Cannabinoids In Plants – A Closer Look

Cannabinoids In Plants

Posted on November 29th, 2020

While most people commonly associate cannabinoids with the cannabis plant, one can also find them in other plant varieties as well. These compounds are similar to standard cannabinoids, but there are some structural differences. These cannabimimetic compounds have potential health benefits and have been studied by researchers closely. Evaluating cannabinoids in plants can give you a clearer picture of the future of the cannabis industry.


Echinacea, also known as coneflower, is a genus of flowering plants. These plants have a long history of medicinal use. It works as a treatment for some illnesses and ailments, such as:

  • Colds
  • Coughs
  • Ear infections
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Gingivitis

Like cannabis, echinacea can engage CB1 receptors, which means it may offer some of the same potential benefits that marijuana and CBD provide. Echinacea contains N-alkylamides that are able to impact inflammation and the immune system, and even pain regulation.

Echinacea is available in many forms. It’s often found in capsules and can also be purchased fresh or in dried form. It’s also common to find echinacea in herbal teas. There’s currently limited research on the effectiveness of echinacea, especially when compared to cannabis. However, it’s still a plant that is worth keeping an eye on.

Black Truffles

One of the reasons cannabis and CBD can induce a feeling of bliss is that it contains anandamide, colloquially known as the “bliss molecule.” This molecule is able to bind to CB1 receptors, which can elevate your mood and leave you feeling more relaxed.

Humanity has been cultivating black truffles for several centuries. However, researchers have only recently begun to focus more closely on their medicinal applications. Reports have found that truffles have immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor properties.

Black truffles are rich in essential nutrients, like iron and magnesium. While truffles can be part of a meal, black truffle extract is also present in some supplements and skincare products. As researchers look more closely at the benefits these truffles offer, it’s possible that they will become a part of a growing range of products.

CacaoCannabinoids In Plants - cacao is an excellent source of anandamide, an endocannabinoid

Cacao, mostly known for being a part of the production of chocolate, is another source of anandamide. It also contains other compounds that can induce feelings of happiness, such as phenylethylamine, theobromine, and phenylethylamine, tryptophan. Thus, technically, cacao ranks as what scientists call a ‘superfood.’

The body does naturally produce anandamide. Yet, anandamide derived from plants like cannabis and cacao will remain in the body much longer. It can also provide faster results. These compounds are able to connect to specific receptor sites in your brain quickly. Therefore, they can provide a dramatic change in your mood.

It’s possible to enjoy the benefits of cacao by merely having a piece of chocolate. With that said, you should be aware that the effects you’ll get from a candy bar will be a lot less potent. Most candy bars contain powdered milk, which can keep your body from properly absorbing the beneficial compounds in cacao. Raw cacao won’t be as sweet, but it will provide much better results.


When looking into cannabinoids in plants, kava is another plant you’ll want to pay close attention to. This plant, which is native to the South Pacific, has had its frequent use in herbal medicine. The plant’s root contains kavalactones, which have sedative properties.

One type of kavalactone, yangonin, is able to interact with CB1 receptors, producing a similar effect to cannabis plants. Researchers have found that it is more effective at treating anxiety than a placebo. Kava has also been used to treat addiction and insomnia.

It’s most common to see the roots of the kava plant used to make a beverage. With that said, kava supplements have seen a surge in interest. The natural cannabinoids in kava may not be as potent as the ones you’ll find in cannabis plants, but this plant is still a research-backed way to treat symptoms of anxiety.

Black Pepper

Black Pepper is a flowering plant that’s best known for the fruit it produces, peppercorn. The fruit is a common spice used all over the world. What many people don’t know about black pepper is that it also has a number of similarities to cannabis plants.

The plant contains a terpene known as beta-caryophyllene. This terpene is what gives many marijuana strains a pepper-like scent. Black pepper is also able to interact with the CB2 receptors found on immune cells. Researchers have discovered that it has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can be an effective way to treat arthritis. It can also strengthen the immune system, protecting against future illnesses.

While sprinkling black pepper on your food can be beneficial, the effects will be limited. If you want your body to benefit from the terpenes found in black pepper, you’ll want to look at a supplement derived from this plant. The spice is made exclusively from peppercorns, but the rest of the plant also has health benefits.

Japanese Liverwort

Although the name might lead you to believe that this plant is grown in Asia, it’s actually native to New Zealand. It contains perrottetinene, a cannabinoid that has similarities to THC. Unlike plants with high levels of THC, however, this plant does not have psychoactive properties.

Like many of the plants listed here, this plant is able to bind with CB1 receptors in the body. It can treat a wide range of conditions, including respiratory infections like bronchitis. Some researchers believe that it could actually be more effective than cannabis plants.

Research on Japanese liverwort is currently limited, but as studies continue, it’s likely that it will be more common to see supplements and other health products derived from the plant. Researchers are currently carrying out controlled clinical studies. They are looking to get a better sense of how the cannabinoids found in the plant affect the body.


This perennial herb comes primarily from South Africa. It contains cannabigerol, which is a phytocannabinoid that the cannabis plant also contains. It has neuroprotective properties and may also be able to protect against nerve cell degeneration.

There are laws that limit the study of plants grown in South Africa, which means there has been limited research on Helichrysum specifically. However, in recent years, scientists have been able to look at this plant more closely. The plant also has a long history of use as herbal medicine.

Helichrysum contains many cannabis-like compounds, which means it may start to show up in a growing number of supplements and health products in the future. It isn’t as readily available as cannabis, but it does offer some of the same benefits.

Chinese RhododendronCannabinoids In Plants - Chinese Rhododendron contains substance that are stringly similar to cannabinoids

As the name implies, this flowering plant is native to China. It contains a number of compounds that researchers have described as “synthetic analogs” to cannabinoids. These include cannabicyclol, cannabichromene, and cannabicitran. It also contains anthopogochromenic and anthopogocyclolic acid, which are also similar to cannabinoids.

This plant is well-known for its antimicrobial properties, which makes it well-suited to treating diseases caused by bacteria. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which people regularly use with milder health conditions, such as headaches. Reports have found that the plant can be highly effective and that it has minimal side effects.

There are currently a number of food products that include Chinese Rhododendron as an ingredient, such as rhododendron honey. You can also find a number of supplements and topical creams that utilize this plant. While its usage varies from cannabis, research backs its effectiveness, and it does offer some of the same benefits.

Acmella Oleracea

This is a species of flowering herb people colloquially refer to as the “toothache plant.” This is because the plant has numbing properties that make it effective at short-term pain relief. It also contains cannabinoids known as N-isobutylamide, which are able to interact with CB2 receptors in the body.

In addition to providing pain relief, the plant also has antibacterial properties, which means it can reduce the risk of infections. Currently, there’s very little research on the other benefits the plant offers, but researchers are beginning to look at it more closely.

The plant has a long history of use in traditional medicine, linking it closely to most cannabinoids in plants. Although Acmella oleracea may have fewer benefits than cannabis overall, it’s still a highly potent plant that can relieve pain and help the body ward off illnesses.

Cannabinoids In Plants – The Takeaway

Cannabis has a long list of potential health benefits. While some of these benefits have yet to be confirmed by researchers, people across the world rely on products derived from this plant. Because of the 2018 farm bill, products made from hemp-derived cannabis are available in many stores across the United States.

Although the benefits of cannabis are impressive, it’s worthwhile to look at cannabinoids in plants like kava, Helichrysum, and Japanese liverwort. These plants also have many medicinal uses. People that want to keep up with new developments in natural medicine will want to keep a close eye on these plants and products derived from them.


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