Big Bang Receptors!
Due to the Endocannabinoid System’s part in restoring balance when illness or injury occurs, the endocannabinoid system plays a critical role in the regulation of disease. Modulating the Endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans, including obesity/metabolic syndrome, diabetes and diabetic complication, neurodegenerative, inflammatory, cardiovascular liver, gastrointestinal skin diseases, pain, psychiatric disorders, cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and vomiting, among many others. The importance of this system to our survival and well-being cannot be overstated. The current understanding of this system is that it consists of CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
- Cannabinoid-1 (CB-1) receptor
- Cannabinoid-2 (CB-2) receptor
Because CB1 Receptor is found throughout the brain and central nervous system, in the basal ganglia and limbic system, including the hippocampus and cerebellum, it has an influence on both excitatory and inhibitory neuronal circuits that regulate movement, memory, learning cognition, neuroendocrine output, appetite, nausea, the regulation of body temperature, pain, and immune system modulation. This broad ability to regulate synaptic neurotransmission means that stimulating CB1 Receptor has great potential in treating a wide range of conditions.
CB2 receptors are mainly found in the immune system (in lymphocytes, macrophages, ND, and microglial cells), but also found in the cerebral cortex in the orbital, visual, motor, and auditory areas as well as in the hippocamp-us, the corpus callosum, cerebellum, brain stem, and pineal gland. Given their global status throughout the body, CB2 receptors can modify brain function and immune function. CB2 receptors are also found in the entire nervous system, which modulates gastrointestinal contractility.
What’s the difference?
If both receptors are so prolific in the body what is the difference between the two? CB1 is mostly expressed in the brain, adipocytes (fat cells), hepatocytes (liver cells), and musculoskeletal tissues. CB2 is expressed in body cells controlling immune function and (potentially) the central nervous system (CNS). For the layperson, CB1 is predominately in the brain and CB2 is predominately in the body. Additionally, cannabinoids will attach or influence these receptors differently to achieve homeostasis. For example, the cannabinoid THC has the ability to attach to CB1 and CB2. The cannabinoid CBD has a very low binding affinity with CB1 and CB2 receptors. That is not to say THC is more effective than CBD. Research indicates that the influence of CBD on ECS receptors has far more medical benefits than THC alone. The lesson here is not to confuse binding with interaction and activating.