CB2 Receptors – What Is Their Role?
Posted on November 28th, 2020
If you are a cannabis user, you are familiar with the popular cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. These compounds may be helpful in providing relief to patients suffering from a number of ailments. It is now so much more common to hear about doctors prescribing said compounds to patients suffering from inflammation, nausea, and pain. These compounds have a way of interacting with your endocannabinoid system that may provide the relief that your body needs. CBD has become popular over the years because some people say it effectively reduces symptoms that may not respond to over the counter drugs. They do so through their interaction with cannabinoid receptors, such as the CB2 receptors, that are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies.
The ECS consists of both CB1 and CB2 receptors, both of which help in modulating many bodily functions. If you are interested in CBD or cannabis, understanding the ECS and how it manages to deliver its potentially therapeutic effects is essential. Have you ever wondered why cannabis indeed seems to have a strong medicinal and psychoactive effect? What is the reason that cannabis is able to interact with the body in such a unique way? Why is it so effective? CB2 receptors are part of that answer. Read on to learn more.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
If you want to understand more about the CB2 receptors, you need to first learn about the endocannabinoid system, its role, and its role in the human body. The human body houses the endocannabinoid system, one of the largest neurotransmitter networks in it. Neurotransmitters work in aiding the body and brain to communicate with each other through the nerve cells. This system is, therefore, immensely important because it helps ensure your body functions properly. Without said communication, some organs in the body may not perform their proper function and potentially fail altogether. The ECS, therefore, acts as a homeostatic regulator, constantly seeking to maintain an internal balance of its systems.
This means that it helps in coordinating of messages between the body and the brain. Thus, ensuring that both parts respond well to both internal and external stimuli. It plays an essential role in regulating critical functions in the body. Temperature, pleasure, sleep, pain, immunity, and memory are things the ECS has a hand in balancing. For example, the endocannabinoid molecules will signal to you when you are hungry and when you are full. The ECS connects to the nervous and immune systems. Thus, it is no wonder why we can feel its effects across many seemly unrelated functions in our bodies.
Components of The Endocannabinoid System: CB1 and CB2 Receptors
The endocannabinoid system comprises cannabinoids, some of which the body naturally produces. It contains receptors such as CB1 and CB2, which function in the same way plant-derived cannabinoids do. It also contains enzymes that will create and even break down those cannabinoids within the body. As much as cannabinoids are produced naturally by your body, running low on them is possible. As a result, below-average levels of cannabinoids lead to an imbalance that will interfere with your bodily functions. Research points out this deficiency as a precursor to many diseases. Luckily, it may be possible to supplement the body; that is what CBD and THC products are there for. Each of these cannabinoids will react with the receptors differently. Some of their interactions might just result in the exact effects you were looking for. When you introduce external cannabinoids into the body, they will search and activate the specific receptors they connect with. The particular nature of the cannabinoid and which of the two receptors it binds to dictate the kind of effect you ultimately get. This is why you get much different effects with CBD than THC despite both being cannabinoids.
What Are CB2 Receptors?
CB2 receptors are present throughout the nervous system, and they associate with an inflammation response. They are mostly in the peripheral part of the nervous system. Thus, there’s no risk of experiencing a ‘high’ like the one cannabis is famous for when the CB2 receptors activate.
Meanwhile, CB1 receptors spread throughout the brain, and their interaction with THC is the reason why you get high from it. When the CB2 receptors activate, they enable the body to relax and repair itself. It may also minimize pain sensation without impairing cognition. If you are suffering from chronic pain, taking CBD might provide some relief precisely because of this. You’ll end up feeling better due to the cannabinoid interaction with the CB2 receptors that ends up relieving pain.
Whenever THC or CBD binds itself to the CB2 receptors, it will also reduce pain and inflammation to an extent. The anti-inflammatory effects are ideal when it comes to conditions such as arthritis. Also, because these receptors are also extensively in the gastrointestinal system, they address any intestinal inflammation issues. Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel syndromes tend to experience more relief when they use cannabis as a treatment.
If you are looking at CBD for pain relief, It is important to understand the CB2 activation process. Usually, when inflammation occurs in your body, the CB2 receptors will try to inhibit inflammatory signals. They will attempt to make your body get back to its normal former, non-inflamed state. When you take cannabinoids, they may help in reducing the inflammation by interacting with the ECS. During that interaction, they bind to the CB2 receptors. CB2 activation is essential because it may also help to minimize stroke symptoms and to treat opioid dependence. The activation of CB2 receptors also seems to promote bone health by correcting imbalances in the immune system.
It is also important to note that CBD acts as an inverse agonist to the CB2 receptors. This means that if the compound occupies the same position on the receptor, it results in different effects brought about by the agonist. However, the facts may vary widely depending on the level of concentration.
The CB1 and CB2 receptors connect and activate intracellular messenger proteins of the Gi or Go, family. Research is on its way to establishing the exact 3D structure of the CB2 protein. For now, the understanding of how molecules bind to the CB2 receptors is limited in comparison to the CB1 receptor.
However, in the human body, the CNR2 gene is responsible for producing the CB2 protein. There are several mutations in the CNR2 gene. Due to this, some people have notably different reactions to various cannabis compounds such as THC and CBD.
What Are the Risks of Taking CBD?
It is almost impossible not to talk about CBD when you are discussing receptors. This is because the use of external cannabinoids might prove necessary if your own body is running low on them. As much as CBD has many benefits, it also has its risks.
One, you have to note that CBD lacks proper regulation. With CBD lacking regulation, it is a bit hard for consumers to differentiate between the substandard and the high-quality CBD products.
Some companies are out to make money, and the safety of the consumer is not a priority for them. This is why you need to research before you purchase CBD products. There are some factors that you need to consider before you settling on which CBD product to buy.
One thing that you should look out for is how much THC the CBD product contains. THC is the one reason users have a high effect after consuming cannabis. If you want to avoid the impairment associated with the intake of THC, check the label. Make sure that you buy CBD products with less than 0.3% THC, the legal limit for hemp-based CBD products.
Look For the Source of The CBD
The other factor that you need to consider is the source of the hemp. Where and how was it grown? Usually, you will find that products made from hemp that has been grown overseas can be problematic because they aren’t subject to any testing. You want to buy products that have undergone quality checks. Besides, you want to buy a product that has been grown sustainably. When purchasing, ask the staff whether they know where the hemp was grown. If you are purchasing the products online, go through the company’s website to check if they have that information posted there.
It is also essential to ask for the test results before you purchase CBD products. The certificate of analysis will indicate important information that will influence your final decision. Check the certificate to confirm how the work performed on tests checking for THC and CBD levels. Also, you want to know the amount of contaminants in the product. If the manufacturer refuses to provide you with the test results or doesn’t have the test results, don’t buy their product. It is only through checking the test results that you can be absolutely sure of the product’s quality.
When it comes to purchasing CBD products, you need to ensure that you choose quality products. Since you will be consuming the CBD to aid in regulating body processes, you need to ensure that the products you consume are of good quality.