From reducing inflammation to producing a feeling of euphoria, cannabinoids, the chemical compounds produced by the cannabis plant, have a powerful therapeutic effect on the body and brain. These substances are essentially the main reason that we love cannabis so much! Alas, the plant kingdom is vast, and has many healing entities for us – and the cannabinoids THC and CBD are just a couple of tools in our toolkit.
Not many people know that other plants contain cannabinoids, too (check out this complete list of them) and some, you might even have in your kitchen pantry right now. If you’re curious to get more of these benefits in your life, it can be as simple as knowing which aisles of the grocery store to look in. Before you make a shopping list, though, here’s a little more info on how cannabinoids work to bring about the desired effects we seek:
Cannabinoids (in the form of THC and CBD, most commonly, when it comes to cannabis), act on the different cannabinoid receptors that are already found in our brains and bodies. These make up what’s called our endocannabinoid system, which is full of receptors that work to regulate different bodily processes (mood, sleep, immune function, etc.) So different cannabinoids bind to different receptors and produce any number of effects (like, appetite stimulation, tension relief, etc.). By aiming the right ones to the right places, we can benefit from their range of physical and mental support.
Ready to start experimenting with the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids? Pick up some of these readily accessible sources.
Most popular for its cold-fighting qualities, Echinacea has been found to produce alkylamides, which are a ‘new class of CB2-specific cannabinomimetics’ that share the same anti-inflammatory properties of the cannabinoids from cannabis. So, Echinacea may be better used to help ease the pain of migraines, arthritis, or anxiety, rather than prevent the common cold. Start your day off with a cup of Echinacea tea and see how you feel.
This ‘shroom has a lot more to offer than just a deliciously potent flavour. Black truffles work to produce anandamide, an endocannabinoid naturally produced by the body that regulates mood and pain tolerance. (It’s been called the ‘bliss molecule,’ named after ananda, the Sanskrit term for joy or bliss.) So if you can’t get that incredible Italian restaurant off your mind, know this: some researchers believe the anandamide in truffles may have evolved as an ‘ancient signal’ that makes truffle-eating creatures – who have the receptors for endocannabinoids, hunt for them. So, the animals eat them, get intoxicated, truffles ensure their spores are spread and the plant can reproduce.
Black pepper essential oil contains beta-caryophyllene (BCP), a cannabinoid that acts on the body’s CB2 cannabinoid pathways to impart anti-inflammatory properties that help to ease pain. It’s been said that it may also help relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety, too. The BCP content in this essential oil is also what gives strains like Death Star, OG Kush and Moon Cookies their distinctly peppery smell.
Wondered why eating chocolate makes you really happy? Cacao and dark chocolate contains anandamide, which mimics the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids found in THC. So, when you consume enough dark chocolate, you feel some mild euphoria. Anandamide has been called the “bliss” neurotransmitter – so, know this and prepare for your 3 PM energy crash at work accordingly – with some good quality dark chocolate. And a spliff. (Lol.)
This plant has been used in traditional medicine and distributed throughout Southern China for many years, though it was fairly recently found to contain two new cannabinoid-like chromane and chromene derivatives, which may play an role in tumor growth suppression as based on evidence found via testing on rats. Drink this tea or get a supplements at your local health food store to get its benefits.