You’ve probably already heard about CBD and CBG, or have even tried them for yourself, but there’s so much you may not know about cannabinoids. Scientists have identified at least 113 cannabinoids in the cannabis sativa plant, each with different effects on the human body. These naturally-derived compounds have a rich and storied history that’s worth diving into. So we’ve compiled a list of interesting facts about cannabinoids so you can learn more!

1. Cannabinoids have been used for several millennia

Many of us think of cannabinoids as fairly new products. Partly because of the 2018 Farm Bill that formally legalized hemp cultivation. However, hemp has been grown for many thousands of years, as evidenced by hemp rope that was dated back to before 8000 BCE. It’s suggested that cannabis was one of the first agricultural crops ever grown.

The first mention of the use of cannabinoids to benefit health came in 2737 BCE by Emperor Shen Nung—sometimes called the Father of Chinese Medicine—who experimented with a vast number of plant compounds and wrote about their benefits in his medical encyclopedia titled Pen Ts’ao.

2. The Founding Fathers grew hemp

Long before its cultivation was outlawed in the United States, colonial and early American farmers were growing cannabis sativa—but not for the same reasons as today. Hemp arrived on North American shores in the form of textiles, including the canvas sails and rigging found on the Mayflower. British sailing vessels were also rarely without a supply of hemp seed. The seeds could be grown quickly on distant lands in case repairs to the mariners’ sails and lines were needed. British colonies were, in fact, required by law to produce hemp for the crown. Even some of our most famous presidents grew hemp on their own farms. Jefferson directed that an “acre of his best land” be dedicated to the cultivation of hemp at his Poplar Forest estate. Historical records show that George Washington made the mistake of not separating his male and female hemp plants, resulting in a lower-quality yield. Early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were even written on hemp paper.

Although some historians have attempted to connect hemp cultivation with recreational use, there is little evidence to suggest that the first Americans were using hemp for much other than the production of textiles.

 

3. You can make your own skincare with cannabinoids

Most people think of cannabinoids as a wellness product to be used in edible or liquid form, but did you know that they can also be an effective form of skin care? Many cannabinoid receptors lie just underneath the skin, and researchers have found that there are many potential benefits to using cannabinoids topically. There are already a number of cannabinoid-infused topical products on the market, but you can also create your own topicals with a few ingredients you may already have on hand. Consider mixing a few drops of CBD into your after-bath lotion for a luxurious moisturizing experience. You can also add CBD or CBG to massage oils or sports creams for a post-workout rubdown. For a more direct approach, you can even apply a few drops of CBD oil directly to the face along with your usual moisturizers and serums.

4. Other plants influence the endocannabinoid system

When you think of cannabinoids, you probably think of the ones found in hemp. And for good reason—there are 113 known cannabinoids in cannabis plants including CBD, THC, CBG, CBN and many others. While technically only cannabis contains the compounds that we consider to be cannabinoids, many species of plants also contain cannabinoid-like compounds that similarly influence the endocannabinoid system.

For example, sunflowers contain CBG-like phytocannabinoids called amorfrutins. Black truffles contain anandamide, which is one of the two known endocannabinoids also produced by the human body. Kava, which is often consumed as a calming social beverage, contains yangogin, a compound that interacts with the ECS’s CB1 receptors. Other plants that influence the endocannabinoid system include clove, black pepper, Echinacea, broccoli, ginseng, and carrots.

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