Why Does The Human Body Have Cannabinoid Receptors?

Why Do We Have Cannabinoid Receptors

Cannabis has played a pivotal role in the development of human life for over 10,000 years. In fact, the first documented use of cannabis dates back to 2800 BC. So doesn't it just make sense that humans contain cannabinoid receptors throughout the body?

Key Takeaways

  • The body naturally produces endocannabinoids, lipid-based neurotransmitters that send signals across the body
  • Endocannabinoids then bind to the body's cannabinoid receptors which kickstart the endocannabinoid system
  • Endocannabinoids act as the body's own version of THC and help to regulate a variety of bodily functions
  • This intrinsic link between the body and compounds found in cannabis reveals the plant's potential therapeutic properties

This intrinsic link between the body and cannabis has both baffled and intrigued scientists and the general population for years. But understanding how these chemical compounds interact with the body makes this link all the more kismet.

Below, we'll break down why humans have cannabinoid receptors, what the body already does to mimic the compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants, and how you can leverage CBD and THC to work best for you and your body.

See Related: How Does The Entourage Effect Make You Feel?

Why Do We Have Cannabinoid Receptors?

Brain development

When describing the role of cannabinoid receptors in the human body, people tend to get confused. After all, if we possess cannabinoid receptors, it begs the question of whether the human body was designed specifically to engage with the cannabis plant.

But let's put that myth to rest. Instead, we contain cannabinoid receptors because the human body naturally creates its own version of cannabis compounds known as endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids vs. Cannabinoids

Endocannabinoids actually have a similar molecular structure to the compounds found in cannabis plants. And they play a crucial role in the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS).

In essence, endocannabinoids act like tiny cannabis-like molecules in our brains. And the compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant simply allow us to hijack this cell-signaling system.

Funny enough, these neurotransmitters act as the body's own version of THC, the cannabis compound known for its psychoactive effects. But this has to do more with such chemical compounds interacting with the body's ECS.

As one of the largest neurotransmitter networks in the human body, the ECS is integral for communicating messages across different nerve cells and brain cells. From learning and memory to emotional processing, sleep, temperature control, pain relief, and inflammatory responses, our ECS plays a key role in our nervous system, our immune system, and our overall human health.

Bonus: 9 Best CBD Strains That May Help Ease Anxiety

What Does The Endocannabinoid System Do?

Process called

At its core, the endocannabinoid system acts as a homeostatic regulator. But don't get too intimidated by that big, fancy word.

All this means is that the ECS helps to maintain optimal balance within the body. In fact, research suggests that the ECS is in charge of regulating:

  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Growth
  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Cognition
  • Pleasure
  • Pain
  • Visceral Sensation
  • Movement
  • Immune function

Some studies have indicated that the ECS may contain multiple promising therapeutic targets. For example, a 2016 study found that CBD, one of the most popular plant cannabinoids found in cannabis, may affect joint inflammation, offering potential beneficial effects.

And additional research indicated that cannabinoids may offer potential health benefits associated with multiple sclerosis, sleep disturbances, and the nausea and vomiting that accompanies chemotherapy treatment.

All of this is to say that the ECS is an integral system that affects so much of our physical health. So let's break down this system and its multiple functions.


Blood levels

As we said earlier, the body produces endocannabinoids naturally. And they act as lipid-based neurotransmitters which send signals between nerve cells throughout the body.

Endocannabinoids, on their own, assist with a variety of bodily functions. And the body creates these neurotransmitters as needed to maintain adequate endocannabinoid levels.

There are two main endocannabinoids that scientists have managed to identify so far:

  1. Anandamide (AEA)
  2. 2-archidonoyl glyerol (2-AG)

These neurotransmitters then attach to cannabinoid receptors which exist on the surface of cells throughout the body, kickstarting the ECS.

Endocannabinoid Receptors

There are two primary cannabinoid receptors present throughout the body. These include CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.

CB1 cannabinoid receptors are typically present in the central nervous system with receptors in the brain and along the spinal cord.

CB2 cannabinoid receptors are mainly present in the peripheral nervous system and in the cells of the immune system. Some scientists believe that there may be a third cannabinoid receptor, but research has not been conclusive thus far.

Once cannabinoids attach to their receptor, they may cause different results depending on the location of said receptors in the body. For example, when CB1 receptors are targeted, they may be able to relieve pain in the spinal cord.

On the other hand, when CB2 receptors are targeted, they may send signals to the brain that the body is experiencing inflammation within an immune cell.


Brain receptor brain

Lastly, there are metabolic enzymes within the body's endocannabinoid system that break down endocannabinoids after they have carried out their responses. The two main enzymes involved include:

  1. Fatty acid amide hydrolase (which breaks down AEA)
  2. Monoacylglycerol acid lipase (which breaks down 2-AG)

These enzymes play an integral role in regulating endocannabinoid levels across the body.

Final Thoughts

So, why do we have cannabinoid receptors? Because our body is made up of complex cell-signaling systems, all of which are meant to enhance our overall health and bodily function.

The similarities between cannabinoids and how the body naturally produces related neurotransmitters alike are not lost on us or scientists, for that matter. In fact, this intrinsic link between the body and the cannabis plant seems too significant for us to ignore.

That's why, at Clean Remedies, we have dedicated ourselves to producing the best-quality CBD and THC products on the market, all of which are aimed at enhancing your overall health and wellness.

From gummies to tinctures and oils, topical rubs to drink mocktails, our products all have your best interests in mind. And we don't skimp on the safety and efficacy of our products either.

Instead, each batch we produce is third-party lab tested to ensure you're getting the most out of each product you purchase. So, if you really want to take advantage of this kismet link between the body and the cannabis plant, then choose Clean Remedies products to help you maximize said benefits for a happier, healthier life. 

Keep Reading: Why Is July National Hemp Month?


Clean Remedies is a woman-owned, independent family business that uses USDA Certified Organic Hemp Extract to create products that are free from harmful chemicals, cruelty-free, and made in the USA, meant to benefit your well being and meet our own high standards of efficacy. For CBD facts, product discounts, and more, follow us on InstagramFacebookYouTubeLinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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