Absolutely. However, while cannabis leaves are edible, healthy, and often enjoyed around the world, don’t expect to feel any of the effects that you normally would from smoking them, or from eating prepared edibles.
In order to feel any effects from the THC and CBD compounds present in cannabis leaves, these have to be smoked or vaporized. In order to get any effects through ingestion, you will have to decarboxylate (heat up to a specific point) the leaves – a lot of them – and bind them to an edible oil such as butter or coconut oil. Leaves contain relatively few cannabinoid compounds compared to buds, so proper prep work is absolutely needed to feel any effects.
How to eat them
If you’re not particularly concerned about the effects, you can also treat leaves like you would other green leafy veggies. They can also be blended into smoothies, juiced, or simply eaten in salads or prepared like any other leafy greens.
Smaller, younger leaves are especially tender and can provide a pleasant texture to a number of dishes. This makes them great when sautéed or integrated into most other dishes. Larger leaves, on the other hand, have a number of tough, spiny bits that can irritate your mouth. This makes it necessary to chop larger leaves finely or to use a food processor.
As for nutritional benefits, cannabis leaves are jam-packed with them, being one of the most nutrient-dense foods that are widely cultivated. The leaves are a good source of fiber, which makes sense given their historical role as a source of pulp for paper production. They also contain large amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and a wide range of anti-oxidants.
Smoothies are a popular way of consuming non-decarboxylated leaves. If you have enough, it may also be worthwhile juicing the leaves for the most nutritional benefits. Either method allows an extremely high absorption rate for nutrients without getting you high. These methods are recommended for those who want the nutritional benefits of cannabis leaves without the psychoactive effects.
Plain cannabis leaves vs. traditional edibles
Of course, you can also make traditional edibles from cannabis leaves. While excellent for use as medical cannabis, cannabis edibles are much less potent than edibles made from buds, but they still provide an excellent amount of nutrition, though much will be lost in the decarboxylation process. The extremely high heat necessary for decarboxylation can damage some of the nutrients present in cannabis leaves, which makes traditional edibles far less desirable from a nutritional standpoint.
Another common use of cannabis leaves is as a garnish. In more open-minded settings, wide fan leaves are sure to be a great conversation starter and a nutritious way to accent a meal.
To wrap things up – yes cannabis leaves are edible. And there are a whole lot of benefits to eating them, too. They’re essentially like most other vegetables with the added benefit of being highly nutritious. Should cannabis be legal in your area, we highly encourage you to try out cannabis leaves in different recipes. Just don’t expect to get high, though.
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