By Catherine Garcia
The boom on legal use of medicinal cannabis products keeps being a controversial issue due to long term side effects for general health. But… Did you know that there are other herbs that can mimic the activity of cannabinoids in the human body?
These plants are commonly named “cannabimimetics.” They don’t share the same biological structure as cannabinoids, but they have similar effects on the human endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis as well as several cognitive and physiological processes.
The endocannabinoid system is a network of neurotransmitters called “endocannabinoid receptors” distributed throughout brain, immune cells, connective tissues, glands and other organs.
According to some scientific researches, the appropriate balance of the endocannabinoid system solves a wide range of diseases and pathological conditions, including some psychological disorders, cardiovascular disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cancer, among other issues.
We suggest you to talk to your healthcare provider about your interest on trying herbal remedies, just to be sure that there aren’t any interactions with your prescribed medications, in case of taking any.
It is always useful to discuss with your doctor the proper dosage of cannabimimetics by considering that occasionally they may have similar effects on the body as cannabinoids.
Scientists found that some major components in cannabis are also found in essential oils of numerous spice and plant foods. For example, essential oils of rosemary, black pepper, ylang ylang, lavender, cinnamon and cloves contain certain aroma molecules that target the immune system.
Moreover, the aforementioned essential oils have natural cannabimimetic effects and can be used as functional non-psychoactive substance with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects.
Like many essential oils, holy basil or tulsi leaves, contain a compound that mimics those of cannabis by reducing inflammation and pain. Since ancient times, holy basil has been used in traditional medicine for various health ailments, including respiratory conditions, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis and even cancer.
Contemporary scientists found out that holy basil helps in some degree to regulate brain inflammation and oxidative stress, helping to improve symptoms of epilepsy, as it happens with cannabis.
Copaiba Oil Resin
Copaiba oil resin, or Copaifera reticulata, is used in Brazilian folk medicine as a healing and anti-inflammatory agent. Studies also show that copaiba has neuroprotecting effects following acute damage to the central nervous system.
Echinacea, also known as the American coneflower, is known as a powerful immune system stimulator. People often use it to reduce the chances of catching a cold and reducing the duration of cold symptoms, but some other echinacea benefits include its ability to alleviate pain and improve mental health.
Echinacea contains fatty acid compounds that activate cannabinoid receptors and help to regulate immune function and reduce inflammation.
Scientists have found new benefits about the omega-3 fats. One of these benefits come from our body's ability to convert the "good fats" into endocannabinoids, producing a few medicinal effects as cannabis,.that protect immune system.without the psychotropic effects.
Cacao contains a natural endocannabinoid that’s also produced in the brain as a neurotransmitter, allowing you to feel more relaxed and euphoric. Just remember that the less milk in your chocolate, the more cannabimimetic effect you'll get.
Scientists discovered that truffles, specifically black truffle, contain the same cannabimimetic substance as cacao. It releases chemicals in the human brain that have a biological mechanism that helps to improve your mood, appetite, memory and fertility.
Helichrysum italicum, also named Italian strawflower and immortelle, has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Helichrysum essential oil, which has an intense fragrance, is often used as a natural mood stabilizer and immune-booster.It has phytocannabinoids that mimic cannabis acids, producing corticoid-like effects.
Maca root is a type of cruciferous vegetable, available as powder, which has been used in South America since ancient times as a superfood. It's also named the Peruvian Ginseng. South American people use to make with it a fermented drink called maca chicha.
Like the previously mentioned plants, it contains substances that mimic the biological actions of cannabinoids, helping you to deal with stress, anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome and sexual dysfunction, among other issues.
Kava root is a crop from the Pacific Islands. Its name literally means “intoxicating pepper," and it was used not only for medicinal purposes, but also like an alcoholic beverage, for recreational usage at social gatherings.
People from Fiji Islands used to crush the dry root into a powder to mix it with water, having the power to make them mirthful. At present time, it's employed for alternative medicine as a remedy to calm anxiety, stress and insomnia, as well as for headaches, muscle pain and even cancer prevention.
Scientists believe kava contains compounds that are “cannabimimetic,” but overdose has been linked to liver disease, so you may ask your doctor if it's safe for your individual health conditions.