Cannabinoid Receptors – CB1 & CB2

Cannabinoid Receptors – CB1 & CB2

Cell receptors are how our cells communication with one another and how they respond to their environment. Cell surface receptors are embedded in the cell membrane and react to specific signaling chemicals that then tell the cell what to do. Most often, the message is to do something inside the cell. And this is what CB1 and CB2 do. They respond to cannabinoids whether the original type made by our bodies or by the external type, made by the cannabis plant.

But one thing to remember about receptors, they are not like doors. They are not static. Not all cells make every kind of receptor, some specialize. Your cells can make more or fewer receptors depending on what their environment is, whether other signals tell the cell it needs more of this receptor or less of that one. And that is the case with CB1 and CB2.

At first, researchers thought CB1 was more or less limited to the brain and nervous system and CB2 was limited to peripheral and immunological cells. Neither is true. Although there may be higher concentrations of a particular CB receptor in a cell type, newer research is finding them virtually everywhere. And given their fundamental aspect to cell mechanisms it seems likely that virtually very cell type is capable of producing both CB1 and CB2. And cells can produce more receptors as needed. We just don’t understand the how or why yet.

So what does this mean? It just means we still have a lot to learn and if someone tells you they definitively know how CBD works and starts making claims about you need this or need that to make it work, it really just means, to put it politely, that they don’t know what they are talking about at best.

While CB1 and CB2 and CBD are always the same in everyone, they work the same way in everybody, like a clock, the fact that different people may have different total numbers of receptors means that everyone will respond differently. The only way to know how it works for you is to try it. Some find immediate pain relief, others need multiple applications over days. This is why some may have different results and why some may have different results over time. If you use CBD for a while, you can stimulate the production of more CB1 and CB2 receptors and so you’ll find even better results over time.

And the delivery mechanism also can affect the results. If the issue is surface related like a sore joint or muscle, then CBD can be applied directly to the source of pain. CBD will penetrate the skin and provide direct relief. This has the benefit of delivering the CBD undiluted, directly to where it is needed and providing faster relief and inflammation reduction. You can also find relief orally with tinctures or edibles, but two factors impact its effectiveness. First, whatever amount you take is effectively diluted by your body weight as the CBD must travel throughout your body to arrive at the affected site. Second, only about 6-10% of the CBD you ingest is absorbed so if you take 30 mg of CBD, you only absorb 3 mg at best, and this is then diluted by your weight.

Although if you have a systemic issue, this may be the only effective route.