Like endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids act in the body by binding to cannabinoid receptors. Receptors are the mechanism through which cells in the body receive and process information, which is then translated into a biological response. After binding to cannabinoid receptors, phytocannabinoids can act in different ways to produce different effects, some of which may be therapeutic 1,2.
The most well-known cannabinoid receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, are located on different types of cells in different areas of the body. Importantly, phytocannabinoids have been shown to have potentially beneficial actions at other receptor types.
1 Ligresti, De Petrocelis & Di Marzo (2016). From Phytocannabinoids to Cannabinoid Receptors and Endocannabinoids: Pleiotropic Physiological and Pathological Roles Through Complex Pharmacology. Physiol Rev. 96: 1593-1659.
2 Di Marzo (2018). New Approaches and Challenges to Targeting the Endocannabinoid System. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 17(9):623–639.