Is Cannabis the Next Kale? One Chef Aims to Prove It’s Even More Nutritious

Words by Tamara Palmer

When nutritionists advise that you rotate the greens in your diet, we don’t think this is what they had in mind. But good news for cannabis fans everywhere: Ongoing trials suggest that the cannabis plant might be even more nutrient-dense than kale.

Cannabis more nutritious than kale?! (Minds blown.) Is this for real, or did we just indulge in too many edibles?

Let’s get to the bottom of this. More than a decade ago, Payton Curry left behind his life as a chef at Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurants to teach classes in the craft of cooking the non-psychoactive parts of the cannabis plant—the components that target pain relief and don’t get you high, like THC does. He’s now created a company called Flourish that works with labs in California and Arizona to develop food products targeted at easing the pains of stomach disorders.

The current trials are for raw cannabis juice, which he hopes can be introduced at select California medical dispensaries before the state’s recreational shops are permitted to open in 2018. “It’s full of phytonutrients that you won’t find in kale or spirulina or anything like that,” Curry said. Phytonutrients may help ward off diseases like cancer and keep your body working properly.

Cannabis juice also has probiotic benefits, like kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt, and supports a healthy immune system and metabolism. “And it’s great when you tell people with stomach ailments how something as simple as this juice can put a pep in their step by offering a more positive environment in the pH of their stomach,” Curry said. “It’s not making any claims of curing this or that, it’s simply offering a probiotic-rich environment to your stomach, like yogurt would. Digestion is the key to our life, and this juice is something we are very focused on as a kitchen and as a lab for those reasons.”

Cannabis juice is also high in vitamins, minerals, essential oils, and antioxidants like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Curry explained, adding that they tested kale juice against raw cannabis juice.

Ready to get your five-a-day? One major stumbling block that could prevent everyone from ditching kale and declaring cannabis the next “it” vegetable is that cannabis has a very harsh and earthy taste (so we’ve heard…). So that might be a tough sell to big box grocery stores and gym juice bars. Still, with eight states having legalized marijuana and more expected, we’re guessing a new boutique juice movement is underfoot and will only continue to grow like weeds.