Understanding Your Cannabinoid Receptors: CB1 and CB2

Cannabinoid Receptors

Chances are you've heard about the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids like CBD that come from the cannabis plant, and their role in keeping your body balanced. Cannabinoids can evoke these balancing effects through the way they interact with special cannabinoid receptors.

Researchers discovered endocannabinoids, and what's known as your endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the early 1990s. Your ECS, to put it broadly, regulates a significant amount of your body's functions, but not necessarily in any certain part of your body or any specific way. It basically works in the background, ensuring you're functioning optimally, and that your body is nice and balanced.

This occurs through an intertwined network of receptors and transmitters, though the CB1 and CB2 receptors are most prominent.

What Are Cannabinoid Receptors?

Cannabinoid receptors are a critical component of your body's ECS.

Your endocannabinoid system is one of your body's biggest neurotransmitter networks. You can think of your ECS as your body's integrated balancing system.

The ECS is found in all mammals and is responsible for maintaining balance in a number of physiological functions, including:

  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Immune system response
  • Appetite, metabolism, hunger
  • Coordination and movement
  • Temperature
  • Cognition and memory
  • Sensory processing

As you can see, a well-functioning ECS is a part of maintaining day-to-day wellness and health. Your cannabinoid receptors throughout your body are a class of G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily cell membrane receptors.

These cannabinoid receptors work closely with cannabinoids (which act as chemical messengers). When they come together, it triggers a series of reactions that balance out different functions.

Taking a Closer Look at your CB1 and CB2 Receptors

While you can find them in your liver, kidneys and lungs, your CB1 receptors are located predominantly in your brain and central nervous system. This connection to your brain is why you experience the "high" after using THC and also why THC helps reduce nausea, depression, pain and other behavioral stimuli.

Your CB2 receptors are found in your immune system, particularly in your white blood cells, and locations like your tonsils and spleen. CBD frequently binds with CB2, like THC does CB1.

The Entourage Effect

Although your CB1 and CB2 receptors play an important part in delivering the good stuff you find within cannabinoids, they make an impact in other ways. There's even a way of increasing the benefits known as the "entourage effect."

The entourage effect is the synergistic relationship occuring when multiple terpenes or cannabinoids are present together. Terpenes are naturally occurring hydrocarbons, which provides plants with their unique aroma. When compounds like THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, and terpenes get together, it's a complementary pairing, bringing out the best in both.

How CBD Plays a Role

Science has recently found the ECS doesn't just respond to Endogenous cannabinoids the body produces naturally, but also to external Phytocannabinoids like CBD, in order to enhance the ECS function of the body.

CBD influences CB1 and CB2 receptors, but it doesn't interact with them directly. Unlike THC that binds directly with cannabinoid receptors, CBD doesn't have much affinity for them, but rather indirectly interacts with them. Therefore, you can call CBD an "indirect antagonist of cannabinoid agonists." This means CBD suppresses the activating qualities of CB1 and CB2 of other cannabinoids.

CBD blocks your body's cannabinoid receptors causing chemical changes. It has an imperfect relationship with your cannabinoid receptors imperfectly. In other words, CBD doesn’t directly activate your cannabinoid receptors, but prevents other chemical messengers and cannabinoids to bind with them.

CBD not only influences your central nervous system and brain's cannabinoid receptors, but it also interacts with various other ion channels and non-cannabinoid receptors of your body, including TRPV-1 vanilloid receptors and 5-HT1A serotonin receptors to generate its natural wellness effects.

It's the naturally balancing reactions stemming from CBD and cannabinoid receptors acting on each other that has made CBD-infused products become so popular for supporting health and well-being.

Although it may seem peculiar to learn, there are still aspects of the human body researchers are learning about. The research on how CBD interacts with the ECS is still growing. But, what is known is the ECS keeps our bodies balanced, and in sync with cannabinoids (those produced naturally and those absorbed from external sources) to stay balanced.

Consider Using a CBD-Infused Pillow

An easy way of experiencing the benefits CBD has to offer is by cuddling up with a CBD-infused pillow. Just like the therapeutic benefits you'd experience with CBD oil, CBD topicals or other CBD products, you can experience them with a CBD-infused pillow. They promote a restful night's sleep, and cause you to wake up refreshed in the morning.