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Fresh Cannabis Leaves May Be the Superfood You're Missing Out On

PopSugar logo PopSugar 4/23/2018 Nicole Yi
What Is THC-A? © Unsplash / Rick Proctor What Is THC-A?

We know that smoking dried cannabis flower yields a number of benefits - from pain relief to relaxation - but it turns out that consuming fresh cannabis leaves may also have perks for our health. Among the hundred plus cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, the most well-known are CBD (nonpsychoactive) and THC (pscyhoactive), and maybe even more recently, CBN. One that you've probably never heard of, however, is THC-A.

"THC-A has many of the anti-inflammatory properties of both CBD and THC, but unlike those two, it can only be accessed through fresh cannabis leaves," Miss Grass cofounder and editor in chief Anna Duckworth told POPSUGAR. "As soon as the plant is dried and heated up, as is the case when we smoke or vaporize the plant, the THC-A is no more."

If you're worried about getting high, consuming fresh, uncured cannabis leaves won't produce a stoned effect. It's the process of decarboxylation that converts THC-A into THC as the flower dries and is heated for use. But when consumed in its freshest form - whether you incorporate it into a salad or juice it - THC-A can act as an anti-inflammatory agent and potentially manage or reverse chronic diseases, as well as become a treatment option for Parkinson's, according to studies referenced by Miss Grass. Additionally, a 2013 study found this cannabinoid to be effective in controlling the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Although further research on THC-A and cannabinoids in general are much needed, we anticipate more research to be available as marijuana continues to legalize across the country. As for where you can get your hands on raw cannabis greens in the meantime, ask your local dispensary or GIY (grow it yourself) if you live in a legal state.

Slideshow: What marijuana really does to your body and brain (Business Insider) 

a close up of a woman:  Marijuana's official designation as a Schedule 1 drug - something with "no currently accepted medical use" - means it's pretty tough to study. Yet a growing body of research and numerous anecdotal reports link cannabis with several health benefits, including pain relief and the potential to help with certain forms of epilepsy. In addition, researchers say there are many other ways marijuana might affect health that they want to better understand. Along with several other recent studies, a massive report released this year by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine helps  sum up exactly what we know - and what we don't - about the science of weed. What marijuana really does to your body and brain

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