How CBD Interacts with the Endocannabinoid Receptors

CB1 receptors are found in the peripheral and central nervous system. This includes the brain, lungs, vascular system, muscles, reproductive organs, the GI and the urinary tract. When bound, CB1 receptors affect executive functions such as memory processing, motor control, and pain management.

CB2 receptors are found on white blood cells, tonsils, and the spleen. Unlike CB1 receptor stimulation, CB2 receptors do not have psychoactive effects when stimulated. This fact, along with the fact that they regulate the inflammation and cancers of the liver, colon, immune system, spleen, pancreas, and bones, has made them of particular interest to researchers and doctors.

In the late 1990s the GPR55 was discovered in the brain. Recently, the GPR55 molecule was also discovered in the adrenal glands, GI tract, and spleen. It is now thought to be an entirely new CB receptor: CB3. This hypothesis is still being tested in research, but has implications in aiding trauma and regulating cancer cells.

Endocannabinoid receptors work with cannabinol molecules under a “lock and key” principle. Cannabinol molecules bind to receptors on the body similar to how a key is placed into a lock. When CBD is administered, endocannabinoids are released by the body, and bind to the CB1 or CB2 receptors. The receptors that are stimulated largely depends on whether the CBD is Full Spectrum or Isolate. Isolate can stimulate one specific receptor, whereas full spectrum stimulates both CB1 and CB2 receptors.