Proponents of medical marijuana have found a new way to harvest the plants benefits and increase them. And theyre doing it without the negative impact of smoking. A growing number of people are now juicing cannabis, and they claim the benefits are nothing short of amazing.

The use of cannabis for medical reasons dates back thousands of years. Marijuana has been used to treat chronic pain including pain caused by cancer, glaucoma, eczema, insomnia and multiple sclerosis.

Scientific studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals supporting the benefits of the plant. Most patients and study participants have smoked the dried leaves, inhaling the compound called tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. But the downside of this is that during the burning process, oxidation takes place which can have detrimental effects on the body and diminish THCs immune-boosting properties. The heating process also destroys the enzymes that interact with the bodys built-in cannabinoid receptors.

Thats where juicing comes in.

According to Dr. William Courtney, by ingesting the raw plant, the beneficial effects are maximized. Dr. Courtney says his work with cannabis began when he read an article in Scientific American explaining that the body naturally produces compounds similar to cannabis. THC from the plant mimics the regulatory system of the cells to repair cell damage.

A 15 minute video called Leaf was released recently sharing the stories and successful experiences of Dr. Courtney and a patient who was on 40 different medications to treat conditions ranging from juvenile arthritis to lupus to interstitial cystitis. Within four to six weeks the patient now Dr. Courtneys wife says she was pain-free and off pain medications.

Dr. Courtney has his patients juice the entire plant or eat the leaves as one would eat a salad. Juicing the leaves or eating them raw, he says, allows the body to use the compounds in their natural form without the psychoactive properties that arise during the drying process. This also means the patient can consume 60 times more THC acid than they could if the cannabis is heated and all without the psychoactive effect of the controversial plant.

While much of the medical community remains against the use of marijuana as a treatment, the approval of THC in other forms and patents by the FDA for some strains of marijuana indicate at least some support for the effectiveness of the ingredient. Dr. Courtney and supporters of his research are hopeful for additional government-sponsored research into the benefits of juicing non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

Dr. Courtney acknowledges the onset of the benefits vary from person to person. In some cases they can be seen within days while for others it can take weeks, and the treatment is not recommended for individuals with certain health conditions. Still, Dr. Courtney is quoted as saying in its raw form cannabis could be the most disease-preventing and curative food on the planet.