Cannabinoid Receptors and Their Functions in the Endocannabinoid System
Posted on January 8th, 2022
What are cannabinoid receptors and why are they important? Before answering that question, you need to understand the system in which we find them. And that’s the endocannabinoid system(ECS), in the central nervous system.
What’s its role in your body? The ECS is responsible for sending and receiving complex signals to and from the brain. It regulates a range of functions in your body, such as motor control, skin and nerve function as well as reproductive system function. Your ECS also manages liver function and stress; it’s involved in bone remodeling and growth and also plays a role in cardiovascular system function.
But that’s not all. This multi-pronged system can also influence sleep, muscle formation, learning and memory and even your mood! With so many scattered ECS receptors, your busy system also addresses chronic pain, metabolism, appetite and digestion.
According to scientists, the endocannabinoid system gets triggered when you consume compounds from the Cannabis Sativa plant. This can be anything, from hemp-derived products like CBD to weed. However, your ECS works even if you don’t consume these things.
How does the ECS work?
Your ECS contains three crucial components: receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes.
1. We find receptors throughout your body. They send signals to your brain so that the ECS can take prompt action. Now, the two cannabinoid receptors in the ECS are CB1 and CB2. The former usually circulates around the central nervous system. And the latter hang out in your immune cells and the peripheral nervous system.
2. Endocannabinoids ensure that your body’s internal functions run smoothly. Two primary endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglyerol, produce the molecules in your body that monitor internal functions. Then, they work with receptors to instantly signal your brain.
What does that look like? CB1 receptors may bind with endocannabinoids to relieve pain. But CB2 receptors may work with endocannabinoids to alleviate inflammation.
3. Enzymes in the ECS break down endocannabinoids after doing their jobs. Two enzymes, fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol acid lipase, break down anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglyerol respectively.
As already mentioned, CB1 and CB2 work differently in your body. Still, they have a common aim: to keep you healthy. Let’s take a closer look.
We find lots of CB1 or G protein-coupled receptors in the basal ganglia, brainstem, cerebellum, hippocampus, and neocortex. Scientists have also found multiple traces of CB1 receptors in the peripheral nerve terminals and also near the spleen, vascular endothelium, eye, and testis.
One of the reasons why CB1 receptors came into the limelight is because of its efficacy in treating obesity and metabolic syndrome. Moreover, these receptors are adept at handling the psychotropic effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol or Δ9THC. This is the primary psychoactive component that gives you a high feeling after you consume weed or marijuana. CB1 is also responsible for the smooth functioning of the paracrine signaling system in your ECS.
Your endocannabinoid system contains a combination of cannabinoid receptors, metabolic pathways, and endogenous cannabinoids that improve your body’s synthesis. These receptors further communicate with the brain and send signals according to the discomfort your body is going through.
Anandamide, 2-AG, and endocannabinoids, target CB1 receptors. These three molecules are also known as the “retrograde messengers” as they float backward through the gap left between two neurons. Once these molecules bind with their nearest CB1 receptor, the CB1 receptor starts releasing G proteins from its intracellular tail, thus activating various intracellular processes.
One of the most crucial functions of the CB1 receptor is to regulate the number of neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, dopamine, and serotonin. You can consider CB1 receptors as the crossing guard that neurotransmitters need to break through at different intervals.
CB1 and cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds that activate CB1 receptors. There are a few classifications when it comes to cannabinoids. For example, your body produces endocannabinoids naturally. On the other hand, plants, such as Cannabis Sativa, produce phytocannabinoid. Phytocannabinoids enter your body when you consume hemp-derived products or smoke weed. It depends on how much quantity of THC, the psychoactive element, is present in the respective product.
The cannabinoids interact with CB1 receptors and trigger your body’s signaling system. That is why you will notice that your joint pain is slowly going away after you consume a CBD pill or apply CBD oil to the target area. The cannabinoid compounds present in the CBD product react with your CB1 receptors to send signals to your brain. The brain instantly responds by providing the comfort your body needs.
In addition to CB1, CB2 receptors also play a crucial role in the overall wellbeing of your body. They are available mostly in the immune cells that circulate throughout your brain and body via your bloodstream. A significant number of CB2 receptors are also found in the liver cells, bone, and spleen.
Like CB1 receptors, CB2 also supplies G proteins to the cell membrane receptors. These cannabinoid receptors connect with intracellular messenger proteins belonging to the Gi and Go family.
The active binding of CB2 receptors to the wall of the cell membrane faces towards the outside, thus allowing the ingredients from hemp-derived products to attach instantly as soon as they mix in your bloodstream. This allows your body to provide instant relief from joint pains or stress.
Many people say that they feel relaxed after taking a few drops of full-spectrum CBD as soon as they think that they would get an anxiety attack. This happens because the full-spectrum CBD compounds interact with the CB2 receptors as soon as they enter your body. The moment they identify that you are about to face an anxiety attack, they balance your body’s hormones. For example, they will increase your serotonin levels and decrease the cortisol level significantly. This would allow your brain to relax instead of succumbing to stressful situations.
Your body’s CNR2 gene is responsible for producing the G protein released by CB2 receptors. Recently, scientists said that there can be various mutations of the CNR2 gene, which means CB2 receptors can work differently when you consume CBD or other hemp-derived products. As a result, scientists are still not sure about the absolute function of hemp in humans.
CB2 and cannabinoids
2-arachidonoylglycerol is the primary cannabinoid that targets CB2 receptors. The G proteins released by CB2 receptors activate various proteins and even start different intracellular processes that result in promoting homeostasis, which, in turn, regulate the survival and proliferation of cells.
CB2 receptors activate whenever you are injured or your body gets inflamed. These receptors are excellent at inhibiting inflammatory signaling pathways that bring your body to a non-inflammatory state. Since cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties, they react well with CB2 receptors. Sometimes, chronic opioids may cause inflammatory responses. In such cases, some doctors recommend mild doses of CBD or hemp-derived products to activate your body’s anti-inflammatory cells.
Apart from anti-inflammatory properties, CB2 receptors are also popular for minimizing the risks of strokes and heart attacks. According to the studies published by the American Stroke Association and American Heart Association, CB2 receptors can prevent neural damages that may lead to strokes.
Both THC and CBD react with your cannabinoid receptors, but their reactions are different. THC provides a high feeling that intoxicates you. It doesn’t offer as many health benefits as CBD. CBD may relieve joint pain, reduce anxiety symptoms, improve your quality of sleep, alleviate inflammation, and prevent strokes. It is essential that you choose the best cannabinoid product so that it keeps your body fit.
When it comes to the best cannabinoid product, Tanasi.com has a range of full-spectrum CBD items, such as gummies, tinctures, salves, creams, and pills. If you are looking for high-quality CBD products without spending a fortune, you can trust Tanasi. It also offers massive discounts if you place orders in bulk. Go through the list of products and their CBD concentrations before ordering.
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