A few years ago, I was into juicing in a big way. I would turn pounds of fruits and veggies into a brimming cup full of nutritious liquid. While not every fruit/vegetable combo would be super tasty, I will admit that I felt great and that alone motivated me to keep at it.
While I might not juice every meal, I still juice at least once a day. After all, when you plunk down several hundreds of dollars on a decent juicer, you sort of feel obligated to use it. So I do. When I was getting bored of the regular cucumber/citrus combo I’ve been chugging relentlessly for years, I started reading about juicing cannabis.
For those sun-grown cannabis farmers out there, in a few short months, you’ll be able to try some juicing with your own raw material. For indoor growers, you have a supply throughout the year. For non-growers curious about juicing cannabis, start hitting up your farmer friends, or reach out to cannabis farms in your area. We’ll look into all aspects of juicing cannabis — from what it is to what tools you need for the job — all the way to recipes. So let’s go!
What is cannabis juice?
Let me be very clear: you cannot throw dried, cured flower into a juicer and call it weed juice. That would be disgusting, and it wouldn’t do anything but ruin your bud. To make juice, you need fresh, raw cannabis, free from chemicals or pesticides. There’s plenty of liquid in that plant, and juicing squeezes it all out.
Think of raw cannabis plant material like a vegetable. Clean, fresh, uncured and unaltered. Fresh vegetables, just like fresh cannabis, have liquid inside that’s perfect for juicing extraction. Experts recommend that people limit their cannabis juice to 15 leaves and two raw buds per day (and not a whole cola; grab buds 2-4 inches long). Use fresh buds that have clear THC glands, rather than the amber-colored ones that indicate a plant is ready for harvest.
Always pair it with another juice
Take this piece of advice: Mix your cannabis juice with another juice for palatability. I tried to drink down a shot of fresh cannabis juice, and it was kind of rough — if you’ve eaten cannabis edibles, you know what I’m talking about. Cannabis has a distinctive, sharp, herbaceous taste. Most don’t find the taste of cannabis very enjoyable, and there’s no need to “power through” drinking the stuff.
So mix it up! Try some combinations and see which flavors work for you. Personally, I enjoy mixing my fresh green juice with something sweeter, like fresh carrot juice and apple juice. But don’t stop there. Try some beetroot juice or use cucumbers for their high water content to dilute the mix. The typical ratio of cannabis juice to the other juice mixer is 1:10. You can safely store your juice (refrigerated) for up to three days in a tightly sealed container.
Health benefits of juicing cannabis
There are a ton of health benefits from juicing cannabis. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to enjoy the super nutrients the cannabis plant provides. The cannabinoid and fatty acids in the juice can help improve cell function, reduce damage caused by free radicals, and even increase communication between cells. Also, cannabis juice can reduce pain, decrease inflammation — and it has anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. Turns out, the raw cannabis plant contains both tetrahydrocannabinolic-acid ( also known as THCA) and Cannabidiolic-acid, or CBDA. These cannabinoids are known for their medicinal benefits, and you can consume higher doses when it is in its pure, raw state.
There are a ton of potential health benefits linked to consuming THCA, which you can only get from raw cannabis. Cannabis juice contains this cannabinoid, which has been shown to benefit those suffering ill-effects from anxiety, arthritis, cancer, depression, appetite problems, sleep issues, and more. If news like that doesn’t inspire you to try some cannabis juice, I don’t know what to tell you.
Will juicing raw cannabis get you high?
Don’t worry. Juicing raw cannabis won’t get you high. First off, THC has to get to your bloodstream to reach your receptors. But get this: researchers have isolated over 100 cannabinoids. Three of them, THC, CBD and CBG, are three that have been identified as possibly producing significant therapeutic effects. These three cannabinoids are in raw cannabis, but the only difference is that they have a carboxylic acid attached. Those are known as (take a deep breath and try to say it with me): delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THCA-A), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).
Living cannabis plants do not contain the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (that would be the THC) that cannabis is typically known for, and it takes more than just consumption. To transform and convert the THCA-A into stoney THC, you would need to decarboxylate the material, and you need high levels of heat for that. Humans are the ones who move that process, along with drying/curing/heating. Juicing is done using the pure, raw plant. So you’re good to go.
What if I do want to get high?
It might well be the case that you do in fact want the psychoactive effects provided by cannabinoids post-decarboxylation. If this is the case, you’ll need to apply some heat to the plant matter to activate the THC and CBD. For more information about this process, check out our article about decarboxylation. You might heat up your buds in an oven, or in a heated fat-soluble liquid, depending on the drink or edible you’re making.
How can I make cannabis juice?
If you’re curious about how to juice cannabis, try it. Take my word for it, though — don’t drink it straight. Mix it with something else to make it palatable (in other words, make it an enjoyable experience). First off, you’ll need to get your hands on a juicer. I spent a small fortune on my masticating juicer. Wait; let me explain. That sounded a little gross. You need to make sure you have the right tools for the job. Let me introduce you to my friend, Mr. Juiceroni.
