The CB1 receptor is an integral aspect within the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CB1 is one of the two main receptors within the ECS that serve as a binding point for cannabinoids that are either externally consumed or internally produced by the body. CB2 receptors are the other main cannabinoid receptors composing of the ECS and new evidence suggests there may be even more receptors at play . CB1 was first discovered in 1990. It initiates a signaling pathway throughout the ECS that is unique to this type of receptor.
CB1 receptors are members of the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily of the larger cell-surface, heptahelical receptor group . CB1 receptors are most prevalent in the body on the nerve cells connected to the brain and spinal cord but are also found to less extent within certain organs and tissues. THC has a very high binding capacity to CB1 receptors and this relationship between the potent cannabinoid and active cannabinoid receptor is what causes the euphoric feelings and typical “high” associated with cannabis consumption.
In addition to these euphoric effects, CB1 receptors also play a critical role in assisting and regulating such functions as sleep, memory, and appetite. Another primary function of CB1 receptors may be to inhibit neurotransmitter release due to heavy presynaptic localization alongside their ability to impede voltage-dependent channels and adenylyl cyclase . CB1 receptors are also vital to important essential behavioral pathways within the nervous system such as anxiety, analgesia, movement, and sensory learning .
The importance of cannabinoids and their ability to interact and have an effect with the ECS and the many bodily functions this system allows, is directly related to CB1 receptors creating a neurological binding point for cannabinoid interaction. These receptors play a pivotal role to unlocking the potential health and behavioral benefits of cannabinoid consumption fundamental to overall wellbeing.
- Breivogel CS. Et al. Evidence for a new G protein-coupled cannabinoid receptor in mouse brain. Mol Pharmacol 2001; 60: 155–163. Journal Impact Factor = 3.987
- Howlett AC. Et al. Classification of cannabinoid receptors International Union of Pharmacology. XXVII. Pharmacol Rev 2002; 54: 161–202. Journal Impact Factor = 17.099
- Mackie, K. Mechanisms of CB1 receptor signaling: endocannabinoid modulation of synaptic strength. Intl Journal of Obesity 2006; 30: S19-S23. Journal Impact Factor = 5.337
Image Source: (Graphic 1)