Cannabinoids are variety of chemical compounds that bind to special receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This process is widely recognized as the “key and lock” process because the human body has specific binding sites (“locks”) on the surface of many cell types and the body produces endocannabinoids (“keys”) which bind to these cannabinoid receptors to activate or “unlock” them.
An Endogenous Cannabinoid System (ECS) is commonly referred to as the endocannabinoid system which is found in every animal and regulates a broad range of biological functions and works as a biochemical control system of neuromodulatory lipids. Neuromodulatory lipids are molecules that include fats, waxes, sterols, and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, K, and a variety of others. Specialized receptors and compounds interact like a key and lock where specialized receptors will only accept specific classes of compounds and will be unaffected by other compounds. Specialized receptors are located throughout the entire body and can be found in the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, the cerebellum, putamen, hypothalamus, amygdala, and more. When a specific cannabinoid or combination of cannabinoids bind to a specialized receptor an event is triggered within a cell which results in a change of cell’s activity. This change of activity causes the gene regulation and/or the signals that it sends to neighboring cells, this process is called “signal transduction.”