There are several different types of juicing processes: mastication, centrifugal and trituration. Let’s have a look at what options are out there. For some, it might come down to price. For others, it’s all about the way the material is juiced.
Mastication Juicers. Mastication juicing uses a chewing and grinding process. This process breaks down the fiber of the raw material thoroughly, and some juicers swear that this method extracts more nutrients. You can expect to spend anywhere between $150-$1500 for a masticating juicer.
Centrifugal Juicers. On the other hand, some of my friends swear by their centrifugal juicers. This type of juicer is really just a mesh chamber full of sharp “teeth”. Those teeth, in essence, shreds the plant material into a pulp. At the same time those mechanical piranhas gnaw the material into teensy pieces, the machine spins at a high rate of speed. This process effectively separates the juice and the pulp. These juicers generally price in at a range of between $40-$150.
Triturating Juicers. The last type, the fancy-sounding triturating juicer, is a spendy choice, with a price range of $400-$2000. The triturating juicer has two gears that are assembled very, very close together. When the fruits or veggies enter the machine, the gears crush and grind every bit of it into teensy-tiny pieces. This extracts a ton of juice.
5 ideas for juiced cannabis drink recipes
So, you’ve got your juicer. Now you need some proper recipes. Here are five of my favorite juice recipes that contain raw cannabis.These have a nice complexity of flavors, which helps to mask the distinctly sharp taste of cannabis. My current fave? The Cannabis Thai Iced Tea is flat-out phenomenal.
1. Cannabis Milk
The first recipe I’ll cover will be making basic cannabis milk, since this is also an ingredient in some of the other drinkable recipes to follow.
Sometimes referred to as “Mother’s Milk”, cannabis milk is a popular choice for many medical cannabis users. It provides a simple method of including marijuana with your morning tea or coffee.
To make it, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 ounce ground-up cannabis flower
- Start off by decarbing your cannabis by spreading it evenly across a baking tray, covering it with aluminum foill, and cooking it on 240 degrees F. Then, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.
- Add the milk to a double boiler, and apply a gentle heat. Add in the ground-up cannabis gradually, stirring regularly, and ensuring the plant matter is completely covered by milk. Simmer for between 45 minutes and 2 hours, depending on how strong you want the drink to be.
- Turn off the heat, and pour the milk-cannabis mixture through a cheesecloth and into a jug or mixing bowl. Squeeze out as much of the milk from the plant matter as possible to minimize wastage.
- Let the infused milk cool, then drink it on its own or use as an ingredient in another drink.
2. Vanilla Cannabis Milkshake
This cannabis milkshake recipe is a versatile drink that can be easily tweaked to your preference by using a different flavor of ice cream.
- 4 cups vanilla ice cream
- 1 3/4 cups cannabis milk (see recipe #1 above)
- 8 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blitz until the desired consistency is reached.
- Pour inside a tall, chilled glass and enjoy.
3. Strawberry Canna-Basil Lemonade
If you’re looking for something that’s as refreshing as it is potent on a hot summer’s day, this Strawberry Canna-Basil Lemonade is worth a try.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 ¼ cups water
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx.. 5 lemons)
- 4-6 strawberries
- 2 ½ tbsp basil
- 4 tbsp cannabis tincture
- Juice the lemons and set aside in a large pitcher.
- Place one cup of water in a saucepan, add the sugar, and bring to a boil, stirring regularly to ensure the sugar completely dissolves.
- Cool the mixture at room temperature, then add to the refrigerator to chill.
- Add to the lemon juice the sugar syrup, cannabis tincture, strawberries, basil and remaining water.
- Blend the mixture until basil is finely chopped, and the lemonade turns a pinkish color.
- Always serve chilled or with ice.
4. Cannabis Thai Iced Tea
Cannabis Thai Iced Tea is a great option for when you’ve got some cannabutter on hand, but no appetite for food.
- 6-8 Chai tea bags
- 8 cups boiling water
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 5 tablespoons melted cannabutter
- Put the tea bags in boiling water and let sit for five minutes. Then remove the tea bags and stir in the sugar until dissolved.
- In a separate bowl, combine and mix the condensed milk and cannabutter.
- Fill glasses two-thirds with tea and top up each glass with the sweetened cannabutter mixture.
Note: The cannabutter will sink to the bottom, so keep a spoon on hand to stir it back in.
5. Banana Dream
This drinkable is the perfect choice for those who have a sweet tooth but want to watch their diet.
- 1 large banana, peeled and sliced
- 2 ½ cups almond milk
- 4 tbsp cocoa
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup chopped, fresh cannabis buds
- Peel and slice the banana
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blitz to the desired consistency.
Don’t take my word for it, though — try them all and find your favorite, or create your blend with a custom mix of ingredients. I would say a tongue-in-cheek, ‘Stoner Appetit’, but since these recipes won’t get you high, it doesn’t carry the same oomph. So instead, I encourage you to try and enjoy some highly nourishing fresh cannabis juice. Cheers!
What are the best cannabis juice recipes you like to make? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add the best ones to the article!