What are CB1 and CB2 receptors?

Over the past three years, I have commented many times about CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are present in every body. You may have thought, that’s all well and good but what are they, and what do they do? Excellent question. Let’s dive a little deeper today, and go beyond the surface to understand their place in our physical ecosystem.

Cannabinoids maintain balance

Cannabinoids are found naturally in the human body and the cannabis plant.

Endogenous cannabinoids are produced in our bodies. This naturally produced CBD is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and every one has one. Even animals. The ECS works with the CB1 and CB2 receptors to regulate functions such as appetite, memory, mood, pain, and sleep among others.

Exogenous cannabinoids, on the other hand, come from outside the body. The two most recognized plant-based cannabinoids are CBD and THC. CBD is the nonpsychoactive cousin of psychoactive THC, which is distinguished by the high experienced when you smoke, vape, or ingest it.

CBD and THC have both shown to have medicinal value, but behave differently in our bodies and brains. As already noted, THC produces a high, and CBD does not. CBD is not psychoactive and widely available. More people are inclined to use CBD products because they don’t want to get high.

What are CB receptors?

The human brain naturally produces endocannabinoid molecules—anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, or 2-AG. They move through the body receiving messages from the ECS to help maintain homeostatis (balance) in our brains, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. As long as a body creates adequate anandamide and 2-AG, balance is maintained. If it doesn’t, illness can be the result.

The ECS constantly trolls the body’s inner mechanisms, looking for imbalance. If there’s a problem, it alerts the CB1 and CB2 receptors to get to work adjusting the disparity and restoring balance. CB1 receptors are sprinkled throughout the body, but mostly located in the brain and spinal chord. CB2 is more focused on the nervous system, regulating immune response.

What do CB receptors do?

Our bodies are programmed to keep a balance, but the way we live our lives can create imbalance in the anandamide and 2-AG molecules. Such inequities often lead to illness or chronic conditions. Using exogenous CBD can stimulate the receptors to help reassert stability and ease many conditions.

CB1 receptors are strategically placed to:

·       Relieve depression

·       Lower blood pressure

·       Decrease intestinal problems

·       Increase memory and higher thinking

·       Lower anxiety and fear

CB2 receptors work to reduce inflammation, a major cause of many chronic diseases, including:

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  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Gastrointestinal diseases

  • Neurodegenerative diseases

  • Psychiatric diseases

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Kidney function

  • Bone and skin conditions

  • Pain

  • Cancer 

Study of the ECS is in its infancy, but as more attention is paid to CBD and THC, research is bound to pick up. Right now, CBD is in the spotlight because it’s nonpsychoactive, whereas THC is psychoactive and still illegal in much of the world.

CBD is a complex and fascinating substance. It’s a hot topic, and you’ll find CBD in just about everything from coffee to beer to health and beauty products. But not all CBD is created equal. So, it makes sense to learn as much about it as you can to know what you’re getting and how to use it to your best advantage.