Cannabis may be illegal in many parts of this world, but phytocannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and plants that mimic the effects of cannabis are legally sold and grown all around!. Surprisingly, these compounds can also be found in other plants.
Phytocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids found in cannabis, as well as various plants, are responsible for activating CB1 or CB2 receptors, which signal messages to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), an internal system that controls homeostasis and contributes to the health of body and brain. Endocannabinoids, also known as endogenous cannabinoids, signal molecules deriving from lipid precursors that exhibit their effects when activating cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2).
If you are interested in plants that can help your endocannabinoid system in addition to your cannabis use, look no further than your garden or local supermarket. There are a variety of spices, herbs, plants, and vegetables that have cannabimimetic effects – as well as another dessert you wouldn't expect!
Spices: Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano and Black Pepper
Beta-caryophyllene- is a cannabinoid found in cinnamon, Clove, Oregano & Black Pepper. While there’s still much to be learned about beta-caryophyllene, scientific research has discovered some great potential benefits, which can be seen below:
Herbs: Echinacea & Rue
Echinacea and rue have been identified as two naturally and abundantly growing herbs that are significant CB2 reactors.
Commonly found in drug stores, echinacea is a plant-based over-the-counter supplement that is believed to ward off the common cold and relieve various respiratory ailments. The endocannabinoids alkylamides and anandamide (AEA) are found in echinacea, bind to the CB2 receptor and, like the THC cannabinoid, greatly inhibits inflammation. According to sciencedirect.com, "Alkylamides represent a class of lipidic compounds structurally related to animal endocannabinoids. Based on the structural similarity of these compounds to anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine), an endogenous cannabinoid cerebral neurotransmitter, alkamides are highly active in the central nervous system. Despite their several biological activities, their immunomodulatory and analgesic properties are most important therapeutic applications."
Rue, a common strong-smelling herb found in the Balkans, has a compound called rutamarin that has a selective affinity to the CB2 receptor. Rutamarin is known for its sedative and antiviral effects, though it's poisonous in large doses.
Plants: Helichrysum & Liverworts
Cannabigerol (CBG), a phytocannabinoid found in cannabis, is a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant. It does not affect thinking like some of the other ingredients in this plant. CBG has not been studied in humans. But there is interest in its use for various neurologic disorders, abnormal levels of cholesterol or blood fats, and to stimulate appetite.
CBG is also found in the aromatic and mood-regulating essential oil of helichrysum. Helichrysum is a small perennial herb with narrow, silver leaves and flowers that form a cluster of golden yellow, ball-shaped blossoms. CBG activates the endocannabinoid system by means of inhibiting anandamide uptake. Commonly referred to as the “bliss molecule,” anandamide appears to correlate to feelings of well-being and happiness. By inhibiting the uptake of anandamide, CBG accumulates and increases its known psychotropic and therapeutic effects.
Aside from cannabis, liverworts are a common New Zealand plant that have been identified as one of the few plants to contain a CB1 cannabinoid. Compared with THC, however, the molecule (−)-cis-perrottetinene (also known as cis-PET) found in liverworts is a less-potent psychoactive cannabinoid. It is, however, a legal psychoactive substance that has been used to obtain a “legal high” in Switzerland and New Zealand.
Veggies: Broccoli, Kale & Sprouts
The family of the plant genus Brassica contains many vegetables you might see on a daily basis — broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. The same anti-cancer dietary molecule found in both Brassica vegetables and cannabis has been identified as a CB2 receptor agonist that activates anti-inflammatory effects, according to this Benzinga article.
The Surprise: Chocolate
Cacao, the primary ingredient in chocolate, is not a phytocannabinoid and does not have any cannabimimetic effects. It was thought that that chocolate contains anandamide, but it isn't exactly true. Cacao contains an anandamide reuptake inhibitor. Endocannabinoid reuptake inhibitors (eCBRIs), also called cannabinoid reuptake inhibitors (CBRIs), are drugs which limit the reabsorption of endocannabinoid neurotransmitters by the releasing neuron. This means that cocoa boosts anandamide in the body by decreasing the enzyme FAAH which readily metabolizes anandamide, similar to the behavior of helichrysum.
Cannabinoids can help in various ways, and the above sources are great if you are concerned about the psychoactive effects of THC. Otherwise, you can supplement your THC intake with the above veggies and herbs to help your "high." please reach out to our office with any questions; we love to help!
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