CB1 (Cannabinoid-1 Receptor)
CB1 (Cannabinoid-1 Receptor) was proved to be the receptor that was responsible for mediating the effects of THC in cannabis. In the mid-1980’s, research assumed that THC worked its magic by interacting with cell membranes. This research was found to be wrong in 1988 when rats were being used in a study and scientists noted that cannabinoids could bind to their receptors. It wasn’t until 1990 that CB1 was found as the key receptor. CB1 is the biggest and most important receptor of the endocannabinoid system.
It is part of a group of receptors called G protein-coupled receptors. The central nervous system contains the highest expressions of CB1. CB1 is involved in a variety of different things in the human body. It regulates bone mass, metabolism, food intake, learning/memory, and addictions. It is responsible for reducing pain, neuroinflammation/degeneration, and has a bunch of reported cardiovascular effects as well. THC is said to interact with the CB1 receptor and this is when the psychoactive effects are produced.
CB1 receptors are thought of as like a lock waiting for its key. When endogenous and phytocannabinoids come into the body, they find the CB1 receptors and in a way, unlock them. CB1 is present in the part of the brain that influences where you feel rewarded and when THC triggers CB1, you feel a variety of different effects. Because CB1 is also associated with the part of the brain that controls the feeling of pain, THC can mitigate it and act as a pain reliever.
CB1 receptors are also in the part of the brain that controls movement, and this is why a cannabis user can feel sedated after smoking it. Memory is affected due to the CB1 receptors that are located in the hippocampus part of the brain.