjoy using this plant in other ways as well, whether that’s lighting the bong, vaping weed with a vaporizer, using extracts, or eating cannabis-infused edibles to get their desired amount of THC in their system.

When it comes to eating cannabis products, a common question that a lot of first-time cannabis users ask is what happens if you eat weed. In this article, we’ll tackle the subject of cannabis ingestion, whether it’s safe to eat cannabis products and the raw cannabis plant, and what are the positive and negative sides to this method of consumption.

Can You Eat Cannabis?

The cannabis Sativa, Indica, and hybrid strains are in fact edible and they’ve been used in foods and drinks since the times of ancient civilizations. 

In ancient China and India, cannabis was used as a medicinal plant for treating a lot of medical conditions, including chronic pain, digestive disorders, insomnia, inflammation, and other conditions. Moreover, cannabis products were used for their stress-relieving properties as well as the euphoric feelings they produce.

One of the most common ways that the ancient Indians consumed this popular plant was by making bhang, a beverage that incorporates the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant and turns them into a drink that was used in religious ceremonies and festivals. 

The ingestion of cannabis has since become popular in a lot of other countries around the world, and some have even legalized recreational and/or medical marijuana. In states where weed is legal, you can buy it in cannabis dispensaries in the form of drinkables such as tea, but also in the form of edibles like weed brownies, baked goods, candies, gummies, cannabutter, capsules, chocolates, oil, and other products.

Can You Eat Raw Cannabis?

Let’s first start off by saying that raw cannabis won’t have the same effects on you as cannabis that has gone through the decarboxylation process. While decarbed cannabis contains the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), raw cannabis contains the non-psychoactive compounds tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). The former produce mind-altering effects paired with the entourage effects from terpenes that activate the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, while the latter don’t. 

What Happens When You Eat Raw Weed?

If you want to try eating raw weed, you may be relieved to know that eating this leafy green may give you some health benefits. A large number of people believe that eating raw cannabis is a perfect way to reap the health benefits of this plant without experiencing the psychoactive effects. Raw cannabis can help with insomnia according to a study, which is how some people choose to reap the medical benefits of raw marijuana.

Eating raw weed is also a great way to reap the benefits of THCA. Previous research showed that THCA has anti-inflammatory properties which is another great option for patients who don’t want to experience the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Some authors of studies have also suggested that THCA, similar to THC, promotes brain health and helps promote normal brain function. Finally, THCA has been shown to prevent the spread of some cancer cells according to evidence from this study. While the research on cannabis is still in its infancy, these types of studies provide a great insight into how using this plant can promote health, as well as provide the motivation for other researchers to dive into the benefits that this plant may provide. 

Will Eating Raw Weed Get You High?

As you may have concluded from the previous paragraph, eating raw cannabis won’t get you high. The decarboxylation process is essential for transforming THCA and CBDA into the active ingredients THC and CBD. So, if a high is what you’re after, opt for other consumption methods. And if you want to enjoy the benefits of the raw cannabis plant, you can try juicing your weed with other ingredients that you like, or eat weed by adding bits and pieces to salads, on top of stews, and any other foods that you enjoy and you think would benefit from the addition of the raw cannabis plant on top.

Health Benefits From Edible Marijuana Products

While there are a lot of benefits from consuming the raw cannabis plant, ingesting edible marijuana products also has a lot of medical benefits, so it’s no wonder that edible cannabis products have grown in popularity in recent years. The effects of cannabis are sought after by recreational users, but even more so among medical marijuana users.

Ingesting cannabis products can help with a wide variety of medical conditions, such as chronic pain, anxiety and depression, cancer and nausea related to chemotherapy, extreme weight loss, inflammation, insomnia, and other conditions.

If you want to learn more about the health effects of cannabis products, we’ve done an article on that specific topic.

Choosing Quality Cannabis Products

To make the most out of the benefits of using the cannabis plant, purchasing good quality products is essential. In states where cannabis consumption is legal, you can visit the local dispensary and purchase different types of cannabis products with different concentrations of THC and CBD. 

However, if there are no dispensaries close to where you live, there are a number of ways in which you can make cannabis edibles at home. In fact, we have a few recipes for making potent weed brownies, cannabutter, cannabis tea, and many more.

Side Effects of Eating Marijuana

It’s important to mention that while cannabis provides a lot of benefits to both recreational and medical users, cannabis use can result in some negative effects. 

Cannabis use can elevate your blood pressure and cause a fast heart rate which isn’t something that people with heart disease would benefit from. In some cases, it’s even advised that patients with serious medical conditions that use prescription medication should avoid using marijuana so the cannabis doesn’t affect the effectiveness of the therapy.

Another point is that ingesting the cannabinoids through edible cannabis products means that the onset rate of the effects is much slower compared to smoking cannabis, which can lead to overconsumption. While a low dose will produce the effects users are after, a higher dose that goes past their tolerance levels can result in confusion, paranoid delusions, extreme sedation, and even hallucinations. Therefore, it’s best to stick to how much you can tolerate and purchase quality cannabis products, or make them at home.

Final Thoughts on Cannabis Use and Eating Cannabis

Now you know that eating the cannabis plant is perfectly safe not only because the plant is a dark leafy green and contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, but also because users experience a lot of positive health benefits. Remember that the raw plant won’t give you psychoactive effects, so if that’s what you’re after, choose another method of consumption that involves decarbing the cannabis plant.

For those of you who enjoy the psychoactive effects and want to consume weed by ingesting it, you may want to dive further into the different cannabis edibles and drinkables to find out which one suits you the best. 

And finally, remember to check the laws and regulations where you live so you know whether cannabis is legal for purchase and consumption.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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