All humans have an endocannabinoid system within their bodies, which is mainly responsible for regulating homeostasis. Within the endocannabinoid system (ECS) are receptors, specifically known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Our CB1 receptors are present in the central nervous system and in certain peripheral tissues CB1 receptors are mainly present in the brain and spinal cord. They are concentrated in brain regions associated with the behaviors they influence. Meanwhile, our CB2 receptors are heavily concentrated in immune cells. When activated, CB2 receptors work to reduce inflammation, as inflammation is an immune response.

Now, let’s explore how THC and CBD help activate these receptors, further reinforcing how our bodies were scientifically designed to benefit from such natural product intake. First, there is an actual reason that certain cannabis strains will spark an appetite in you. There are CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus, which plays a part in hunger regulations. CB1 receptors become activated through THC intake and as a result, you become hungry (also known as “getting the munchies.”) Second, the reason we find pain relief through cannabis is that there are CB1 receptors found in nerve endings. As such, THC and CBD produce therapeutic effects by interacting with the ECS, acting to reduce sensations of pain. Additionally, the reason we find stress relief through cannabis is due to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors being activated. There are CB1 receptors in the amygdala, which plays a part in memory and emotional processing.

With CBD, however, the process is a little different than THC. CBD does not bind directly to cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it restricts an enzyme called FAAH, which is responsible for the breakdown of anandamide. In other words, this process helps build up the supply of the human body’s natural anti-depressant and does so without psychoactive effects, making the choice to use CBD a no-brainer. Given that the ECS’ main function is to establish balance within the body, learning more about the role CB1 and CB2 receptors play is essential to bettering physical and mental health.

The more you know!