Cannabinoid Receptors are a fascinating part of the body known as the Endocannabinoid System or ECS. You can read more about the ECS here, but this article will focus on cannabinoid receptors, their history, and how they play a vital role in many complex processes. Like many parts of the body, cannabinoid receptors may seem complicated at first, but they are very simple when you break it down.
Who discovered cannabinoid receptors?
Cannabinoid Receptors were originally discovered by Allyn Howletts St. Louis University in the mid-’80s. At the time this was groundbreaking research, but due to limited access to advanced technology, there wasn’t another breakthrough until 1988. Finally, in 1990, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health led by Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Lumir Hamus were able to make serious headway in the understanding cannabinoid receptors and how they work in both the ECS and within the body at large.
How many cannabinoid receptors are there? Where are they located in the Human Body?
There are currently two classifications of cannabinoid receptors, CB1, and CB2. These receptors can be found throughout not only the human body but nearly all mammals including dogs and cats. CB1 receptors are most commonly found in the Central Nervous System (CNS) and play an important role in major organ function including the brain, liver, kidney, and lungs. CB2 receptors are more specific and are expressed mainly in the immune system and hematopoietic cells of the blood. Among other things, the interactions these receptors have with the ECS and the CNS contribute to both antinociception (or the relief of pain) and the reduction of inflammation.
How do cannabinoid receptors work?
Cannabinoid receptors can be thought of as chemically oriented “locks” found throughout the body. They are primed for chemical reactions with their “key” counterparts, some of which are called cannabinoids. Not every type of cannabinoid can connect with every type of receptor however, which is the simplest explanation of why THC and CBD have such drastically different effects on the human body. These cannabinoids (CBD, CBN, THC, and many more produced in the body or other sources naturally) enter the bloodstream various means and eventually find their CB1 or CB2 “lock” to connect with. When a cannabinoid and receptor connect, they begin a chemical reaction with the ECS that starts a variety of physiological processes including appetite stimulation, inflammation reduction, mood improvement, memory improvement, and faster reflexes. As you can see, when naturally occurring cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and the ECS interact, it has striking effects on the body, many of which are celebrated by millions as a natural path to wellness.
Why are cannabinoid receptors important?
Due to the pivotal role of the ECS in regulating critical functions by keeping one at homeostasis, cannabinoid receptors are a vital component in the body. Biological systems his that keep us alive and well such as these are incredibly intricate, but new light is being shed on how exactly cannabinoids, receptors, and the ECS work together by researchers every year. For now, we know that this is one of many ways the body processes outside chemicals and stimuli and that this relationship is why CBD is so effective for so many issues.
How can you activate cannabinoid receptors naturally?
The answer is easy! There are all sorts of foods and practices that will activate those cannabinoid receptors naturally. Let’s start with fatty-acids that can be found in hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts just to name a few. Then there is the Cacao powder which contains a few compounds that are structurally similar to endocannabinoids. Next up we have numerous herbs and teas such as Echinacea, Camellia Sinensis, and Turmeric amongst many others. Finally, eating a balanced diet rich in organic produce will naturally stimulate the ECS, but be warned, pesticides used on much commercial produce is known to disrupt this delicate system.
Why should I care about cannabinoid receptors?
Cutting-edge research being conducted on the Endocannabinoid System and their cannabinoid receptors shed light on the interconnectedness of the body. This key part of the central nervous system can be a massive help, or a massive hindrance to not only peak performance, but also aging, immunity, mood, and other aspects of the body that greatly affect someone’s overall well being. This beautiful symphony of the body and CBD’s role in it is one of the core reasons Design Wellness was founded, and we hope this article paints a clearer picture of cannabinoid receptors and their roll in the body.