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How Do Cannabinoid Receptors Work?

Understanding Cannabinoid Receptors: A Key to Well-Being

Cannabinoid receptors are crucial components that exist throughout our entire body, acting as gateways for wellness-boosting compounds. In this article, we will delve into what cannabinoid receptors are, how they work, where they are found, and how they interact with compounds like CBD. Let’s get started!

What are Cannabinoid Receptors?

Cannabinoid receptors are sophisticated G protein-coupled receptors that facilitate the body’s interaction with various chemical compounds. To simplify, think of them as antennas in your body, receiving and transmitting signals to different cells and biological functions. These receptors play a key role in regulating vital functions like sleep, mood, appetite, metabolism, and immune response.

Discovery of Cannabinoid Receptors

The discovery of cannabinoid receptors, particularly CB1 and CB2, was a recent breakthrough in the scientific community. These receptors were identified in the 1980s and 1990s, shedding light on the endocannabinoid system – a network that connects all cannabinoid receptors. While internal chemicals interact with these receptors, compounds found in Cannabis sativa, like CBD, offer a broader range of interactions.

How Cannabinoid Receptors Work

Cannabinoid receptors interact with compounds through a lock-and-key mechanism, where only specific shapes can bind effectively. These receptors receive both internal neurochemicals and external phytocannabinoids like CBD. Each receptor type is located in different parts of the body, transmitting signals that help regulate specific functions.

Where are Cannabinoid Receptors Found?

Cannabinoid receptors are found in various parts of the body, with CB1 receptors primarily located in the brain and CB2 receptors abundant in the digestive system. Receptors play a crucial role in the immune system, cardiovascular system, skin, GI tract, and peripheral nervous system, transmitting signals that impact overall well-being.

The Impact of CBD on Cannabinoid Receptors

While CBD does not directly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, it enhances their ability to interact with other compounds. CBD serves as a mediator, ensuring that the network of receptors functions optimally. Strengthening the interaction with receptors can improve the body’s ability to combat diseases and maintain balance.


[1] Mackie, K. (2018). Cannabinoid receptors: where they are and what they do. PubMed. [Source]

[2] Ryberg, E., Larsson, N., & Sjögren, S. (2007). The orphan receptor GPR55 is a novel cannabinoid receptor. NCBI. [Source]