Cannabis is loved around the world for its versatile and relaxing high but there are more herbs that give a similar effect. We take a look at a few alternatives to cannabis and how they affect the human body.
Kanna, or “Sceletium tortuosum,” was probably used as a mental pick-me-up by hunter-gatherers in South Africa thousands of years ago. The name means “something to chew” and Kanna is usually consumed that way. Another method is snorting. The psychoactive effects of this plant are diverse, you can experience different effects depending on how much of it you use. These can range from euphoria, a tipsy feeling, an active or just a numb feeling. Kanna is also known to boost the effects of other psychoactive substances such as cannabis. View products The concentrations of active substances in kanna vary from season to season. Kanna is harvested in the summer and spring, when concentrations of active alkaloids are highest. Traditionally, kanna was fermented or dried for consumption. Today, the plant is processed into tinctures, gel capsules and herbal teas.
A native South African plant, wild dagga (Leonotis leonurus), also known as “Lion’s tail” is a large evergreen found in rocky areas and grasslands. It is a beautiful plant with golden orange flowers that grow in clusters around the stem. The plant contains several types of properties which makes it a popular herb among the South African people. Wild dagga has a similar, but milder effect than cannabis. It has a marked sedative and relaxing effect on the body and can induce feelings of euphoria. Smokers report mild mood enhancements, increased visual perception and a calm mind. Traditionally used for decades by South African people like the Zulu and the Khoikhoi, wild dagga is still used today. In most countries it is legal and you can even grow your own plant! The plant can withstand drought well and produces a fine nectar for birds and butterflies. The plant thrives best in a Mediterranean or subtropical climate. View product
Have you ever wondered why chocolate makes you feel so good? It’s not just because of the delicious taste. Chocolate contains a lot of chemicals that act on your endocannabinoid system. The main one is the FAAH enzyme. FAAH helps break down anandamide, while other substances in chocolate actually increase anandamide levels in your body. These substances work in the same way as CBD and other cannabinoids, while the breakdown of anandamide works the same as THC. This is why chocolate makes us feel so happy and relaxed. The way chocolate acts on the endocannabinoid system is more significant than you might think, although the effect is much milder than with cannabis.
Research with mice running in a wheel shows that running increases levels of endorphins and endocannabinoids in the body. The study found that these mice were less anxious and more resistant to pain. This explains the feeling of a “runner’s high.” The mice showed no difference in behavior when their endorphin receptors were blocked. But when their endocannabinoid system was blocked the results showed high anxiety and low pain tolerance. Could the endocannabinoid system provide an explanation for the “runner’s high”? Research at the Central Institute of Mental Health at the University of Heidelberg in Germany showed that mice that ran five kilometers a day showed less anxious behavior. Scientists believe these results may also apply to humans because “We have evolved to hunt fast animals and escape equally fast predators.” Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Marcelo Gleiser says “Running such long stretches is tiring and painful. If we get a reward for hard work, we are more likely to run longer and faster. And thus our chances of survival increase.” So if you’re looking for a natural high go running! You are an efficiently evolved runner and your body will reward you for it by releasing endorphins and endocannabinoids into your system. And as a bonus, it will keep you in good shape!
Scientists discovered that oxytocin releases endocannabinoid anandamide into your body when you experience feelings of love and compassion. Anandamide, like THC, attaches to your cannabinoid receptors and activates them. This generates motivation and pleasure. Oxytocin plays an important role in social interactions from attachment to birth, from sexual attraction to reproduction. So love reaches far and wide. It stimulates your brain and gives you the same fine feeling you can experience when you smoke your favorite cannabis strain.