If you haven’t already heard of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), it is essentially 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 are, in fact, an array of herbs and foods that you may already consuming that contain CBD.
Herbs and Spices
Black pepper contains beta-caryophyllene, one of the cannabinoids found in certain strains of hemp. Some research states 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. They stimulate your endocannabinoid system, specifically the CB2 receptor, which is in charge of regulating the immune system and inflammation in and throughout the body.
-Basil and Rosemary
These musky herbs also contain beta-caryophyllene, giving the same stress-regulating and anti-inflammatory properties of black pepper.
Who would’ve guessed?! 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.
–-Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
EFAs’ role in the ECS is rather large, seeing as endocannabinoids require the presence of arachidonic acid to be produced. But any imbalance of EFAs, namely excess Omega-6, can 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.
There are plenty of healthy sources of Emega-3 EFAs:
-Plant Based Sources: Flax seeds, hemp seeds, seaweed, chia seeds, edamame
-Food Based Sources: Salmon, mackerel, sea bass, trout
EFA’s 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.
Cacao has long been known as a superfood. It was even worshiped by the Mayan civilization as “Food of the Gods.” Interestingly, recent studies suggest that cocoa 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 (cannabinoids derived from plants). When ingested, cocoa appears to mimic cannabinoids by activating endocannabinoid receptors or increasing levels of anandamide. So if you aren’t already addicted to chocolate, it is worth adding it to your diet. If you do, avoid milk chocolates and focus on the purest products you can find such as 70% dark chocolate or above.