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Surprise! There Are Other Plants Like Cannabis

Surprise! There Are Other Plants Like Cannabis

Whaddayaknow! Cannabis is not the only one! We were intrigued to learn that marijuana is not the only plant with cannabinoid-like compounds, all with their own unique and healthful properties. What's more—most of these plants are legal in the U.S. So, read on to learn about compounds similar to cannabinoids (including CBD), plants that contain them, and their health properties.

First, let's get the science straight.

Cannabinoids can be defined, at least in terms of their function, as compounds that bind to specific receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Until a couple of decades ago, it was thought that they were produced only in the human body (yes, our own bodies make these compounds!), and by the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, aka marijuana or hemp.

Yet in the past few years, research has discovered several constituents that bind to and functionally interact with the same ECS receptors as cannabinoids. They all have a different molecular structure than cannabinoids, however. [1]

Cannabinoids, like CBD, bind to specific receptors of the endocannabinoid system.

No Other True CBD Plant

So far, research suggests that science has discovered cannabidiol-like (or CBD) compounds in only one plant other than cannabis. Yet it is not as good a source of CBD as cannabis, so if you're looking for whole-plant CBD oil, stick with CBD product vendors. Be sure to choose wisely, though, because the quality is everything!

It appears that only cannabis produces THC.

RELATED: How To Choose A High-Quality CBD Oil

That said, there are compounds in a great number of other plants that mimic cannabinoids in the way they act, and they go by the name of "cannabimimetics."

In the field of cannabinoid research, cannabimimetics are of increasing importance. They work directly or indirectly on the endocannabinoid system and often also on other biological messaging systems.

It would probably be more accurate to say that this is the major similarity between the cannabinoids and cannabimimetics—they all interact with the ECS. As mentioned, they are not the same as true cannabinoids in structure.

At this point, it is not always clear what the specific health benefits of cannabimimetics are, but the plants in which they are found are traditionally medicinal in nature.

Some Medicinal Plants With Cannabimimetics

1. Flaxseeds

So, this is the other plant with CBD-like compounds! Flax is a good source of fiber, oil, and linseed, with many known health properties.

A 2012 study conducted in Poland revealed the presence of CBD-like compounds in flax tissues of various kinds. It demonstrated possible ability to influence your immune system on a cellular level, but its mode of action is slightly different from CBD. The researchers concluded: "These findings might open up many new applications for medical flax products, especially for the fabric as a material for wound dressing with anti-inflammatory properties."

Organic flax seeds are also rich in omega-3s. [2][3]

2. Black Pepper

B-caryophyllene is the cannabimimetic compound found in black pepper, mostly in the essential oil. Interesting fact—B-caryophyllene is also the component that sniffer dogs pick up in marijuana!

Black pepper essential oil is known to offer relief for a wide range of ailments, including pain management, high cholesterol, and circulation issues. [5]

B-caryophyllene is the cannabimimetic compound found in black pepper, mostly in the essential oil.

B-caryophyllene is also found abundantly in hops essential oil and many other spices and herbs like cloves, rosemary, lavender, and cinnamon.

3. Hops and Mangoes

Apart from B-caryophyllene, hops essential oil is also a superb source of a terpene called myrcene (or β-myrcene), another cannabimimetic. In fact, hops contains more of it than cannabis and is known for its sedative properties. So, it is not only the alcohol in beer that relaxes us!

Hemp seed is a superior source of both B-caryophyllene and myrcene.

Another excellent source of myrcene is mangoes. Some even suggest that if you wish to potentize the effect of any cannabis product, such as whole-plant CBD oil, eat a mango before you take it! [4]

An excellent source of myrcene is mangoes.

4. Echinacea

Echinacea, or cornflower, needs no introduction. As a medicinal plant, it is well known for its immune-supportive properties, especially in tincture form.

Recently, a new class of cannabimimetic was identified in echinacea, called alkylamides, and it seems to work with anandamide, the first-ever endocannabinoid to be identified. Together they appear to control inflammation in the body. [5]

5. Liverwort

Another plant credited for its own unique cannabinoid-type compound is the New Zealand liverwort, or Radula marginata. Called perrottetinenic acid, it is similar but not identical in molecular structure to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. It does not have any of THC's psychoactive effects. [6]

Indigenous to New Zealand, liverwort is traditionally used to treat bronchitis and alleviate liver, bladder, and gallbladder issues. [7]

6. Rhododendron

This pretty Tibetan medicinal plant is yet another source of two brand-new cannabimimetics—anthopogocyclolic acid and anthopogochromenicacid.

The plant is being researched for its insecticidal properties and is traditionally used to treat bronchitis, asthma, fever, inflammation, and coronary heart disease. Studies have also shown that the essential oil can inhibit the growth of bacteria. [8]

RELATED: How to Use CBD Hemp Oil for Anxiety Relief

7. Keeribos

Native to southern Africa, the Helichrysum umbraculigerum hails from the sunflower family and was a subject of study for cannabinoids as early as 1979. The cannabimimetic constituent is called cannabigerol. Helichrysum is known for its antidepressant and mood-stabilizing effects. 

The plant has hallucinogenic properties and is putatively used in African ritual ceremonies. [7][9]

8. Cacao

Yup! It's for real—chocolate is good for you and it’s a real mood lifter. Natural chocolate interacts with the ECS by, among other functions, breaking down anandamide, the body's own naturally produced THC. However, it causes only a sense of relaxation and happiness, not the “high” associated with marijuana consumption. [10]

Natural chocolate interacts with the ECS by breaking down anandamide, the body's own naturally produced THC.

RELATED: THC & CBD: The Differences You Need to Know

This list should serve to show that cannabis and all its miraculous compounds were designed to have a healing effect on the human body. The best source of CBD remains the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, however. Hemp-derived CBD is legal in most states in the U.S., but be sure to only use the best quality whole-plant CBD oil.

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Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931553/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed#1
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22706678
  4. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1447-0756.2011.01802.x
  5. http://www.jbc.org/content/281/20/14192.full
  6. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/cpb/50/10/50_10_1390/_pdf
  7. https://www.theartofhealing.com.au/Piper-Nigrum.html
  8. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51854631_Toxicity_of_Rhododendron_anthopogonoides_Essential_Oil_and_Its_Constituent_Compounds_towards_Sitophilus_zeamais
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0031942279830253
  10. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cen-v074n036.p031a

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