You may be considering treating yourself with CBD for any one of a variety of conditions (insomnia, anxiety, pain, etc.). It’s good to be informed whenever you’re introducing a new substance to your body. Whether a doctor prescribes it or not, do your research. A common question asked in relation to CBD usage is what are cannabinoid receptors? The quick answer is that they are components of the endocannabinoid system, which all humans have. The endocannabinoid system is made up of endogenous cannabinoids, receptors, and also enzymes that all work together to synthesize cannabinoids. This is the process that allows people to feel better with CBD use.

Although more research is needed, the existing data is very promising. CBD appears to be safe and efficacious. Read up on it here, to get a better understanding of CBD benefits.

graphic depicts effects of cbd on cannabinoid receptors - what are cannabinoid receptors

Cannabinoid Receptors in the Body

Two specific kinds of receptors regulate the effects of CBD: CB1 and CB2 G protein-coupled receptors, often abbreviated by the initialism GCPRs. There is still quite a bit that science doesn’t understand, and it seems there may be other receptors involved (new research suggests there are non-CB1 and non-CB2 receptors). Most of what we know pertains to CB1 and CB2 receptors, and one thing seems clear: these protein sequences can have powerful effects on the body.

Where Are the Cannabinoid Receptors Located?

The short answer is they are found just about everywhere in your body. To get more specific about where they are, that depends on the type:

  • CB1 - The reason that CB1 receptors are so impactful is that they are found in high levels within certain pockets of the brain. These are the receptors at play when someone smokes marijuana and feels the psychoactive effects. Remember, CBD has such low quantities of THC that it is almost untraceable and will not get you high. CB1 is also in the lungs, liver, kidney, in addition to the central nervous system.
  • CB2 - CB2 receptors are found in neurons and the various cells of the immune system. These include T cells, B cells, and hematopoietic cells. The key takeaway here is that CB2 receptors are an important part of pain relief.

And what about the aforementioned non-CB1 and non-CB2 receptors? They are found in the endothelial cells.

More About CB1 and CB2

These receptors are made up of protein sequences that are approximately 44% similar. Because they tap into your nervous system, CBD oil can interact with the receptors to influence how you feel. CBD consists of different types of terpenes that can determine the sensations you experience with usage. That means if you suffer from insomnia that you should look for CBD products with Myrcene. If you have pain and/or inflammation, you should look for CBD with Pinene, Limonene, Bisabolol (and others). Learn more about terpenes here. There are so many different options with varying properties.

Do Cats Have Cannabinoid Receptors? Dogs?

Yes. Many living things have cannabinoid receptors, and that includes a large number of mammals. That is why so many people have found it helpful to treat dogs and cats with CBD for pets. It’s a natural alternative for dealing with whatever ails your family dog. If you want to learn more about this topic, we have a helpful pet guide to CBD.