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content_alignment_small=”” content_alignment=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” class=”” id=”” margin_top=”” margin_right=”” margin_bottom=”” margin_left=”” fusion_font_family_text_font=”” fusion_font_variant_text_font=”” font_size=”” line_height=”” letter_spacing=”” text_transform=”” text_color=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_color=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_delay=”0″ animation_offset=””]Table of Contents

  1. What Are Cannabinoids?
  2. Cannabinoids Found in Cannabis
  3. Why Do Cannabinoids Have Health Benefits?
  4. Why Are They Called Cannabinoids if They’re Not Only in Cannabis?
  5. Other Plants with Cannabinoids
  6. To Touch on Terpenes
  7. Getting the Most Out of Your cannabinoids


Learn About Cannabinoids

Most of us can agree that cannabis is really awesome (if you’re here reading this, anyway). It makes you feel really good – it’s a great social lubricant that usually doesn’t leave you feeling hungover the next morning; it has a massive list of medical properties that seems to grow every time anyone with a different condition decides to give it a try. There’s no question this plant is impressive, and there’s no taking that away from it.

But, that’s not to say there aren’t a lot other impressive plants out there, too! The whole movement behind marijuana legalization and acceptance is inextricably intertwined with the acceptance that nature has so much to offer us, and we really need to listen to her and let her heal us (if that’s not too hippy-dippy for you)!

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the other therapeutic plants out there in the world. We could be here all day if we don’t narrow that down, though, so this post will specifically delve into those plants that have more than just general healing properties in common with marijuana – they actually share some of the same natural chemical compounds that prompt those benefits: cannabinoids.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Like all living things, cannabis contains natural chemical compounds. Some of these are familiar to us from high school biology – things like chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color and lets them get the energy they need from light. Other compounds, like terpenes, are also found in most plants, but seem to have surged in popular discussion with the rise of marijuana (more on these, later).

All these chemical compounds have therapeutic properties, but the healing compounds for which cannabis is most recognized are cannabinoids. Though the plant is thought to contain more than one hundred unique cannabinoid compounds, it is best known for having THC and CBD. When we look at other plants with cannabinoids, you’ll notice THC is missing from the list; this particular cannabinoid is only found in cannabis.

what-are-cannabinoids-mobileWhat are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids Found in Cannabis

Obviously, we won’t be listing all 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis, but here are a few that have been studied more than the others. Hopefully as cannabis acceptance grows, we’ll learn more and more about the benefits of these lesser-known cannabinoids. (You can read about the first four in The Other Cannabinoids.)

  • CBN
  • CBC
  • CBG
  • THCV
  • CBDV
  • THCA
  • CBDA

Why Do Cannabinoids Have Health Benefits?

Cannabinoids are able to do what they do by binding with receptors in the human body – receptors that are part of what is now known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is by interacting with these receptors – specifically CB1 and CB2 – that they cause medicinal benefits.

One way cannabis helps to heal or treat symptoms is by playing the role of naturally-occurring neurotransmitters the body may be under- or over-producing for some reason, compounds like dopamine and anandamide. In this way, cannabinoids alter the release of neurotransmitters, either encouraging their production (if the body needs more) or blocking their ability to bind (if the body has produced too many).

  1. cannabinoids that bind with CB1 receptors tend to have some effect on the brain, because that is where many of these receptors are concentrated (as well as the spinal column). Cannabinoids that bind with CB1 receptors activate responses for appetite, memory, emotion, and pain. Not surprisingly, the well-known cannabinoid THC binds quite easily to CB1 receptors, as well as CB2.
  2. cannabinoids that bind to CB2 receptors have more of an effect on the peripheral nervous system, particularly immune cells, because that’s where most of the CB2 receptors are located. Primarily, these cannabinoids can inhibit inflammation.

Why Are They Called Cannabinoids if They’re Not Only in Cannabis?

This was the question that stumped me when I began doing research on medical marijuana. These articles were talking about the “endocannabinoid system” and “cannabinoids”, and I couldn’t help but wonder how a plant as maligned in recent history as cannabis could have come to serve as namesake for all these accepted scientific and botany terms.

The answer is a fairly straightforward one, in fact – sorry, no giant government cover-up here. Simply put, the endocannabinoid system of the body was first discovered when scientists decided to find out why cannabis has the effect on the body that it does.

Even though a Israeli scientist named Mechoulam was responsible for identifying THC and CBD back in the 60s, it took until 1988 for the first cannabinoid receptor (CB1) to be discovered in the brain of a test rat (and in 1993, CB2 receptors were uncovered). In 1990, another group of scientists identified the DNA sequence unique to THC receptors.

It was around this time that scientists started looking into the question that might be obvious to you: why do our bodies even have receptors that fit perfectly with compounds not made by our bodies – compounds like THC?

That led to a 1992 breakthrough: the discovery of an endocannabinoid or, in other words, a chemical naturally produced by the human body that binds with the same receptors to which cannabinoids bind. This compound is anandamide (Sanskrit for ‘bliss’ – for obvious reasons!).

