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What are Cannabinoids?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Richard Harris, M.D., Pharm.D., MBA

With the rising popularity of products like CBD and medical marijuana, cannabinoids are probably something that you’ve heard about recently. But you may be wondering, what exactly are cannabinoids? This active compound is found in cannabis, hemp, and even inside the body.

Cannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors within the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabinoid receptors and Cannabinoids work like a lock and key. The powerful benefits of products like CBD lie in the science of cannabinoids and how they work within the body after the lock and key come together. Although a popular product these days, many people are unaware of the complexity behind the endocannabinoid system and the physiology of how cannabinoids work.

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What are the different types of cannabinoids?

According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, a cannabis plant could produce anywhere from 80 to 100 different types of cannabinoids. Regardless of there being so many different types of cannabinoids, chances are, there are two that you have heard of before — the most well-known being, cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CBD and THC differ in their structures and function, but they can also work together inside the body to balance each other out. THC is the chemical that causes a “high” sensation for people who use marijuana. CBD is actually thought to have the opposite effect as THC and actually can make the psychoactive effects from marijuana feel more mild.

What do cannabinoids do for the human body?

The human body contains an endocannabinoid system that is responsible for interacting with cannabinoids within the body. Some cannabinoids naturally occur within the body and others are introduced by ingesting CBD products and medical marijuana. There are two main cannabinoid receptors in the body: CB1 and CB2.

These cannabinoid receptors affect different parts of the body including the brain, immune cells, and peripheral nerves. The cannabinoids found in CBD act to block the CB1 receptor, which prevents overactivity in the brain. By balancing out overactivity in the brain and preventing rapid firing of neurotransmitters, this blocking action can help calm the mind and regulate mood.

CBD also acts as a weak antagonist on the CB2 receptor. The effects of the CB2 receptor are thought to be responsible for modulation and regulation of healthy inflammatory response levels and some modulation of specific pain signaling pathways as well. Cannabinoids and their effect on specialized receptors in the body are what make CBD such a powerful product. CBD literally works within the brain to help balance,regulate and support optimal bodily functions.

Where are cannabinoids found?

Commonly found and extracted from plants, cannabinoids are found most abundantly in the cannabis plants which includes hemp and marijuana plants. Hemp is used to produce CBD products. Although hemp and marijuana plants are both considered cannabis, they vary from one another in compounds and benefits. Marijuana has a higher concentration of THC while hemp has a higher concentration of CBD.

Cannabinoids are also naturally found within the body. These compounds within the body are greatly diverse, but two of the most well-known naturally occurring cannabinoids are 2-AG and anandamide. The body’s natural cannabinoids are found within the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is located in the brain, nerves, immune cells and many other organs and affects many important functions of the body.

How CBD utilizes cannabinoids within the body

What’s amazing about CBD is that it helps our body further utilize the natural cannabinoids that are already present inside the body. This helps ensure proper functioning of multiple systems within the body including the muscular system, immune system, circulatory system, and nervous system.

Many people don’t realize the pharmacological properties that exist in CBD. This is what makes CBD such a valuable, holistic tool. There are two main ways that CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system:

  1. It binds to the enzymes that break down cannabinoids
  2. It binds to the fatty acids that carry cannabinoid molecules

Through these two processes, CBD allows the body to have more abundant, free cannabinoids to benefit from. CBD stops the body’s natural supply of cannabinoids from being depleted, and even creates more free flowing natural cannabinoids for the body to benefit from. Overall, CBD allows our body to fully benefit from its natural supply of cannabinoids.

Some evidence has shown that CBD binds to other receptors in the body, such as the 5ht1a receptor. According to the National Institutes of Health, the 5ht1a receptor is closely linked to mood (especially happiness), and your ability to maintain a daily state of focus, mental clarity and calmness. This is why you might see CBD being used for support by people who need to ensure they have the ability to focus clearly for work or personal activities every day.

CBD has also been found to act on capsaicin and TRPV1 receptors which are responsible for pain signal modulation. This function along with CBD’s ability to support normal health inflammatory response can help provide a natural, holistic option for some people who may experience temporary or occasional aches and pains, such as after a workout, or strenuous activity.

How can CBD benefit you?

The use of CBD is definitely becoming commonplace in our society, and for good reason. Many CBD users have reported benefits from this powerful plant extract including a balanced mood, improved sleep quality, regulated pain signaling, and supporting health bodily functions. Recent studies have even shown cannabinoids improve the body’s natural microbiome by benefitting, what we like to call, “the good bacteria.”

Our bodies are constantly under some form of stress whether that be imbalance caused by day-to-day stressors or even changing environments. This can make it difficult for the body to maintain balance across all systems (including the endocannabinoid system). By using products like CBD to balance the ECS, we are furthering our bodies resistance to these daily stressors. In layman’s terms, CBD products basically give your body the support it needs to function optimally.

Overall, CBD oil has a lot of diverse benefits and functions. One of the main reasons it functions so well within the body is because of cannabinoids. CBD works in harmony with your body’s naturally-occurring cannabinoids to produce a balanced, positive impact that can be felt across multiple body systems including relaxing effects, relief of temporary aches and pain, and immune system support.

Every day, new studies are coming out about the benefits of CBD. The research is promising and exciting, and we believe that this is only the beginning.

CBD Health Collection prides itself on producing the finest quality products in the industry. We invite you to shop all CBD products here.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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