CB2 Receptors explained

Published Mar 28, 2019 12:39 p.m. ET

Cannabinoids are found in significant quantities within cannabis plants that contain well over 100 different kinds of this chemical element. The two primary cannabinoids that are most widely known are THC and CBD. Both of which work in combination with the endocannabinoid system to produce the effects that result from consuming marijuana derived products. The endocannabinoid system is a complex communication system that works with the brain to regulate things like stress, mood, body temperature, memory, pain levels, learning, and appetite.

What is a CB2 receptor?

CB2 receptors will primarily work in conjunction with the cannabinoid CBD and are responsible for the body’s natural response to reducing inflammation. Healthy individuals will usually have many CB2 receptors, and those that are diagnosed with a disease or chronic illness most often have much lower concentrations of this receptor.

Where are CB2 receptors located?

CB2 receptors are located throughout the human body, but the highest concentrations of them can be found in the immune system, tonsils, gastrointestinal system, thymus gland, brain, and the spleen.

What is it that CB2 receptors do?

These receptors will bind with cannabinoids and absorb CBD efficiently triggering a release of chemicals in the user’s brain which helps to control things like inflammation, mood stability, and pain without causing any kind of psychoactive effects.

How do CB2 receptors provide the therapeutic benefits for certain medical conditions?

Once CBD interacts with the CB2 receptors in a person’s body, it will provide therapeutic effects that can help to alleviate conditions that are aggravated by inflammation including symptoms attributed to ALS, Alzheimer's, and multiple sclerosis. They also trigger a release of chemicals like dopamine within the portion of the brain that registers both rewards and addictions which have shown to be beneficial as a therapy for those trying to break an addiction to cocaine, heroin, and other mind-altering drugs like opioids.

Can CB2 receptors cause negative effects?

CB2 receptors are designed by the human body for the sole purpose of doing good and keeping a smooth functioning system. On their own, they will never be responsible for any sort of adverse effects from consuming THC or CBD. However, research has shown that a lack of CB2 receptors is often found in people who suffer from mental illness, disease, and other health problems. A lack of these particular receptors among individuals who are in a position where situations that are stressful, painful, or any other emotional triggering type event are incredibly difficult to self-regulate through. This is because the body has a difficult time managing the chemical levels on its own and is only a result of too few CB2 receptors, not caused by them. The other possible issue that too few receptors could create is a difficult time achieving therapeutic effects from using CBD alone.

The Entourage Effect

Researchers believe that CB2 is responsible for what is called the entourage effect. For those who don’t know what that means, the entourage effect is when all the cannabinoids and a cannabis plant are evenly utilized in a way that provides comfort and relief in a non-psychoactive way once it is consumed. This allows the person to gain benefits like increased pain relief from THC without the euphoric effect. So far studies that have sought to find a way to turn on CB2 receptors consistently have not gone well, but this doesn’t mean that the theory isn’t possible. Only that it has yet to be proven.

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