What Do Cannabinoids Do?
In essence, cannabinoids work their medicinal magic by imitating the compounds that our bodies produce naturally, known as endocannabinoids. These activate to maintain internal stability and health. In other words, they moderate the communication between cells, and when there is a deficiency or problem with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), unpleasant symptoms and physical complications occur.
Research has found that the human body contains receptors for cannabinoids, as well as an entire endocannabinoid system that processes cannabinoids. The ECS is what allows the body to benefit from the cannabinoids found in cannabis, several of which won’t be found anywhere else in nature. Our ECS regulates many of the functions of the human body: food intake, appetite, motor behavior, reproduction and much more.
The receptors and cannabinoids that can are found in the ECS can be thought of like a lock and key system. The cannabinoids bind to the cannabinoid receptors like a key would fit into a lock. The unlocking of the receptor is what causes the changes in how our cells function, and this leads to different effects in the body.
When weed is consumed, the cannabinoids bind to the receptors sites throughout our brain. These receptors are known as CB1 and CB2. In theory, different cannabinoids will have different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. For example, THC binds to the receptors in the brain, but CBN (cannabinol) has a strong association with CB2 receptors located throughout the body.
CB1 receptors are primarily found in the nervous system, gonads, connective tissues, glands, and organs; while CB2 receptors are primarily found in our immune system and other periphery structures. It’s also important to note that some tissues may contain both receptors, and this is why each is responsible for a different action. Interestingly, Scientists suspect there is another receptor that has yet to be discovered.