CB1 Receptors explained

Published Mar 28, 2019 11:30 a.m. ET

Every time you ingest cannabis products of any kind,it is processed through your body and absorbed by the endocannabinoid system. This circuitry is located throughout the human body including in the brain, spleen, liver, gastrointestinal system, kidney, immune system, lungs, and the central nervous system. Their purpose is to interact with cannabinoids like THC or CBD to create the effects that we feel after we consume them, or our bodies naturally make them. Here we will focus specifically on human CB1 receptors and how they work in combination with cannabinoids to make us feel good.

What is a CB1 Receptor?

CB1 receptors are just one of two primary kinds of CB receptors that are found within our endocannabinoid system. Their job is to process the THC that we consume as it contains a molecular structure similar to the cannabinoids our bodies produce naturally.

Where are CB1 Receptors located?

CB1 receptors can be found almost anywhere in the human body, but the majority of them are located within our brain, central nervous system, kidney, lungs, and liver.

What do CB1 Receptors do?

CB1 receptors in our endocannabinoids systems will interact with cannabinoids which triggers a release in chemicals like dopamine that can help to control both pain and nausea symptoms.

How do CB1 Receptors work?

After marijuana products has been consumed the THC will enter the user’s cannabinoid system one of two ways. Either orally which means through edibles, tinctures, or oils that are taken through the mouth and ingested through the stomach, or directly into the person’s lungs. It takes only minutes for THC to interact with CB1 receptors in the lungs since there is a high presence of them there. However, the stomach is a different story with a much longer distance to travel. Since the CB1 receptors are located mostly in certain areas of the body, the THC must make it that far to be felt which can take up to two hours from the initial ingestion. Once the THC makes it to the CB1 receptors, it binds itself to the fatty cells and sends a message to the user’s brain to release chemicals that help to control various things including mood, pain levels, and inflammation.

How Do CB1 Receptors help health conditions?

CB1 receptors have the sole purpose of regulating the bodily functions that help to control and alleviate many different symptoms. Once the THC binds to the receptors an instantaneous connection to the brain is made which triggers the FAAH to check our bodily functions to see what is needed. This results in a release of naturally occurring chemicals that can help to treat things like:

  • Chronic pain
  • Epilepsy
  • IBS
  • Crohn's
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Seizures
  • Irregular Moods
  • Insomnia

Can CB1 receptors cause negative effects?

The number of CB1 receptors a person has in their body can dramatically change how cannabis will affect them. Those who have too few CB1 receptors can have trouble regulating mood and will often display a much higher tolerance to the cannabinoid THC. People with too many CB1 receptors will have the opposite effect, often showing a sort of hypersensitivity to the cannabinoid sometimes resulting in overwhelming feelings and sensations when consuming cannabis. Other times it’s more minor effects like an increase in stereotypical effects or the munchies

Normally, our bodies will contain an evenly distributed number of both CB1 and CB2 receptors which helps to keep us feeling great with naturally occurring chemicals in the brain. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case with many different genetic variations; it is believed that CB receptors are often the main reason that some people do not enjoy the effects that marijuana can provide. Though anyone who has either less or more receptors may have a slightly more difficult time finding the proper dosage, the results can almost always be controlled or eliminated altogetherby using a high producing CBD cannabis strain which will work in conjunction with CB2 receptors to soften the adversefeelings.  

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