In 1995 another endocannabinoid with a less roll-off-the-tongue name was discovered: 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). With the identification of yet another of these fascinating compounds, scientists uncovered “an entirely unknown molecular signaling system” found in not only the human body but the bodies of thousands of other living creatures. A few other endocannabinoids have been discovered, as well: noladin ether virodhamine, and NADA.

Because the discovery of this system all started with research into cannabis, it was named for that very plant!

Pretty cool, right?

(Also, as you’ll learn below, the “cannabinoids” in other plants aren’t quite the same as those found in cannabis.)

Other Plants with Cannabinoids

So, after all that, let’s get down to the question at hand. We’ve seen why cannabinoids are seriously awesome, and also why, with that kind of intimate connection to our bodies, it would be pretty odd if more than 100 important chemical compounds existed only in this single plant.

In addition to the more than 100 cannabinoids scientists have found so far in marijuana, there is also a category of related compounds that act on the endocannabinoid system, but possess a different chemical composition.

In a great example of the fun of the English language, these pretenders are called cannabimimetics. In a lot of articles, though, you’ll see these plants listed simply as containing cannabinoids and, for all intents and purposes (since we’re not scientists, here), that’s what they are!

(We’ve already shared a blog about plants that are similar to marijuana, and included a few examples of plants that don’t look the same but have similar properties.)

  • Echinacea: Also known as coneflower, echinacea is most widely known as a natural cold-fighting agent. In addition, the pretty pink flower can also relieve fatigue, migraine, arthritis, and more. The cannabimimetics found in echinacea are called N-alkyl amines or NAAs, and they interact with the CB2 receptors.
  • Liverwort: The compound found in Liverwort is called perrottetinenic acid, and it’s a lot like THC. Despite the fact that, like THC, this cannabimimetic interacts with CB1 receptors in the brain, there aren’t any reports of psychoactivity from liverwort. Rather, the plant has been used for centuries as a treatment for liver and bladder concerns.
  • Chocolate: The cannabinoid-like compounds in chocolate prevent or slow the production of FAAH, an enzyme produced in the body that breaks down anandamide. Remember that one? It’s the endocannabinoid most like THC. By preventing the breakdown of anandamide, chocolate can improve relaxation and boost mood!
  • Black Pepper: This is an interesting one, because the cannabimimetic in black pepper is also a terpene, called beta-caryophyllene or BCP. BCP binds to CB2 receptors, and can fight inflammation.
  • Black Truffles: This one is pretty cool. Black truffles produce anandamide! They don’t have an endocannabinoid system that can use anandamide, though, so scientists theorize that its production could be used to attract animals like dogs and truffle pigs, and also perhaps to control the synthesis of melanin in the plant.
  • Kava: This plant is often used to ease anxiety, and people native to the western Pacific islands where the plant originates have made a drink of the roots for centuries, to serve as a sedative and analgesic. A series of cannabimimetics called kavalactones are responsible for these effects – they interact with CB1 receptors in the brain and spine.
  • Rosemary: Like black pepper (and pot), rosemary contains BCP and can relieve anxiety and depression. Combined with THC and CBD, it has the potential to offer even more benefits.
  • Maca: This plant, usually found as a powder, contains N-benzylamines that can prevent FAAH from breaking down THC and anandamide, prolonging effects like balancing emotion and mood.

Chances are, as more studies pertaining to cannabis are undertaken around the world, more plants will be found to contain cannabinoid-like chemical compounds that will either explain their known medicinal properties, or suggest new ones!

To Touch on Terpenes

While we’re on the topic of the healing compounds in cannabis, we’d be remiss if we didn’t touch briefly on terpenes, even though we already wrote a nice little dedicated blog post about them as well.

Terpenes create the scents we smell when we take a good whiff of our precious plants or prepared buds. But terpenes are all over the place, and that’s why we can compare some cannabis scents with other recognizable smells. Think your Jack Herer smells like pine? That’s Pinene; picking up some lavender notes in Amnesia? That’s Linalool. Myrcene delivers a scent you might identify as mango or lemongrass in Northern Lights, and Limonene is in juniper and peppermint, along with OG Kush.

Like cannabinoids, terpenes offer therapeutic benefits including:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiseptic
  • antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • stress and anxiety relief
  • pain relief
  • memory retention

Cannabis really is a powerhouse of healing compounds, isn’t it?

Getting The Most Out of Your Cannabinoids

At Growers Choice, we’re quite proud of our fantastic selection of cannabis seeds. If you’re looking for the perfect strain for your symptoms, maybe you can use what you’ve learned about cannabinoids (and terpenes!) to make your decision.

Unfortunately, we don’t currently have in-depth cannabinoid information on all our strains, but chances are if you find the info somewhere else, you’ll find our version of the strain is similar. What we do offer are CBD and THC levels for each of our strains, and you can find these in the product descriptions, or on the THC and CBD Charts page.

Buy cannabis seeds from Growers Choice, and find out not only the green thumb skills you possess, but also the amazing benefits of this all-natural, healing herbal remedy!