Plants that contain cannabinoids

5 min read

Plants that contain cannabinoids

A cannabinoid is a term which is used a lot in the cannabis industry, but did you know that the Mother Nature offers some other types of cannabinoids as well?

These types include:

  • Phytocannabinoids – these are the cannabinoids produced by plants.
  • Endocannabinoids – these cannabinoids are produced in the body of humans and animals.
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids – these cannabinoids are produced in laboratories.

The interesting fact is that cannabis is not the only plant that produces healing cannabinoids. Many other superfoods also produce this healing compound which nourishes the endocannabinoid system of our body.

In some plants, a compound is found which has similar properties of cannabinoids but a little different structurally. These compounds are known as cannabimimetic compounds.

The cannabinoids containing plants are not psychoactive as they don’t contain THC. Instead, these plants contain cannabinoids that have a friendly interaction with your endocannabinoid system, which helps in maintaining the homeostasis. In simpler words, these plants won’t get you high but help in relieving pain and stress.

Now, let’s have a look on some of the plants that contain cannabinoids.

Plants containing cannabinoids

In this article, we will discuss 9 plants (other than cannabis) that contain healing cannabinoids.

1. Cacao (botanical name: Theobroma cacao)

    Ever wondered why chocolate is being enjoyed by people of all ages around the world? Well, this is because chocolate is made up of cacao, which is rich in chemicals that trigger happiness in the brain. These chemicals include theobromine, anandamide, tryptophan, and phenylethylamine.

    Anandamide, an endocannabinoid, is abundantly present in cacao. This endocannabinoid is naturally produced in the brain and regulates the mood, pain perception, memory, and appetite. Other than mood enhancing, cacao has many other benefits as well. These benefits include neuroprotection (improves brain health), speeds up the healing process, and it even helps in fighting cancer.

    To absorb all the nutrients and health benefits of cacao, it is important to consume it in its raw and organic form. If you are eating milk chocolates and assuming that you will get all the benefits of cacao, they you are wrong. Addition of powdered milk to cacao inhibits the absorption of useful nutrients in the body.

    2. Helichrysum (botanical name: Helichrysum umbraculigerum)

    Helichrysum is usually used as a mood-stabilizer and an anti-depressant. It is rich in cannabigerol (CBG), which is a phytocannabinoid and is commonly found in the plant of cannabis.

    Scientists have found that this plant not only contains CBG, but it is also rich in cannabigerol acid-like compounds.

    CBG can be potentially be used as an antibiotic, chemotherapeutic agent, and an anti-depressant. Helichrysum umbraculigerum is the only plant discovered so far that contains CBG.

    In South Africa, people smoke this plant traditionally. This might be due to its tendency to release stress.

    3. Black Pepper (botanical name: Piper nigrum)

    Black pepper is always present in every kitchen. Whether you are using it to season your steak or using it in a recipe, this ingredients always deliver more than just providing a spicy aroma.

    An important compound present in black pepper is beta-caryophyllene (BCP). This compound is present in many plants and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

    Presence of BCP makes it suitable to ease the pain of osteoporosis and arthritis. Different studies also suggest that it helps in preventing cancer and enhances the effectiveness of cancer-fighting drugs.

    4. Kava (botanical name: Piper methysticum)

    The plant of kava is known for its anti-anxiety and calming effects. People of Pacific island used to make a drinking medicine with the roots of kava. This medicine is said to have pain relieving, provide sedative, and joyous effects.

    These effects of Kava are produced because of the presence of a compound known as kavalactones. A kavalactone binds with the CB1 receptor, which is also a binding site of THC. Scientists believe that this interaction is possibly the reason of anti-anxiety effects of the plant.

    5. Coneflower (botanical name: Echinacea)

      Coneflower is a well-known herb that has been used for centuries to treat cold and flu. Various studies show that it also helps in reducing the recuperation time, reducing anxiety, and fighting fatigue, migraines, and arthritis.

      Certain species of echinacea contain cannabinoids, which are called N-alkylamides (NAAs). This compound interacts with the CB2 receptor of the immune system. These receptors are responsible for strengthening your immune system, relieving pain, and regulating the inflammatory response.

      6. Rosemary

        Just like black pepper, rosemary is also rich in beta-caryophyllene (BCP). It is a terpene which acts just like a cannabinoid. Terpene is responsible for flavor and aroma in plants.

        Many studies have revealed that BCP has a therapeutic potential. It has also anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects. When BCP is combined with a cannabinoid-like CBD, it helps in treating stomach ulcers and recovery from aid addiction.

        7. Black truffles (botanical name: Tuber melanosporum):

          As discussed earlier, cannabinoids produced by plants and animals are different. Those that are produced by plants are known as phytocannabinoids, whereas, endocannabinoids are produced by animals and humans. Although they are chemically similar, they do have some differences.

          Surprisingly, scientists have found that black truffles contain anandamide (AEA). It is also known as the bliss molecule, which is a version of THC produced within the human body.

          Anandamide is responsible for regulating mood and pain in the human body by binding to CB1 receptors.

          8. Electric daisy (botanical name: Acmella Oleracea)

            Electric Daisy is an Amazon native plant. People of Amazon region has been using it as a pain-numbing gel for centuries. It is also known as “the toothache plant”. A study held at the Cambridge University reveals that electric daisy blocks the pain receptors at the nerve end.

            The compound responsible for the pain-relief effect is N-isobutylamides. It binds with the CB2 receptor and helps in regulation of pain and inflammation throughout the body.  

            9. Liverwort (botanical name: Radula marginata)

            This plant is native to New Zealand. It contains a compound known as perrottetinenic acid,which is like THC in structure. Just like THC, it binds to the CB1 receptors of your immune system.

            This plant has been used traditionally to treat bronchitis, liver, bladder, and gallbladder problems.

            These are only a few plants that contain cannabinoid compounds which have a positive impact on the endocannabinoid system. Scientists are researching more on this topic to find out cannabinoids-like compounds naturally and use them for treating different medical conditions.



            This article was written by an independent and third-party author specialising in CBD, hemp and cannabis research. Any opinion, advice or recommendation expressed in the article does not reflect the opinion of Formula Swiss AG or any of our employees. We do not make any claims about any of our products and refer to our disclaimer for more information.

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