The endocannabinoid system (ECS) occurs naturally in human and animal bodies as a network of cell receptors and corresponding molecules. It regulates many of the body’s functions, including sleep, immunity, mood, appetite and pain. Marijuana contains cannabinoids which are compounds that directly trigger the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the body that make up the ESC. This is why marijuana has so many medicinal benefits and is able to greatly affect the body in a positive way. Endocannabinoids found in marijuana have a powerful effect on the body but there are some encannabinoid-like compounds found in plants that also work with the ESC to help people move towards health and wholeness.
Different Types of Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids produced in plants are called phytocannabinoids, the ones produced in the body are called endocannabinoids, and those made in a lab are simply known as synthetic cannabinoids. Most people who consume marijuana have heard about some cannabinoids, including THC, CBD, THCV and CBC, which act in a very direct way on the endocannabinoid system in people. As more and more research is conducted and completed, more cannabinoids and cannabimimetic compounds have been discovered in a wider variety of plants that have the power to have a healing effect on the body.
The compounds found in these plants are not the same as the phytocannabinoids found in marijuana plants but they are still able to positively affect the encannabinoid system. Each one works a little differently.
This plant, usually used for its ability to boost the immune system, has been found to contain cannabimimetic n-alkylamides, which are compounds that affect the CB2 receptors, producing very powerful anti-inflammatory responses in the body.
The Japanese and New Zealand variety of liverwort have cannabimimetic compounds, which are compounds that communicate with the endocannabinoid system. Perrottetinene and perrottetinene acid are found in the plant and these compounds are extremely similar to THC. Like THC, they also affect the CB1 receptors.
3. Black Pepper and Rosemary
These herbs, along with marijuana, contain a compound called beta-caryophyllene (BCP). This compound behaves like cannabinoids do, engaging the CB2 receptor which is found in the immune system. It’s found to have anti-depressant effects as well as being good for treating anxiety.
Pacific Islanders have long used kava roots for their ability to provide pain relief, ease anxiety and generate euphoria. They contain compounds called kavalactones. One of these kavalactones called yangonin interacts with the CB1 receptor in the same way that THC does, relaxing the central nervous system. This helps to explain its effects when taken as a root drink.
These plants, as well as chocolate, black truffles, maca, and a variety of others, contain compounds that engage the endocannabinoid system in people and animals, which calm, heal and regulate the body. We are still in the process of researching these compounds and a lot more information is still needed but we are certainly on the way to discovering new and natural ways to heal the body. While the cannabinoids found in cannabis have a very strong and powerful effect, it’s enlightening to know that many gifts from nature are capable of bringing our bodies back into harmony when needed.