CBD is just one of over a hundred naturally occurring plant compounds called “Cannabinoids” common to Hemp and Cannabis plants, alike. Named after the popular herb, Cannabinoids have a staggering range of health benefits, but did you know that Hemp and Cannabis aren't the only plants to produce these highly sought-after chemical compounds? Today we'll take a look at five other plants that nature compels to “grow their own” therapeutic Cannabinoids.
Interestingly, plants are not the only thing to produce these compounds. The reason they affect humans’ and other animals’ physiology in such impressive ways is due to a little know biological system found in all mammals known as the Endocannabinoid System.
The Endocannabinoid System actually creates a type of Cannabinoid itself, to stabilize a multitude of physical and psychologically systems in the body. These cannabinoids made naturally by human and other mammal bodies are known as Endocannabinoids - as opposed to Phytocannabinoids, what we call the compounds when they're made by plants.
A third type can be created in a chemistry lab and these are referred to as “Synthetic Cannabinoids”.
In the human body, Cannabinoids have been found to regulate an absolutely astonishing number of physical and cognitive processes including (but not limited to): “fertility, pregnancy, pre- and postnatal development, appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory”, according to Wikipedia.
Recently CBD, a Cannabinoid popularly derived from Hemp extractions, has made headlines for its therapeutic value beneficial to an impressive range of applications: from sufferers of PTSD and Anxiety, to those with Epilepsy and chronic inflammation. PubMed cites over 50 such applications for this one compound alone.
CBD is a major constituent of cannabis, making up about 40% of the active compounds in the plant’s resin. THC, the molecule popular for the intoxicating effect of the plant, is surprisingly the only Cannabinoid known to create said effect on its own and is not found in substantial amounts in Hemp.
In recent years it has been discovered that other compounds can affect the Endocannabinoid System in parallel ways, mimicking the effects of Cannabinoids and essentially piggybacking off the innate biology of all mammals. These molecular compounds are called Cannabimimetics and are found more commonly than you might think.
Cannabimimetics can be found in a number of surprising places and could be the next generation of industrial applications for Cannabinoids. We'll have to wait and see how the new Hemp legislation turns out. Hemp, like Cannabis, has an unusual amount of industrial applications. It's fiber alone is the strongest naturally made fiber on the planet and boasts a resistance to mold through its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. However, recent research has shown Hemp isn't the only fiber to hold this quality of resistance to mold.
Thought to be one of the first agricultural incentives, flax has been a staple crop for centuries, if not millennia - and for good reason. The Latin name actually means “the most useful”. Seeds of the plant have a tremendous amount of nutritional value, and are lauded as a “super food", with an unusually dense profile of vitamins, minerals and Omega-3s, as well as a potential anti-cancer agent called lignins.
Recently, research has uncovered a new benefit of the seed: that it contains a compound that acts very similar to CBD, fantastic for inflammation and many other diseases. That's just the seed! The fiber of the plant is used to make linen and has recently been found to have the same anti-microbial qualities as hemp and cannabis. A number of applications for the cloth are now in the works, centering largely around naturally antiseptic wound dressings.
Echinacea is commonplace as an immune booster, but the flower contains other properties as well. The clever blossom uses Cannabimimetics to achieve relief for a heavy handful of diseases including anxiety, fatigue, migraines and arthritis.
Echinacea produces compounds called N-alkyl amides (or NAAs) that are responsible for regulating the immune system, pain and inflammation.
Terpenes are flavor molecules, may of which Cannabis and Hemp share with other plants. Black pepper contains high levels of a terpene called beta-caryophyllene (BCP). This terpene is responsible for the peppery taste and aroma in black pepper as well as some strains of Cannabis. BCP is another Cannabimimetic, binding with the CB2 receptor in the Endocannabinoid System. This terpene has proven to be a potent anti-inflammatory and research suggests it may be a suitable treatment for conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis.
Helichrysum is a daisy native to South America and creates a Cannabinoid called cannabigerol or (CBG). CBG is a homeopathic treatment for a number of conditions, and the daisy produces it in substantial volume. The essential oil of the plant is used topically or diffused for its strong mood-stabilizing and antidepressant properties. The compound can also be found in Cannabis.
Chinese Labrador grows prominently across North America and is said to be one of the most antimicrobial plants on the planet. Research suggests that essential oils extracted from the plant can kill practically anything - including staph infections and cancer cells. Researchers in 2011 identified two new Cannabimimetic compounds hiding among other, similar compounds in the plant; CBC, CBL and CBT being among them.
Today, you can at least find some of these compounds in huge demand. CBD soda and CBD Sparkling Water flavors have become as popular as CBD-infused gummy bears and the compound can be found over the counter even in prohibition states