Cannabinoids and Receptors
The endocannabinoid system is comprised of receptors, which are found throughout cells in the body, and chemicals known as cannabinoids that stimulate them. The human body naturally produces cannabinoids to bind to these receptors, which researchers have classified into two groups: CB1 receptors, found in the nervous system, organs, glands, and connective tissue, and CB2 receptors, which occur in the immune system. The cannabinoids produced internally by the body are known as endocannabinoids.
Cannabinoids bind to CB1 and CB2 receptor sites to help cells maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis is the maintenance of a stable internal environment, even if external environmental factors change. Disease, for example, is essentially a result of the body’s inability to achieve homeostasis. Cannabinoids also foster communication and coordination between different types of cells where bodily systems intersect, such as the immune and nervous systems.