Does CBD Exist in Other Plants Than Hemp?

Does CBD Exist in Other Plants Than Hemp?

Cannabis brims with CBD and other cannabinoids. It contains more than 120 cannabinoids, of which CBD is the most abundant. It’s no wonder, then, that all CBD products are made from cannabis plants.

Research, however, suggests that many plants contain other cannabinoids and terpenes that are similarly found in industrial hemp. One recent finding looks particularly promising, as researchers are looking into a tropical plant called trema. Trema may contain usable quantities of CBD without any trace of THC or other psychotropic compounds. It’s hardly the only possible source of CBD, though.

Types of Cannabis

Selective growth over thousands of years has created two types of cannabis plants.

Industrial hemp with its long, slender stalks and leaves has been used for thousands of years for paper, sails, ropes, and other textiles. Its flowers and leaves contain CBD and other cannabinoids but only minute traces of THC.

Marijuana, on the other hand, was selectively bred for its rich THC content, which produces the famous ‘high’.

Legalising CBD

While lawmakers bundled together industrial hemp and marijuana until very recently, there had been for years demands for countries to legalise industrial hemp and CBD. The reasoning was that CBD is non-psychotropic and non-addictive and could potentially help with health issues like chronic pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, and depression. Even the World Health Organization has categorised CBD as well-tolerated by the human body and displaying a good safety profile.

Accordingly, many countries, including the United Kingdom, have legalised the production and manufacturing of CBD if produced from industrial hemp. Some countries have also legalised the recreational use of marijuana, but marijuana production and consumption are still illegal in the UK, where THC remains a Class B drug.

CBD in industrial hemp

CBD and other cannabinoids in hemp

CBD is the most common cannabinoid in industrial hemp. It’s found in leaves and flowers which are harvested at maturity and then processed to extract CBD.

Alongside CBD, industrial hemp contains more than 120 other cannabinoids like CBC, CBG, CBDA, CBN, and THC. It also contains terpenes, which are the aromatic compounds found in all plants on Earth. Whenever you smell a plant, a fruit, a flower, or a vegetable, the scent it gives means that terpenes are at work.

Terpenes at work

CBD shares terpenes with many other plants, such as basil, black pepper, hops, and lavender.

Hemp contains beta-caryophyllene, which it shares with basil, clover, and cinnamon. It also has humulene, which is found abundantly in hops. Linalool is found in hemp and lavender and gives its characteristic refreshing scent. Limonene, as its name suggests, is the scent of lemons and citrus fruit in general. It, too, is found in hemp.

Terpenes matter a lot because they carry their own properties and many of them are anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and pain relieving.

Flavonoids in hemp

Hemp has sizable quantities of flavonoids, which have strong antioxidant properties. Antioxidants stabilize free radicals which would otherwise cause chronic illnesses and aging.

Researching CBD

The increasing interest in CBD has led to growing research on its potential. While there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that showed how CBD helps people’s health, there needs to be solid scientific and medical evidence to support such views.

As part of this research, there is also increasing interest in CBD and whether it can be produced from other plants. Because of the tainted story of industrial hemp and cannabis, researchers are specifically targeting other plants that might contain significant quantities of CBD with similar health effects.

There is research from 2022 critically analysing anecdotal evidence that CBD has been found in other plants like hops and flax.

Helichrysum Umbraculigerum

Findings are showing that Helichrysum Umbraculigerum, part of the sunflower family, contains some sort of CBD and other phytocannabinoids. These have been detected and isolated, which looks promising. However, it’s still unclear whether the quantities detected are usable. 


Another plant that has been proven to contain CBD is flaxseed. Unfortunately, there were only traces of CBD found. It would require tons of flaxseed to produce significant quantities of CBD, unless there can be some genetic modification on the plant to help it produce more CBD.


The latest research in Brazil looks more promising because it would appear that scientists have found CBD in the flowers and fruit of the trema tree. It remains uncertain whether the quantities found are important and sustainable. The local scientists were interested because trema doesn’t contain any THC, which eases people’s minds regarding the potential psychedelic effect of the plant. 


