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(Image from Cannadad’s Blog)

by Owen Smith

Among the types of extraction that Health Canada continues to prohibit is juicing. When the leaves are processed through a fruit and vegetable juicer, a thick, dark green liquid is separated from the plant pulp. If the leaves are picked before the plant matures, the majority of THC will still be in acid form (see decarboxylation), producing little or no psychoactive ‘high’.

Dr. William Courtney is the co-founder of Cannabis International Foundation, who are helping pioneer a movement toward ingesting fresh, raw, non-psychoactive cannabis juice. When fresh, the plant contains a lot of the precursor Cannabinoids such as THC acid, which has recently been shown to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Dr. Courtney argues that by nourishing our endocannabinoid system, the juiced leaves and buds help the body function more efficiently, effecting all 210 human cell types.

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(Image from Cannadad’s Blog)

In their short film “Leaf, ” Dr. Courtney and his wife suggest juicing 10 to 20 fresh leaves daily. Proposing a mix of one part cannabis juice with 10 parts carrot juice to counteract the bitterness, he suggests selecting leaves around 70-90 days after sowing, and drinking the juice three times a day. With this Cannabinoid-rich liquid, free of the psychoactive effects of THC, it is possible to increase the dose of Cannabinoids such as Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) 100 times. In an average baked cookie, the tolerated dose of THC limits ingestion of other Cannabinoids to about 10 mg. In the raw juice, one can comfortably approach 1000 mg.

Courtney claims that the medical benefits activated in the higher dose range (500-1000 mg) include anti-diabetic, anxiolytic, and anti-eschemic properties for heart disease. He is on a mission to obtain a United Nations consensus for cannabis as an essential dietary requirement for humankind. He refers to this cannabis-specific collection of therapeutic compounds as Conditionally Essential Cannabinoid Acids.

On his Cannabis International website, he outlines his goals “to consolidate the science regarding the essential nature of the phyto-cannabinoid contributions to health maintenance and restoration. That akin to Essential Fatty Acids and Essential Amino Acids, there needs to be Minimum Daily Requirements established to guide worldwide adoption of raw cannabis as the single most important dietary element.”

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(Liam McKnight an his mother Mandy)

To prevent somebody accessing a medicine that is free of any ‘high’ seems to lack any rationale, yet Health Canada continues to prohibit medical cannabis producers and users from creating these THC-free products. Oregon’s Brave McKayla is a 9 year old from Oregon who uses Raw Cannabis juice alongside a CBD rich cannabis extract to treat her Lymphoblastic Leukemia, you may never have seen a smile so wide (VIDEO). Liam McKnight is a 6 year old from Ontario who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy. Under the current rules, he cannot legally access raw cannabis juice or a CBD rich concentrated extract, essentially limiting him to smoking or vaporizing “dried marihuana”.

My constitutional challenge to legalize these extracts for patients will be seen by the Supreme Court of Canada on March 20, 2015.

(previously appeared at Lift)