The plant world is a magnificent and complex thing. There are about 391,000 plant species that we know of today. As time goes by there are sure to be more plants added to that list. The more we learn about plants, the more we find how beneficial each one is to the health of our planet, and in many instances the health of our bodies. Plants are such a large part of life that God didn’t spend just one day creating them, but two. On the third day he created “grasses, the herb that yields seed and fruit trees.” After He created Adam on the sixth day, He made the Garden of Eden, “containing every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food (Genesis 2).” With so much time and care spent to fill the earth with an abundance of plants, it’s not surprising that we are still discovering them today. This makes a person wonder: With so many plants out there, how much do we really know about them all? Could some plants have benefits that we never even considered? If this is true, it could mean a big change within our kitchen and our health care.
Genesis 1:29 (KJV) it states:
“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
It’s safe to assume that we are expected to partake of every beneficial plant that He has created for us, and use it to its full advantage. Mostly we assume these plants to be ones such as kale, spinach, lettuce, potatoes, corn etc: those easily seen in our local grocery store. An interesting fact is that potatoes were actually the most consumed vegetable in the United States according to a study done in 2012. Potatoes, though sometimes seen as unhealthy, are chock full of vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin B6. They are a good source of manganese and are high in fiber. Potatoes are also higher in potassium than bananas. So if the most widely consumed vegetable in the United States is actually pretty healthy, why is American health so poor?
Perhaps it’s in the preparation. While the ever healthful potato was the vegetable of choice for most Americans, two-thirds of potatoes consumed were done so in the form of french fries, potato chips and other overly processed forms. Once deep fried and slathered in fat, the once wholesome potato has become a junk food.
That being said, watching what we eat in order to reap the health benefits for our bodies is becoming progressively popular as new studies come to light of just how unhealthy we are as a nation. Instead of just potatoes, we are now buying more leafy greens, thanks to science and the convenience of bagged salads. We consume these greens with the idea that we are doing the best for our body’s health, and truthfully raw leafy greens are absolutely one of the best things we can eat.
Kale is one of the superfoods of the world and contains high levels of vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C, just to list a few. Lettuce is an easily enjoyed and versatile green filled with vitamin K, vitamin A and folate. Spinach has been for ages the power food of our childhoods. Most of us can remember the moment that Popeye opened his can of spinach and magically became strong enough to do just about anything. Though this was an obvious exaggeration, the idea that spinach can make us much stronger than we are isn’t far off the mark. Spinach is even higher in vitamin A and manganese than kale and lettuce both. It is also almost as high in vitamin K as kale. All three of these greens have made their way into smoothies and salads alike, which is a great way to lead a balanced diet.
But are we forgetting one important green that should be in our diets? Could it be that society has blinded us from the benefits of this plant? What if instead of spinach to toss in our salad, we ate cannabis? It does sound like a crazy idea, but bear with me. Cannabis’ place in the plant world (and in our kitchens) could be surprising, especially if you’re a Christian.
Why is it that we as Americans, undeniably mostly of the Christian faith, consume such a large amount of processed potatoes which are high in starch and sugars without blinking an eye, but turn our noses up to cannabis? The main reason, Christians would tell you, is that cannabis is considered a drug. This plant, they would say, gives you a “high” which clouds the thinking and muddies the mind. They would then reach for their Bibles and point out that God wants nothing to do with such a plant because, as stated in 1 Peter 5:8, He wants us to be “sober-minded” and “watchful.” Potatoes, they would say, have never been known to have such adverse side effects.
And I would agree: tossing away your reason and inhibitions is risky business for anyone. What I don’t agree with is throwing cannabis away all together, without knowing much about it. Did we ever think that maybe those who use the plant for a drug are simply just misusing the plant, in the same way that we misuse potatoes? When we fry a potato it ceases to become a healthy food and transforms into a junk food. But, again, because we can change a vegetable’s make up and turn it into a diabetic’s worst nightmare, doesn’t mean it’s the vegetable’s fault. It means we did something wrong when using the vegetable. As with potatoes, cannabis has its place in our lives. Its proper place just happens to be on a plate, not burned in a pipe.
While I agree that smoking cannabis is not the most helpful from a health perspective, this doesn’t mean that cannabis itself is unhealthy. If we could instead look at the marijuana plant as a food, perhaps we could move forward from the idea that cannabis is only for smoking.
In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Consuming raw cannabis gives you the complete and therapeutic effects of the cannabinoid acids, THCa and CBDa, which when smoked or vaped are burned away. Cannabis also contains terpenes, which are the oils in the plant that give it its distinct aroma. Terpenes are also present in many other plants. For example, the terpenes of the lavender plant give it a flowery-sweet smell. When cannabis is heated, it not only negatively affects the therapeutic qualities of the cannabinoid acids, but makes it harder for the plant to hold on to the beneficial terpenes.
Perhaps the piece de resistance in consuming raw cannabis is that when eaten raw, instead of being used in a heated form, it doesn’t produce a high. That means that our bodies can process a much higher dose without the risk of any psychoactive side effects. When heated not only are the medicinal properties altered, the acidity of THC is heightened, bringing the mind altering effects along with it. Raw consumption is the absolute best way to take advantage of the therapeutic properties of the cannabis plant.
Now that we’ve transformed this plant from a dry, smoked weed to a raw side dish, let’s see how it compares to our usual choices of healthy salads and vegetables.
While cannabis is a hard act to follow, we still shouldn’t forget about our beloved potatoes. They do provide much needed nutrients in our diet, just not necessarily from a drive-thru window. Potatoes provide carbohydrates that our bodies need, not to mention an array of vitamins and nutrients that help your body stay healthy.
Our favorite variety of bag salad is also still a good health choice. Kale, spinach and lettuce are undeniably beneficial. They offer their own unique sets of nutritional importances. However, none of these widely consumed vegetables hold a candle to cannabis.
Within the cannabis plant is an almost complete medicine cabinet of treatments. Just like kale, spinach, lettuce and potatoes, cannabis is chock full of vitamins and minerals. But to give it an edge, studies show that the THC found in cannabis relieves symptoms of chronic pain, PTSD and more. CBD, found in cannabis, which is non-psychoactive in and of itself, can treat cancer, seizures, epilepsy, depression and more.
Beyond the well-known THC and CBD, there are other components of the marijuana plant, CBDa and THCa. CBDa has been found to prevent the spread of cancer cells in breast cancer patients. CBDa and THCa combined, can be used as an anti-inflammatory, and THCa alone can (much like CBD) help with epilepsy, and also help regulate the immune system. To top it all off, cannabis is a complete protein, whereas our other leafy greens fall short and offer but a small percentage of our daily dietary needs. If God meant for a plant to “be used for [our] meat,” cannabis would be at the top of the list.
If this was a race between kale, lettuce, spinach, potatoes and cannabis, there is no doubt that cannabis would be in the lead. Though they are all undeniably important parts of our diet, none are quite as healing as cannabis from a medicinal and nutritional standpoint.
When studying the word of God, we sometimes get caught up in what others have told us to believe. When we read that God gives us every herb bearing seed, do we truly take this to heart? If we did, we could not then turn our heads to cannabis without turning our heads to the healing power of a God given medicinal miracle. We are to look to plants to keep our bodies healthy, so why not use cannabis in its purest form, the way He intended? This diet change could be just the thing we need for a healthier society.
Please consult a physician before using medicinally, and educate yourself on the use and preparation of cannabis.