Beyond Cannabis: Other Plants that Contain Cannabinoids


By now, we’ve hammered home the benefits of CBD products, with their non-psychoactive cannabinoids. 

Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of obtaining CBD oil, either due to legal hurdles in certain countries or simply the cost of the product.

But don’t give up just yet, because cannabinoids are a funny thing.

Aside from occurring naturally within our bodies (endocannabinoids), they just happen to reside in other types of plants that are both cheap and legal – not to mention easy to obtain.

So if you’re looking for easier access to beneficial cannabinoids, consider trying some of the following products.


Field Of Sunflowers

No, you won’t get high the next time you eat sunflower seeds. 

In fact, the sunflowers we know about don’t contain cannabinoids of their own; however, there are members of this genus that do. 

Best of all, you can easily find extracts like these at your local health food store.


Helichrysum is a genus composed of 600 different flowers within the sunflower category. 

You won’t find this one growing in a nearby field, though. This plant is native to South Africa

And no, it won’t get you high either. But it does contain a cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG). 

This handy compound is proven to aid sleep, fight infection and even reduce eye pressure to alleviate glaucoma, according to an article by Montana Biotech.


Research into the heliopsis plant by the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos in Mexico has discovered that this sunflower variation contains alkamides. 

Alkamides are found in 33 types of plants (so far) – cannabis sativa being one of them. 

Alkamides are known to boost immunity, fight bacteria, relieve pain (analgesic) and provide antioxidant benefits, to name a few.


Echinacea Meadow

Another common herb, Echinacea is pretty well-known amongst health food enthusiasts. 

But even seasoned fans may not be aware that certain Echinacea species contain cannabinoids called N-alkylamides (NAAs). 

Sound familiar? 

That’s because these belong to the alkamide family found in the heliopsis plant we mentioned earlier.

By targeting the CB2 endocannabinoid receptor, the NAAs in Echinacea help strengthen the immune system, relieve pain and reduce inflammation. 

CB2 receptors are concentrated in your immune system.


Liverwort Plant

Research into liverwort has yielded some surprising results. 

Not only were existing cannabinoids discovered, but we also found an entirely new compound.


Scientists studied extract of the New Zealand liverwort (radula marginata). 

According to a publication by The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan, the extract yielded one known cannabinoid called perrottetinene and a new one classified under the chemical category called “bibenzyls.” 

The newly discovered bibenzyl in this plant variation is a compound identified as perrottetinenic acid.

Specifically, perrottetinenic acid appears to be chemically similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive substance found (in varying concentrations) in marijuana and hemp plants.

New Zealand liverwort has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes, such as helping with liver, bladder and gallbladder problems, as well as treating bronchitis.


Similar research was also done on the Japanese liverwort variant (radula perrottetii)

Aside from several different known bibenzyls, a new one called isoperrottetin A was also isolated.

Like the New Zealand variety, the cannabinoids within the Japanese liverwort have similar effects to THC

As a result, people can reap some of its benefits without marijuana (or its impairing effects).

black truffles

Fresh Black Truffles

No, we’re not talking about candies here. Black truffles are actually a very expensive variety of mushrooms. 

Because they grow underground, humans need help from specially trained dogs or pigs to sniff them out. 

At $95.00 per ounce – and often smuggled or faked – these rare foods are hopefully worth the cannabinoids they contain.

Specifically, truffles have been found to contain anandamide, a major player in our endocannabinoid system.  

Consequently, they provide similar benefits to many cannabinoids, most notably immune system regulation and anti-cancer properties.

black pepper

Speaking of black colored foods, here’s one that virtually every person has at their kitchen table. 

Whether you’re using it in a recipe or placing it on a freshly-grilled steak, this flavor enhancer happens to deliver more than just a spicy aroma.

Black pepper contains beta-caryophyllene (BCP). 

This terpene is found in a lot of plants, which research has shown to provide anti-inflammatory benefits. 

As a result, this could prove beneficial for countering the symptoms associated with arthritis and osteoporosis.

As if that isn’t enough, some studies indicate that BCP could be useful for preventing cancer or improving the effectiveness of cancer-fighting drugs.



We all know cacao as being a key ingredient in chocolate. 

But could it be possible that this plant has almost drug-like properties? 

Considering its track record as being almost universally craved by western societies, it might not be too big of a stretch.

One thing for sure is that cacao contains cannabinoids, which may explain its tendency to trigger a strong sense of enjoyment when consumed. 

Chocolate contains compounds which can increase anadamide levels in the body. 

Lots of literature indicates that the anandamide cannabinoid mimics the euphoric sensation created by the cannabinoids in marijuana, albeit without the mind-clouding high.

Aside from being a mood-enhancer, cacao’s other benefits are well-documented. In addition to being nutritious, cacao is a neuroprotective (aids brain health), speeds healing and can even fight cancer.

Cacao Powder


  • Some members of the sunflower genus contain cannabinoids.
    • Helichrysum and Heliopsis varieties contain cannabigerol (CBG) and alkamides respectively
    • CBG is a known immune booster
    • Alkamides improve immunity, fight bacteria and provide analgesic effects
  • Echinacea contains N-alkylamides (NAAs), another type of alkamide.
    • NAAs benefit the immune system, relieve pain and fight inflammation
  • Research done on New Zealand Liverwort and Japanese Liverwort unearthed the presence of both new and existing cannabinoids.
    • New Zealand liverwort is rich in newly-discovered perrottetinenic acid and a known cannabinoid called perrottetinene.
    • New Zealand liverwort is used medicinally to help with liver, bladder and gallbladder problems, in addition to treating bronchitis.
    • Japanese liverwort also contains bibenzyls, in addition to a newly discovered cannabinoid called isoperrottetin A.
    • Japanese liverwort’s benefits are similar to those found in the New Zealand species.
  • Black truffles are an expensive European delicacy that contain anandamide.
    • This food has been shown to be effective in boosting immunity and preventing cancer.
  • Black pepper contains beta-caryophyllene (BCP).
    • Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is a known anti-inflammatory.
    • Research suggests that BCP could also help fight cancer or augment anti-cancer drugs.
  • Cacao contains anandamide-like compounds that mimic the mood-enhancing effects of cannabis.
    • The cannabinoids in cacao gives it its neuroprotective, anti-cancer and healing benefits.

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  • Lyn says:

    Hi I’m allergic to anything that comes from the hemp plant. Smok Vape candies Edibles oil CBD any of it. It puts me into anaphylactic shock. Do you have any ideas as to what I can do to help myself?

  • Hi Lyn. Sorry to hear that. It would be best to speak to a medical specialist and avoid any products which are causing an allergic reaction for you.

  • David says:

    This article is patently false and looks suspiciously like other articles. NONE of the plant listed here contain ANY of the exact same cannabinoids found in cannabis. NONE. At best, the “resemble” or “mimic” certain cannabinoids found in cannabis, but they are NOT the same.

  • Thanks for sharing your feedback David! 🙂

  • Belasarius says:

    He pretty much tells us that though, as he mentions the names of many of these compounds, and indeed, the only one chemically close to THC is the perrottetinene is nz mugwort, compare their structures on wikipedia, it differs from THC only by a phenyl ring attached to the end of the pentyl sidechain. Although chemicals dont necessarily have to be chemically similar to have similar actions. The anandamide in our nervous systems is structurally completely different from phytocannabinoids (plant based) yet still functions as a cannabinoid.

  • Belasarius says:

    Meant the “perrotttetinene *in* nz mugwort”, btw

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