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HairDoc TK
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Spices: Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano and Black Pepper

Beta-caryophyllene is one of the most abundant terpenoids found in the essential oil of cannabis that activates the CB2 receptor. However, it's not only found in cannabis — beta-caryophyllene is also commonplace throughout the plant kingdom and found in many herbal essential oils, including clove, oregano, cinnamon, and black pepper. Activation of the CB2 receptor is commonly known as “a potential therapeutic strategy,” according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S., for the treatment of inflammation, pain, and mood disorders — benefits also associated with these spices.

Herbs: Echinacea & Rue

Like cannabis, other herbs activate the CB2 receptors, too. Echinacea and rue have been identified as two naturally and abundantly growing herbs that are significant CB2 agonists.

Commonly found in drug stores, echinacea is a plant-based over-the-counter supplement that is believed to ward off the common cold and relieve various respiratory ailments. The endocannabinoids alkylamides and anandamide (AEA) are found in echinacea, bind to the CB2 receptor and, like the THC cannabinoid, greatly inhibits inflammation.

Rue, a common strong-smelling herb found in the Balkans, has a compound called rutamarin that has a selective affinity to the CB2 receptor. Rutamarin is known for its sedative and antiviral effects, though it's poisonous in large doses.

Plants: Helichrysum & Liverworts

Cannabigerol (CBG), a phytocannabinoid found in cannabis, is also found in the aromatic and mood-regulating essential oil of helichrysum. Although CBG does bind to the CB2 receptor, it has a low affinity toward both receptors and actually activates the endocannabinoid system by means of inhibiting anandamide uptake. Commonly referred to as the “bliss molecule,” anandamide appears to correlate to feelings of well-being and happiness. By inhibiting the uptake of anandamide, CBG accumulates and increases its known psychotropic and therapeutic effects.

Aside from cannabis, liverworts are a common New Zealand plant that have been identified as one of the few plants to contain a CB1 agonist cannabinoid. Compared with THC, however, the molecule (−)-cis-perrottetinene (also known as cis-PET) found in liverworts is a less-potent psychoactive cannabinoid. It is, however, a legal psychoactive substance that has been used to obtain a “legal high” in Switzerland and New Zealand, according to Vice.

Veggies: Broccoli, Kale & Sprouts

The family of the plant genus Brassica contains many vegetables you might see on a daily basis — broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. These cruciferous vegetables have been reported to lower cancer risk but also slow thyroid function, according to studies. The same anti-cancer dietary molecule found in both Brassica vegetables and cannabis has been identified as a CB2 receptor agonist that activates anti-inflammatory effects, a 2009 study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has found.

The Boost: Chocolate

Cacao, the primary ingredient in chocolate, is not a phytocannabinoid and does not have any cannabimimetic effects. However, it is widely praised as an enhancement to the THC effects. It was thought that that chocolate contains anandamide, but it isn't exactly true. Cacao actually contains an anandamide reuptake inhibitor. This means that cocoa boosts anandamide in the body by decreasing the enzyme FAAH which readily metabolizes anandamide, similar to the behavior of helichrysum, but doesn't actually contain this endocannabinoid.

More research is needed in all areas of plant-based cannabinoids, but in the meantime, those who can't legally experiment with the potential benefits of cannabis can still seek out similar plant-based phytocannabinoids.


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