There has been increasing attention on hops as a potential alternative source of CBD. The reason is that hops belong to the Cannabaceae family — the same family as cannabis and industrial hemp.

Hops and hemp display quite a few similarities but hops lack the cannabinoid-producing abilities that hemp has. Perhaps with genetic modification, hops could be engineered to mimic the phytochemistry of hemp and produce large quantities of CBD. Until then, hops will keep being used to make beer.

Hemp and other plants: they share terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids

Cannabinoids are just part of cannabis, though. And hemp is hardly unique in its plentiful composition. Many plants, fruit, and flowers are rich in similar terpenes and cannabinoids even if they lack the crucial ingredient, namely CBD.

Chocolate makes us happy with good reason

Have you ever wondered why chocolate makes us happy? We crave it, and the reason is that it contains anandamide, which is an endocannabinoid — one produced by the body. It takes its name from Sanskrit and means ‘joy’. Anandamide interacts with the brain neurotransmitters and helps us feel happy and joyful.

No wonder then that the whole world loves cacao and anything chocolatey.

Take Echinacea for good health and good spirits

Many people take Echinacea because it’s brimming with compounds that boost our immune system. This is why many GPs suggest you take Echinacea in winter when colds and the flu are surrounding us.

Echinacea also contains a compound that imitates the human cannabinoid system and interacts with our cannabinoid receptors. Even though Echinacea doesn’t contain CBD, the compound it does contain can help our brain relax. It’s good for mental calmness and relaxation and, in a sense, it mimics the effects of CBD in the human brain even if it follows a different pathway.

Hops and black pepper are packed with beta-caryophyllene

Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene that’s quite unlike the rest of its siblings.

Beta-caryophyllene seems to interact directly with the human endocannabinoid system, particularly with the CB2 receptors that are found in the gut and the immune system. Thanks to these interactions, beta-caryophyllene appears to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that beta-caryophyllene may help with arthritis and other pain-related conditions. It also displays anti-anxiety and stress-relieving qualities, which again, appear very promising. 

CBD, hemp, and the plant kingdom

Cannabis has been around for thousands of years. The Ancient Chinese, Egyptians, and Greeks frequently tapped into its potential and used it as medicine. Selective breeding led to the differentiation between marijuana and industrial hemp.

Now that CBD has become more recognised, there is increasing interest in its production methods, hence the focus shift on the plant kingdom. It would be useful to find a CBD-teeming plant that contains large quantities of CBD without any hallucinogenic THC. That would alleviate people’s fears about the psychotropic potential of their CBD product.

As technology advances, there could be a genetic modification that could improve the CBD content in plants like hops.

Synergetic action

Another unanswered question is whether different plants with CBD and other cannabinoids present an affluent cannabinoid profile, comparable to industrial hemp.

There is increasing evidence that cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work together to produce a superior health effect. This synergy has been called the ‘entourage effect’ whereby it appears that each botanical compound lifts its siblings in an improved effect. What would the profile be for a new CBD-producing plant?

As with so many things regarding the world of CBD, a lot remains unknown. But as the world moves forward and people demand better health solutions, attention will inevitably focus on if and how we can tap into the benefits of CBD.

CBD in other plants than cannabis

The discovery of CBD in plants such as hops, trema, and flaxseed broadens our understanding of this fascinating compound and its natural distribution.

While most commonly associated with cannabis, CBD’s presence in other botanical sources underscores its potential versatility and opens up new avenues for research and application.

The exploration of CBD in these alternative plants may lead to innovative products, therapeutic applications, or even a shift in legal and cultural perceptions surrounding this compound.

As our knowledge of CBD’s diverse sources continues to grow, so too does the opportunity to harness its potential for various industries, ranging from medicine to manufacturing. No matter where it comes from, CBD shows no real harmful side effects, so many people are keen on trying it. Before you do, be sure to check out our CBD oil reviews and the guide to the best CBD oil stores in the UK!

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Nicholas C. Rossis, renowned by the IBBY Award and a roster of best-selling publications, is a leading voice in CBD research. His work combines critical acclaim with the analysis of the latest news, studies, research and legal developments in the world of CBD, providing readers with valuable data and insights.

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