Cannabis isn’t the only plant that affects the endocannabinoid system. Several other plants also contain cannabinoids, or similar compounds, rendering them therapeutic in their own right. Oftentimes, whether someone needs to pass a drug test at work or doesn’t want to feel any psychoactive effects, alternative plants to cannabis might be helpful in providing healing benefits without the risk.
To fill out your own herbal alchemy cupboard, here are some other cannabinoid-containing plants to do some healing work with.
Hops and cannabis are known cousins. And like cannabis, hops, one of the main ingredients in certain types of beer, also contains CBD. Hops-derived cannabinoid products can be equally as healing as cannabis, but will not deliver a high. However, finding the right variety of hops, not to mention an ingestible product that provides the correct dose of CBD, is less easy than visiting a dispensary and knowing you’ll find a high-CBD strain of cannabis in no time.
Echinacea, like cannabis, is a very healing herb, known especially to boost immunity, as well to provide relief for anxiety, migraines, and arthritis. Echinacea contains cannabimimetics (cannabinoid receptor agonists) that target the body’s endocannabinoid system, including CB1 and CB2 receptors (which regular cannabinoids also target).
Cannabis and cacao are both thought to be superfoods — hence why brands like Whoopi & Maya combine them for ultimate therapeutic relief. Cacao acts on the endocannabinoid system by deactivating FAAH, an enzyme that breaks down anandamide, an endocannabinoid known as the bliss molecule. When anandamide is not broken down, that means the body retains a higher level of it, which makes people feel relaxed or euphoric.
Black pepper is abundant in the terpene, or aromatic chemical, beta-caryophyllene, which binds to cannabinoid receptors in the body and delivers therapeutic effects like reducing inflammation. Incidentally, black pepper is also known to be an antidote if you are experiencing too intense of a THC high.
Liverwort contains a large amount of perrottetinenic acid, a cannabinoid that is very similar to THC. Perrottetinenic acid binds to the body’s CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, and is known to treat bronchitis, as well as liver or bladder issues.