The endocannabinoid system exists within each of our bodies, helping to regulate a wide array of human functions to improve homeostasis. In the past two decades, our knowledge of this newfound system has vastly increased, and scientists have stumbled upon & pinpointed two receptors that are linked to it. They’re known as CB1 & CB2 receptors, and each play an integral part in maintaining normal function within the body.
The first cannabinoid receptor was discovered in the brain of a rat in 1988, which led to their discovery in the human brain. It’s been found that these receptors are more plentiful than any other neurotransmitter in the brain. In 1990, this receptor was pinpointed in DNA and later on, cloned. Through these discoveries we were able to then find how this receptor reacts to THC from the cannabis plant.
CB1 receptors respond to the THC in cannabis and are responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects. They’re mostly found in the brain and nervous system, being responsible for changes in mood, memory, pain perception, appetite, and sleep.
The second cannabinoid receptor was pinpointed in 1993, five years after the first had been found. However, this one is predominantly located in the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, bones, gut, spleen, reproductive organs, and lymph cells.
CB2 receptors respond to the THC in cannabis and are responsible for anti-inflammatory effects, working well with immune cells. These receptors can reduce inflammation as well as contribute to alleviating the effects of multiple conditions & diseases associated with inflammation.
As Knowledge Grows Exponentially…
There are still discoveries to be made and clinical trials to be done, but after the wondrous discoveries concerning the endocannabinoid system, scientists are left with a promising future involving the development of medicines that incorporate cannabis. Once a true understanding of the endocannabinoid system is fully developed, advances in the therapeutic role of cannabis can truly take off – with promising potential concerning analgesics, immunomodulatory medicines, antiphlogistics, neuroprotective agents, antiepileptics, spasticity, alcohol withdrawal, eating disorders, bone growth, and a vast array of other medicinal qualities not yet discovered.