Contrary to popular belief, CBD does has no particular binding affinity to the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. Instead, CBD interacts with several different receptors to exert its effects, which include:
- Serotonin receptors (5HT1a) – Binding the 5HT1a receptor is thought to be the mechanism in which CBD reduces anxiety. CBDA also binds the serotonin receptor, which is thought to be the mechanism in which CBDA reduces nausea.
- Vanilloid receptors – interaction with these receptors reduces pain perception and inflammation
- PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activated receptors) – Activation of the PPAR-gamma receptor has an anti-proliferative effect as well as an ability to induce tumor regression in lung cancer. PPAR-gamma activation also degrades beta-amyloid plaques, a key molecule linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
- As a negative allosteric modulator – CBD does affect THC’s interaction with the CB1 receptor: While CBD does not bind the CB1 or CB2 receptor at their respective active sites, it does bind elswhere on the enzyme(s), which then, in this case, as a Negative-allosteric modulater, reduces the effects THC exerts when it does bind the CB1 receptor, and thus can reduce psychoactivity.