If you’ve eaten broccoli, you’ve consumed a cannabinoid or CBD. As a matter of fact, we all likely have some source of phytocannabinoids, or CBD, in our daily diets. Most cannabinoids unfortunately have been associated with marijuana and THC, the compound that creates feelings of euphoria or “high.” Until recently, scientists had identified CBD primarily in marijuana the most widely recognized member of the Cannabis plant family. Unlike Marijuana which contains large amounts of the intoxicating compound THC and trace amounts of CBD, industrial hemp, another member of the Cannabis plant family, contains mostly CBD. In addition to industrial hemp, recent studies indicate plants such as clove, black pepper, broccoli, ginseng, Echinacea and carrots also contain beneficial CBD without the intoxicating effects of THC.
History demonstrates that humans are especially adept at using plants to enhance our health. Many of our most effective modern pharmaceuticals were developed as a result of studying plants and how consuming them affects the human body.Furthering our knowledge on how the human body works in response to these compounds in plants has led to the discovery of many life-saving drugs throughout history. Salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin,1 evolved from the bar of the willow tree in ancient Egypt. Two vital heart medicines, digoxin and digitoxin, come from compounds found in the foxglove plant. 2
The Cannabis species of plants, including hemp has been used throughout history. Chinese texts from the year AD 1 records the medicinal use of hemp to treat more than 100 ailments as well as for use in making paper, clothing, foods and other products. 3 Current research shows some of the CBD in hemp, clove and black pepper can promote relaxation, decrease nerve discomfort and enhance digestive health. 4 As a result, CBD is no longer exclusively associated with the Cannabis plant. 5 Don’t worry, no matter how much broccoli you eat, it will not get you high. But understanding how CBD in different plants affect our bodies might lead to important health discoveries.
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2.Gurib-Fakim A. Medicinal plants: traditions of yesterday and drugs of tomorrow. Mol Aspects Med2006;27(1):1-93.
4.Russo E. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid?terpenoid entourage effects. Br J Pharmacol 2011;163(7):1344-1364.
5.Gertsch J, Roger G, Vincenzo D. Phytocannabinoids beyond the Cannabis plant – do they exist? Br J Pharmacol 2010;160(3):523-529.