One cool thing about our little blue and green marble that we live on is the abundance and extreme variety of plants all around us. Cannabis plants (marijuana and hemp plants) are where we source all of the fun cannabinoids that we enjoy today including CBD, CBG, delta 9 THC, delta 10 THC, delta 8 THC, THCV, THCP and so on. But did you know that other plants contain phytocannabinoids too? A large variety of plants create their own cannabinoids, not just cannabis. Let us dive into the plant realm and find out some fun facts about other plants that contain cannabinoids.
What is a phytocannabinoid?
First things first: what’s a PHYTO-cannabinoid? Phyto is just a fancy word for “from a plant” and cannabinoids are chemicals that function with our endocannabinoid system (referred to as your ECS), which is responsible for balancing many of the systems and organs in your body! All mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and even invertebrates have this system.
Other Plants with Cannabinoids
Wait? So what other plants contain cannabinoids too? Well actually A LOT! But we will only be focusing on a few today. Our two very interesting subjects are:
- Theobroma Cacao otherwise known as the Cacao plant. Yes, the yummy plant we make chocolate from.
- Helichrysum Umbraculigerum plant, otherwise known as the curry flower, because of its bright beautiful yellow flowers and leaves that smell curry like.
Cacoa Plant Cannabinoids
Onto our first subject, the cacao plant (or cacoa tree, or cocoa tree). The cacoa tree is actually full of a lot of fun chemical compounds but one in particular is Anandamide. Anandamide is named after the Sanskrit word “ananda” which means “bliss” or “joy”. This is why anandamide has been dubbed “the bliss molecule” as the common phrase for the word . I know this sounds unusual but actually this chemical is made naturally all by itself in our own bodies.
Anandamide in chocolate is found directly in the beans themselves. It is incredibly crucial to us humans and animals because without it we would not be able to balance our bodies. THC actually mocks this chemical and is the sole reason why we even get high off of THC. Anandamide even binds to the same receptors THC does!
So why is this so important? Our body creates anandamide when we are in demand of homeostasis (balance in our bodies). Anandamide helps regulate mood, appetite, memory and the way we perceive pain as well as other things around our body. According to Dr. Gary L. Wenk, anandamide production later in life helps simulate our brain’s ECS (endocannabinoid system) and may protect against stroke and neuroinflammation as well as improving memory. Yes, a good excuse as you get older to consume that yummy chocolate. It is able to do all of these things because anandamide acts directly on our ECS. Anandamide attaches itself to our CB1 receptors which are located predominantly in our brain and nervous system. Our CB1 receptors are messengers that help send signals to the rest of our bodies. The message says “Help! We are lacking in something!”. Once those messages are sent out, our bodies then pack their lunch and get to work balancing key ingredients.
Long story short, a great way to help improve our ECS and our overall functionality for your beautiful bodies is to eat that dark chocolate. Grab that raw cocoa powder for baking and kick back and enjoy yourself!
Curry Flower cannabinoids
Our next subject is Helichrysum Umbraculigerum (curry flower). The curry flower is a very interesting subject because it contains the most CBG found in any plant on our entire planet. This beautiful yellow flower is native to South Africa and resides around sandy grasslands and open woodland. CBG is a beneficial cannabinoid that has many therapeutic benefits including helping inflammation, depression, anxiety, gut health, pain, nausea, certain neurological diseases, antibacterial as well as proliferation of cancer cells. CBG is able to achieve those things because they sit ever so slightly in our CB1 receptors. Remember CB1 receptors effect our nervous system and brain. CB2 receptors are found mainly all around the body and heavily around your white blood cells are mainly responsible for a lot of body things such as immune response. CBG has a lot of potential benefits for many neurological disorders including: Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis as well as some inflammatory things such as IBS.
Curry Flower Terpenes
Another interesting thing to note about the curry flower is that it has an incredible abundance of terpenes. There are three specific terpenes to focus on, which coincidentally are also found in the cannabis plant. These dominant terpenes in the curry plant that give it that curry smell include beta caryophyllene (the peppery smell), beta pinene (that fresh pine smell), and linalool ( lavender that smells so good and makes you relax).
So why are we even talking about these terpenes??? Because these terpenes help guide the CBG found in the plant to do more things! The added benefits include things like: added anti-inflammatory effects, pain relief, stress relief, help with sleep, antidepressant, and gastroprotective effects. Unfortunately because of strict South African bio-piracy laws, collection and exportation of their native species or their seeds is prohibited. This means our research on this specific plant is incredibly limited. Thankfully though, the research that has been done has allowed us to gain an incredible amount of knowledge around this beautiful plant.
- Other plants, not just cannabis, contain cannabinoids that can be extremely beneficial for our health.
- Anandamide helps our bodies balance out properly.
- CBG helps an array of things including mood, inflammatory, neuroprotectant, and many other things.
- Eat more dark chocolate, it’s good for you!