During many years it was common knowledge that weed was the only plant who had an ability to produce cannabinoids. But, in the last time, the results of investigations showed that these matters, which were, as though, unique for the weed, can be found in other plants rather often! So, the industry has more abilities to produce medical marijuana, and the number of weed cards will become higher.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are molecules on the base of lipids, and all of them influence on the receptors of cannabinoids, which are the main components of the endocannabinoids system (ES). Cannabinoids are produced by plants (weed is the most famous of them) but moreover by the organism of a man (just imagine, your weed doctor has his cannabinoids!) and by the majority of animals, and they can also be produced in a laboratory.
Cannabinoids which are produced by plants are known as phytocannabinoids; these which are produced by animals are known as endocannabinoids, and, finally, analogs of natural cannabinoids, created in laboratories, are named synthetical cannabinoids.
The majority of enthusiasts of weed heard about classical cannabinoids, like Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol. During many years it was common knowledge that only these could influence on cannabinoids receptors. All the traditional cannabinoids have the same chemical structure – C21H30O2. All of them are used in medical marijuana.
But then our knowledge about endocannabinoids system was growing up, and the list of various matters, influence on the receptors, was becoming wider. At the same time, the industry of this branch of medicine was growing up too, so now everybody has an ability to get his medical marijuana card.
So, we ought to widen our opinion towards the substance which is a cannabinoid – in addition to 120 classical cannabinoids exists an unknown number of relevant matters which influence on receptors too, but their structure differs from the conventional one.
Which is cannabimimetic?
Besides cannabinoids, exists another class of non-classical cannabinoids, known as cannabimimetic. They are named like this because they imitate the activity of classical cannabinoids, although they have another structure.
Cannabinoids attract more and more attention of investigators of healing qualities of cannabinoids. Classically, ES as analyzed as a pure compound of two types of receptors and two ligands (term “ligand” denotes a compound, which is connected with a receptor)
However, the investigations of the last years demonstrate us more and more that the structure of ES is more difficult. Nowadays, various compounds are known, influencing on ES directly of by implication, and the central part of them impact on important biological signal systems too, like opioids system, serotoninergetical system, and dofarminergetical system.
Various examples of known cannabinoids:
N-acylethanolamine and N-alkylamines
N-acylethanolamine is the class of compounds of fat acids, which take part in biological signal processes. One of them is well-known anandamide, which closely imitates the activity of Tetrahydrocannabinol because it directly activates the primary cannabinoids receptors – CB1. Nowadays it’s also determined that anandamide influences on cannabinoids of the third type, known as GPR119.
Moreover, this and other N- acylethanolamine mediately affects on ES. The deal is they inhibit the levels of ferment FAAH, which degrades anandamide, and its levels in tissues become higher in future. N-alkylamines is a similar class of cannabimimetic which is less investigated. They selectively affect on the receptors CB2 and, like anandamide, possess antiphlogistic qualities.
This important terpene (aromatic compound) can be found in marijuana, and its oxide (which forms after the contact with oxygen) is the substance which can be accessed by police dogs! B-caryophyllene, as it was established, is the antagonist of the receptors of CB2, though it doesn’t influence on the receptors of CB1.
The investigations have shown that this terpene possesses antiphlogistic and aesthetic influence on mice, but not on those who were denuded of the receptors CB2- so this effect can be explained by the effect on receptors.
Salvinorin A is the main component of psychoactive species of plants Salvia divinorum (Sage foreteller)
It’s interesting that Salvinorin A, apparently, doesn’t collaborate with classical cannabinoids receptors, but activates cannabinoids receptors of the third possible type, which occurs only in the case of inflammations. It’s connected with cappaopiods receptors, which are crucial for anaesthetization and are the target for the primary number of hallucinogens!
Myrcene is another important terpene of weed and the main component of the essence of hop. Thought it’s an opinion that myrcene doesn’t affect directly on cannabinoids receptors, it was determined that it’s biological activity modulates the effect of Tetrahydrocannabinol
Myrcene, as known, can be found in various natures of weed, which give the “sofa’s effect” or “stone’s effect” to the smoker. The sedative effects of plants which contain myrcene, as, for example, hop and verbena, was known over the centuries.
So, although, myrcene is not usually classified as cannabinoids in modern scientific literature, it influences on the subjective perception of marijuana’s scandals. Further investigations, without any doubts, will determine the character of the existing connection; nowadays, in spite of the fact that such laboratories as Steep Hill Halent in California possess the data, accumulated during many years, official investigations were not done.
Plants which produce cannabimimetic.
Let’s start with the fact that some plants give the big number of terpenes, like beta-cariofillen and myrcene. Myrcene is contained in extremely high concentrations in the essence of hop – practically 80% in some sorts of it. Moreover, myrcene is contained in mango, lemon grass, timian, and verbena.
B-cariofillen is contained in black pepper, carnation, rosemary, hop, caraway, basil, lavender, cinnamon and others. In the majority of these species beta-cariofillen is the main component of the essence (20% in some species of hop)
Salvinorin A – is rarer and, evidently, it’s high concentration can be found only in S. Divinorum. But nevertheless, there are facts that other species of sage can contain a low concentration of the compound or its related molecules.
N-acylethanolamine can be found in various species of plants. For example – in cacao. Even more, black truffles, according to messages, contain the anandamide! Finally, N-alkylamines were found in various species of echinacea, and it’s common knowledge that this explains the effectiveness of echinacea in phototherapy.
In future, the list of plants, containing cannabimimetic, will be wider, because the science permanently discovers substances, which can influence on endocannabinoids system.
But do exist plants (except weed) which produce classical cannabinoids? It seemed to the scientists till the last time that only marijuana could synthesize traditional cannabinoids. Much less, this traditional point of view was disproved in 2012 when the researchers determined that seeds of flax produce cannabidiol! (CBD) At least, cannabinoids compounds which look like KBD and possess the same antiphlogistic qualities.
Moreover exists the earlier investigation, which proves that cannabigerol (CBL) and its precursor cannabigerol acid are contained in the herbaceous plant from South Africa, and the study of 2011 lets us suppose that cannabichromene (CBC) and some related compounds of it are in Chinese rhododendron.
Finally, in New Zeeland grow Radula marginata which produces cannabinoid similar to Tetrahydrocannabinol, and it probably can activate the receptors CB1! We now don’t know exactly if this plant can imitate the effect of marijuana.
And now the most impressive fact – no plants which are known to the humanity, except marijuana, produces Tetrahydrocannabinol.