If you haven’t already heard of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), it is a network of receptors running through our nervous system and brain, regulating various bodily functions such as stress management, sleep, pain tolerance, inflammation, memory and more. The system works by breaking down endocannabinoids and using them to regulate the functions mentioned in the previous sentence, creating homeostasis in the body.
Many of you may already know that marijuana and hemp play major roles in influencing our ECS as they contain vast amounts of cannabinoids. But you may have not know that there is, in fact, an array of herbs and foods that you may already consuming that contain CBD.
Herbs and spices
1. Black Pepper
Black pepper contains beta-caryophyllene, one of the cannabinoids that can be found in hemp. Research suggests that it is anti-inflammatory and can improve states of stress-induced anxiety.
Well known in natural medicine for fighting colds, Echinacea also contains an array of cannabinoids that stimulate your endocannabinoid system, specifically the CB2 receptor, which is in charge of regulating the immune system and inflammation in and throughout the body.
3-4. Basil & Rosemary
These musky herbs also contain beta-caryophyllene, giving the same stress-regulating and anti-inflammatory properties of black pepper.
Who would’ve guessed it? Since this everyday spice contains phytocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, this makes it an advantageous food source to consume. Since flavonoids, terpenes and phytocannabinoids work synergistically to enhance the health benefits, this herb is one of the more useful and readily available sources of food-based CBD.
6. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s)
EFA’s role in the ECS is rather large, seeing as endocannabinoids require the presence of arachidonic acid to be produced. But any imbalance of EFA’s, namely an excess of Omega-6, could lead to inflammation. It is important to keep a healthy ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6, which is optimal at around 1:1.
The average western diet has a 1:10 ratio, due to high consumption of corn, soy, meat, dairy, eggs, and oils such as safflower or sunflower. In order to restore or maintain balance, you should make sure you consume enough Omega-3 EFAs.
Here are a couple natural sources of Omega-3 EFAs:
- Plant-based: Flax seeds, hemp seeds, seaweed, chia seeds, edamame
- Fish-based: Salmon, mackerel, sea bass, trout
EFAs are especially advantageous to take with CBD because they are converted into endocannabinoids within the body, making this a powerful ally to take with your daily CBD dose.
7. Chocolate (cacao)
Cacao has long been held as a super food. It was even worshiped by the Mayan civilization as the “food of the gods.” Interestingly, recent studies suggest that cacao powder and chocolate contain three lipids similar to anandamide, an endocannabinoid that binds to cannabinoid receptors throughout your ECS and mimics the health benefits of phytocannabinoids like CBD. When ingested, cacao appears to mimic cannabinoids by activating CB receptors and increasing overall levels of anandamide in the body. So if you aren’t already addicted to chocolate, this might give you a good reason to sneak this addictive treat into your regime. If you do, avoid milk chocolates and focus on the purest cacao products that you can find. A good rule of thumb is to stick to dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao.