What Are Cannabinoids And How Do They Interact Within The Human Body

cannabis definition

You may be wondering, what are cannabinoids? This article will explain the benefits of Phytocannabinoids, Endocannabinoids, and CB1 and CB2 receptors. Then, you can decide whether or not to consume these compounds.

The cannabinoid system also promotes homeostasis at every level of biological life. They play a role in the body’s autophagy process, which keeps normal cells alive by recycling their cellular waste. In turn, autophagy promotes homeostasis in the body by killing off malignant tumor cells. Using high cbd strains of cannabis-derived CBD products may be an excellent option for treating many of these ailments.

Cannabinoids act as retrograde synaptic signals. They are lipid-soluble and widely diffuse. Endogenous cannabinoids are released in the brain upon synaptic activation and feedback to presynaptic receptors on axon terminals. After uptake into the postsynaptic compartment, they are inactivated by the enzyme FAAH. Various neurophysiological findings support this model.


In humans, endocannabinoids engage cannabinoid receptors, alter behavior, and partially recapitulate the psychoactive effects of cannabis. The two best-known endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol. They are synthesized from lipid membranes and are released from them through rapid enzymatic processes. Like classical neurotransmitters, endocannabinoids are stored in synaptic vesicles.

Humans produce endocannabinoids naturally, and these chemicals act as a homeostatic regulator. These substances work in conjunction with our brain’s neurotransmitters to control bodily functions. Although their exact functions are unknown, they do act as neuromodulators. Endocannabinoids attach to cannabinoid receptors on cells throughout the body, triggering a response.


Phytocannabinoids are substances in any type of cannabis plant  including hybrid weed strains. These are chemically similar to cannabinoids. Their main difference lies in their structures. A cannabinoid is a compound whose structure is a combination of a fatty acid, an aromatic amino acid, or both. These compounds are incredibly diverse in their biological activities and interactions, and their research is rapidly evolving.

In addition to cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, there are many synthetic versions. These molecules mimic the effects of the plant’s phytocannabinoids by binding to the same receptors. While synthetic versions of cannabinoids aren’t as effective as the plant-derived substances, they are still highly useful in the scientific community and are often produced in large quantities to circumvent legal restrictions.

Cannabinoid Receptors

The main effect of cannabinoids is through interaction with their cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are located on the surface of cells throughout the central nervous system. Two distinct types of cannabinoid receptors have been identified: the CB1 receptor, first discovered in 1990, and the CB2 receptor, identified in 1993. While they share a nearly identical amino acid sequence, the two are dissimilar in their distribution and signaling mechanisms. In particular, cannabinoids act by inhibiting the enzyme adenylate cyclase, which stops the conversion of ATP to cAMP.

CB1 Receptors

The main function of CB1 receptors is to regulate the release of neurotransmitters. GnRH secretion is promoted by glutamate, whereas its inhibition is facilitated by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). CB1R activation inhibits the release of neurotransmitters by suppressing the activities of those neurotransmitters that facilitate secretion, like glutamate. Activated CB1 receptors also inhibit the cAMP/PKA pathway, which is implicated in LTD.

There are several disorders that are impacted by CB1R, such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that CB1Rs contribute to the progression of the disease and the onset of symptoms. Further, studies have shown that CB1R activation can affect the activity of several neurotransmitters and enzymes in the brain.

Studies have found that repeated cannabis use reduces CB1 expression in the brain, but abstaining from cannabis for 48 hours will resensitize the system and bring CB1 protein levels to normal levels in non-cannabis-using individuals. The anti-epileptic effects of cannabinoids have a paradoxical effect on epilepsy in both human and animal models. However, AEA-induced seizure in rats was inhibited by CB1 receptor activation, while FAAH knockout mice were more vulnerable to seizures caused by kainic acid.

CB2 Receptors

Endogenous cannabinoids act on the CB2 receptors, which are found in the immune system, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system. These receptors bind cannabinoids and activate intracellular processes. In addition, cannabinoids activate G-proteins, which bind to the tail of the receptors and release messages when these are activated. This is how cannabinoids affect the immune system.

While the major endocannabinoid system parallels the opioid system, the CB2 system has been shown to play a dominant role in chronic pain resolution. Activation of these receptors may reduce inflammatory nociception and the chronic burden of NSAIDs. Furthermore, by targeting CB2 receptors, drugs can alleviate many side effects associated with conventional pain medications.

The ability to directly interact with cannabinoids is one of the most important ways to study the effects of these ligands. Although cannabinoids do not affect CB1 receptors in humans, they do act on CB2 receptors in the same way. This mechanism allows scientists to link the effects of the cannabinoids on the brain with specific responses in the body.


Studies of cannabinoids on the CB1 and CB2 receptors suggest that cannabinoids can act as antiemetics. Activation of these receptors decreases the activity of adenylate cyclase and reduces the formation of cyclic AMP. The effects of cannabinoids on other enzymes and ion channels have also been reported. These compounds inhibit the flux of voltage-gated calcium into voltage-gated calcium channels. In mice, the effects of leptin on hypothalamic endocannabinoids are less than in Zucker rats. These results suggest that cannabinoids may play a critical role during development.

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