The endogenous cannabinoid system (endocannabinoid system) is an integral part of mammalian physiology, discovered in the mid-1990s by Israeli researcher Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, and named after the plant that led to its discovery – Cannabis sativa. For nearly twenty years it was assumed that cannabinoids only originated in the cannabis plant. Then, in 2008, a radical change occurred when it was revealed that Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid. Within a few years it was discovered that cannabinoids are present in many other common plants, and have long been a component of the global food supply.
Non-psychoactive cannabinoids are naturally present in plants like basil, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, echinacea, flax, oregano, pepper, rosemary, and many others.
Cannabinoids may seem subjectively new to scientific study in isolation, but they are an ancient component of the global food supply.
Source: Phytocannabinoids beyond the Cannabis plant – do they exist?, Jürg Gertsch, Roger G Pertwee, and Vincenzo Di Marzo, British Journal of Pharmacology, June 2010, © 2010 The British Pharmacological Society.