You know about CBD and you know how it comes from hemp. But would you believe if we told you that the cannabis Sativa plant is not the only way you can get some CBD benefits? Sounds bizarre, we know, but recent findings reveal that there are indeed other plants that are cannabis-like. In fact, you may already have CBD at home!
CBD from Hemp (and Marijuana)
First, let’s delve into the common knowledge of CBD as produced by hemp and marijuana, which are members of the genus Cannabis. CBD or Cannabidiol is the non-intoxicating cannabis compound (called cannabinoids) in the cannabis Sativa plant. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid interacts with our Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
What is Cannabimimetics?
It has been found that there are a number of common plants that mimic cannabinoids in the way they act. They are called cannabimimetic or cannabimimetic compounds.
Cannabimimetics can imitate the biological activity of the classical cannabinoids, despite not sharing their structure. These compounds are now of increasing importance within medicinal cannabinoid research and human/animal nutrition.
Cannabinoids, which are the naturally occurring compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant and which includes CBD, interact with the ECS. Just like cannabinoids, cannabimimetics work directly or indirectly on the ECS and often also on other biological messaging systems. Nonetheless, structure-wise, cannabimimetic compounds are not the same as cannabinoids.
Medicinal Plants With Cannabimimetics
While it is not yet definitely clear what the specific health benefits of cannabimimetics are, the plants in which they are found are traditionally medicinal in nature.
As a medicinal plant, echinacea is well known for its immune-supportive properties. 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.
Indigenous to New Zealand, liverwort or Radula marginata contains large amounts of perrottetinenic acid, which is strikingly similar to tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis. Just as THC does, it is believed to bind with the CB1 receptors. It is similar but not identical in molecular structure to THC but it is not known to have any psychoactive effects.
Flaxseed is known for its lignans, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), or omega-3. A study conducted revealed the presence of CBD-like compounds in flax tissues of various kinds. It demonstrated the possible ability to influence your immune system on a cellular level, but its mode of action is slightly different from CBD.
4. Black Pepper
Do you know what sniffer dogs pick up in marijuana? It’s something called B-caryophyllene, a cannabimimetic compound that can be found in, you guessed it, black pepper! It’s mostly in essential oil, which is known to offer relief for a wide range of ailments. B-caryophyllene is also found abundantly in hops essential oil and many other spices and herbs like cloves, rosemary, lavender, and cinnamon. Told you, you may already have CBD at home!
5. 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—also known for their sedative properties—contain more of this cannabimimetic than cannabis. To add, hemp seed is a superior source of both B-caryophyllene and myrcene. Another excellent source of myrcene is mangoes.
6. Helichrysum umbraculigerum
Native to southern Africa, Helichrysum umbraculigerum is a flowering plant of the daisy family and has been a subject of study for cannabinoids as early as 1979 for its cannabimimetic constituent called cannabigerol. Helichrysum is known for its antidepressant and mood-stabilizing effects.
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! This rich confection contains compounds that turn on the same receptor in the brain as marijuana. In a research study, biochemists have isolated small quantities of anandamide—the ethanolamide of arachidonic acid—from chocolate and cocoa powder. The compound is thought to be the natural ligand for the cannabinoid receptor, the receptor that binds THC and is responsible for the high induced by marijuana.
Not just a pretty face, this Tibetan medicinal plant is yet another source of two brand-new cannabimimetic compounds: anthopogocyclolic acid and anthopogochromenic acid. Rhododendron is being researched for its insecticidal properties and is traditionally used to treat bronchitis, asthma, fever, inflammation, and coronary heart disease.
It’s always exciting to discover something new about something as interesting as CBD. Knowing about the cannabimimetic compounds opens new opportunities to those exploring and learning what is CBD. However, if you're looking for whole-plant CBD oil, it is best to stick with pure CBD products while keeping in mind what benefits other plants can offer!
- Alkylamides from Echinacea Are a New Class of Cannabinomimetics - https://www.jbc.org/content/281/20/14192.full
- New Bibenzyl Cannabinoid from the New Zealand Liverwort Radula marginata - https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/cpb/50/10/50_10_1390/_pdf
- Cannabinoid-like anti-inflammatory compounds from flax fiber - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22706678/
- Cannabigerol-ähnliche verbindungen aus Helichrysum umbraculigerum - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0031942279830253
- 6 Plants Other Than Cannabis That are High in Healing Cannabinoids - https://www.theartofhealing.com.au/Piper-Nigrum.html
- Chocolate may mimic marijuana in brain - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cen-v074n036.p031a
- Toxicity of Rhododendron anthopogonoides Essential Oil and Its Constituent Compounds towards Sitophilus zeamai - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51854631_Toxicity_of_Rhododendron_anthopogonoides_Essential_Oil_and_Its_Constituent_Compounds_towards_Sitophilus_zeamais