What Are Cannabinoid Receptors?

We’ve written a lot about cannabinoids, but only briefly touched on the cell membrane receptors that we all (pets and people alike) have in our bodies: cannabinoid receptors. These important receivers naturally bind to cannabinoids and aid in many functions in the human body.

Receptors are located throughout the body and are part of the larger Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system is responsible for many bodily functions and physiological processes, like appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.

Cannabinoid receptors can be activated by endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced internally by the body) and plant cannabinoids (CBD, THC, etc., found in cannabis). This is why cannabinoids like THC have been prescribed in places where medical marijuana is legal, to enhance appetite in those who need it, hamper nausea in sick patients, or to alleviate pain in people with multiple sclerosis.

Even if you don’t use cannabis, the ECS exists in your body and is active all the time, making it a vital system to understand. To understand it even more in-depth, here’s a study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences that tells you all about the chemical/physiological workings of cannabinoid receptors.

There are three main components to the ECS:


Endocannabinoids are molecules made by your body, highly similar in structure and function to cannabinoids, that help keep your internal functions running smoothly. Two key cannabinoids have been discovered since the ECS was discovered in the 1990s: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Your body produces these as needed.

Endocannabinoid Receptors

These are the interesting ones. Receptors are found throughout your body – endocannabinoids bind to them, signaling to the greater ECS that it needs to take prompt action. There are two main receptors: CB1 in the central nervous system and CB2 in the peripheral nervous system, especially in immune cells. The effect of binding depends on what’s going on with your body. If you’re feeling back pain, endocannabinoids might bind to CB1 receptors to help relieve said pain. If you’re experiencing inflammation or fighting an autoimmune disorder, CB2 receptors might bind with endocannabinoids to help fight back.


Enzymes simply break down the endocannabinoids once they’re finished doing their job. That’s as far as we’ll go with these guys. They’re fatty acids that break down the two different kinds of endocannabinoids, AEA and 2-AG.

The Point

Cannabinoid receptors respond to endocannabinoids (made in the body) and phytocannabinoids (made by the cannabis plant) in a similar fashion, making it all the more interesting to see the potential applications of ingesting phytocannabinoids like CBD and CBG. Knowing this potential, CBD oil and other cannabinoids provide bountiful opportunities to benefit your healthy lifestyle in many ways and we’re here to give you the chance to experience it. Ready to check out our cannabinoid products? Explore the range now.