What are cannabinoids? How do they work with our body?
Many plants contain cannabinoids. "The marijuana plant produces as many as 113 different cannabinoids. Among these cannabinoids, THC and CBD are the most prevalent and the most well-understood. Marijuana’s cannabinoids are produced and stored within the trichomes (crystals) of the plant. These trichomes give marijuana flowers their shiny and sparkly appearance. Most strains of marijuana sold today are cultivated with higher levels of THC. THC is known for its psychoactive properties, and is the reason you feel “high” after ingesting marijuana. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and actually works to counteract the high. CBD also has numerous benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. While THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids, there are many other cannabinoids in marijuana that offer health benefits. Some of these include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC)." (source) "Cannabinoid receptors, located throughout the body, are part of the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. Cannabinoid receptors are of a class of cell membrane receptors in the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily. As is typical of G protein-coupled receptors, the cannabinoid receptors contain seven transmembrane spanning domains. Cannabinoid receptors are activated by three major groups of ligands: endocannabinoids, produced by the mammillary body; plant cannabinoids (such as cannabidiol, produced by the cannabis plant); and synthetic cannabinoids (such as HU-210). All of the endocannabinoids and plant cannabinoids are lipophilic, such as fat soluble compounds." (source)
Alternative Plants Containing Cannabinoids:
"According to a 1976 study published by the International Association of Plant Taxonomy concluded “both hemp varieties and marijuana varieties are of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis Sativa. Further, there are countless varieties that fall into further classifications within the species Cannabis Sativa.”
However, depending on how theplant is grown and utilized will determine which term is correct. For instance, the term cannabis (or marijuana) is used when describing a Cannabis Sativa plant that is bred for its potent, resinous glands (known as trichomes). These trichomes contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid most known for its psychoactive properties. Hemp, on the other hand, is used to describe a Cannabis Sativaplant that contains only trace amounts of THC. Hemp is a high-growing plant, typically bred for industrial uses such as oils and topical ointments, as well as fiber for clothing, construction, and much more. Only products made from industrial hemp (less than 0.3% THC) are legal to sell, buy, consume, and ship. This single factor (0.3%) is how most people distinguish between what is classified as “hemp” and what is classified as “cannabis." (source) Hemp CBD products are finding their way across shelves from grocery stores to pet stores to hair salons. Hemp CBD products allow you to reap the healing benefits of CBD without the high or legal requirements of it's sister Cannabis. Hemp would be my first recommendation because of it's potency.
"The medicinal uses of Echinacea are well known and far reaching. This plant can do a little bit of everything–from fighting the common cold to relieving symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, arthritis, migraines, and other ailments. Funny thing, these are many of the same conditions that are eased with marijuana. Turns out, some species of echinacea contain compounds that engage the ECS sort of like cannabinoids. More specifically, they contain cannabimimetics. These herbal cannabimimetics are a bit different from those found in the marijuana plant, but they engage the endocannabinoid system nonetheless. These compounds are known as N-alkyl amides (NAAs). The cannabimimetics in Echinacea interact with the CB2 receptor. This receptor is largely responsible for regulating the immune system and inflammatory response. In cannabis, psychoactive THC is the primary stimulator of the CB2 receptor. THC’s affinity with this particular receptor is partly why it is expected to be so effective in treating inflammation-related disorders. Oxeye plants (Heliopsis helianthoides) are also known to have these types of cannabimimetics." (source)
"Some marijuana strains like Hash Plant have a peppery taste and aroma. The reason for this? They contain high levels of a particular terpene called beta-caryophyllene (BCP). A terpene is an aroma molecule that’s found in plant essential oils. Unsurprisingly, this distinct flavor is also found heavily in black pepper. Fairly recently it was discovered that BCP actually functions as a cannabinoid. Like many of the other plant compounds listed in this article, BCP has a binding affinity with the CB2 receptor. Research has suggested that the anti-inflammatory compounds of this terpene make it therapeutically valuable for treating conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis. Other research has indicated that BCP can increase the efficacy of anticancer drugs. Though, these trials are preliminary and not conclusive."
"The Kava plant (Piper methysticum) has grown in popularity for its anti-anxiety and calming effects. Kava root has been used traditionally by Pacific island cultures who make a medicinal drink from the roots. The concoction is thought to provide sedative, pain relieving, and euphoric effects. These effects are primarily produced by compounds called kavalactones. One kavalactone in particular, yangonin, interacts with the CB1 receptor. This is the same binding place for THC and is most predominant in the central nervous system. This interaction may be partly responsible for the anxiolytic effects of the plant."
"Rosemary, black pepper, and cannabis all contain a compound called beta-caryophyllene (BCP). BCP is a terpene that acts like a cannabinoid. Terpenes are flavor and aroma molecules found in plants. BCP is what gives all three of these plants a peppery punch.
BCP has quite a bit of therapeutic potential. The terpene engages CB2 receptors, which are predominant in the immune system. Recent research has also shown that BCP has antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. When combined with cannabinoids like THC and CBD, the terpene may help heal stomach ulcers and aid addiction recovery."
"Many of these plants contain compounds that directly engage cannabinoid receptors. Yet, other plants contain compounds that act like nonpsychoactive CBD. CBD has many functions in the body. One of these functions is blocking an enzyme that breaks down endocannabinoids (enzyme FAAH). Endocannabinoids are the body’s own THC. Preventing the breakdown of endocannabinoids increases the amount of them in your system. This can cause a cascade of effects, including mood stabilization. Compounds in Maca (Lepidium meyenii) called N-benzylamines block FAAH. This improves endocannabinoid tone, boosting the system overall."
So while Cannabis and Hemp are both potent and magical plants with many healing properties they aren't alone. Try maca in your next smoothie, juice some rosemary with lemon, cucumber and apple. The best part about plant medicine is that they are non addictive and non toxic. If you have a loved one who is interested in CBD's direct them to this blog or tell them to check out their local hemp cbd selection!