Today we are talking about the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoids like CBD. As a pet owner, you might have heard these words floating around in pet parent society and maybe you didn’t quite understand what they meant. Perhaps you already knew that each and every cat, dog and horse has a special system created to maintain a healthy balance inside the body, known as the endocannabinoid system, but are a bit foggy on how it works. We are breaking down just what the endocannabinoid system is and how cannabinoids like CBD play a big part in keeping our pets living happy, healthy lives.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
Endocannabinoid is a big word for an anatomical system with an even bigger job in the body. You are already familiar with other communicating systems in the body, such as the circulatory, respiratory, nervous and digestive systems to name a few. It’s easy for us to identify the value of keeping our furry companion’s other anatomical systems in check, but what is it about the endocannabinoid system that can cause an imbalance of all the other systems in the body?
The endocannabinoid system is a major signaling network that is constantly receiving information from outside and inside the body. In other words, whatever your pet is experiencing or feeling in his environment is going to be processed by the endocannabinoid system. For example, if your horse suddenly becomes frightened or feels a great deal of stress, this specialized system is going to relay that information to the brain to decide what the reaction should be. The same goes for changes inside the body, such being affected by illness or chronic pain, this information is going to be sent to your pet’s powerhouse of information where the reaction will be decided.
The system we share with our beloved feline, canine and equine companions, is constantly working hard to maintain stability within the body. The most common systems within your pet’s body that the endocannabinoid system is tasked with regulating include:
- The immune system’s response
- Coordination & Movement
- Sensations or feeling
How the Endocannabinoid System Works
To answer this question, we look to the microscopic world of neurotransmitters and receptors. A neurotransmitter is a type of molecule created to trigger a signal in a connecting neuron, finding its way to other cells in the body. Found on the cell’s surface, this act of signaling molecules and receptors is the brain’s way of getting messages sent out to other areas of the body with instructions on how to behave.
The same type of signaling triggers work in correspondence with the endocannabinoid system. At any point in time in which your pet’s functions get unbalanced, a message is sent to the endocannabinoid system telling the body to release specialized enzymes designed to produce endocannabinoids. Anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, the major endocannabinoids, bind the cannabinoid receptors found on cells throughout the body or in the brain. This binding process is like flipping the on switch to the cannabinoid receptors, as they begin to control passage of cellular proteins, delivering messages to the nerve cells on what adjustments need to be made to return back to homeostasis.
Your Furry Companion’s Cannabinoid Receptors
How your four-legged friend thinks, feels and functions all rely on the help from cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids are like a key to an Endocannabinoid lock, they were made to bind together, unlocking the biochemical communication within the body.
Although the types of cannabinoid receptors located on the cell’s surface in the endocannabinoid system are numerous, the two primary cannabinoids we are talking about are CB1 and CB2.
In our pets, the CB1 receptors are found on the vascular system, gastrointestinal tract, muscles, lungs, spinal cord, and brain. CB1 receptors contribute to the hypothalamus located in the brain used to regulate appetite and also impacts the brain’s amygdala, responsible for your pet’s stress levels, anxiety, plus memory. On the spinal cord, CB1 impacts nerve receptors responsible for pain and feeling.
The CB2 receptors, on the other hand, can be found in the peripheral nervous system, the spleen, skin, and bones. These CB2 receptors are found within the immune cell and aid in the reduction of inflammation, meaning they work to heal disease.
Supporting Your Pet’s Endocannabinoid System with CBD
The last time your furry friend received a heaping share of cannabinoids was probably shortly after birth. After that short period of time, your pet has been relying on its own body’s ability to replenish and restore CBD levels. Fortunately, pet health professionals have made an amazing discovery… some plants have cannabinoids that actually share the same molecular structure to our pet’s endocannabinoids. This means, you can give your pet a plant-derived cannabinoid and the body would not know the difference.
Given to your cat, dog or horse, the plant CBD would be absorbed through the bloodstream, naturally stimulating the endocannabinoid system and in turn aiding the health enriched effects of receptor stimulation. Supplementing CBDs can also increase the levels your pet has in the tank, meaning there will be an increase of cannabinoid receptors. This means the endocannabinoid system will be more sensitive to stimulation and now possesses the ability to reach homeostasis much faster than it would with lower levels.
Incorporate CBD to Your Pet’s Health Routine
More and more pet owners are discovering the power of CBD supplementation in there felines, canine and horses. Plant-derived cannabinoids are 100% natural, non-toxic and non-psychoactive, meaning that your pet will not feel a “drugged” effect like some medications seem to cause. Plants like hemp is just one of the 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, safe and natural, well tolerated in all three species of pets.