Endocannabinoid System in Pets
Humans have gone millennia without knowing our own bodies contained an endocannabinoid system, also known as ECS. The naturally occurring endocannabinoids in our bodies went undiscovered until the 1990s. Since then, research into the ECS has skyrocketed. Much has been learned from this fascinating research into the benefits of the ECS and how CBD can bolster its effects.
Despite all this progressive research, there is very little media coverage, resulting in low public knowledge of the endocannabinoid system. Most people don’t realize they have all these chemicals and receptors in their bodies, let alone in their pets’ bodies. That’s right; your furry friend has an ECS just like you. In order to understand exactly how your pet’s ECS works, let’s start with discovering how your ECS works.
Endocannabinoid vs. Cannabinoid
Cannabinoids can be any of the many naturally occurring chemicals found in certain strains of hemp plants, including CBD. Endocannabinoids, on the other hand, are cannabinoids made by your body. It’s important to note that your body naturally produces these endocannabinoids regardless of whether cannabis has been consumed. This is a natural process that occurs in your body every day.
Endocannabinoid is short for endogenous (meaning, made internally) cannabinoid. The reason being for this long name is because the cannabinoids in plants were discovered before the cannabinoid receptors within our bodies were ever known to have existed.
Endocannabinoids Further Explained
Your body produces two types of endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Scientists, William Devane and Lumír Hanušdoes, discovered anandamide in the 1990s. The name anandamide coagmes from the Sanskrit word, ananda, meaning bliss or happiness. Your body does not store these molecules as it does for the many other chemicals. Instead, your body produces these chemicals when and where your body needs it. The endocannabinoids relay a message which is received by endocannabinoid receptors.
Your body is full of endocannabinoid receptors. These receptors are located in many areas of the body, meaning they all do a different job. However, these receptors can’t do anything without an endocannabinoid. Think of the endocannabinoid as a messenger pigeon and the receptor as the message receiver. That pigeon has a message, and it has been diligently trained to bring that message to only one person. Once the receptor has received its message, it can proceed to make cellular changes specific to that area of the body.
Breaking Down The Endocannabinoids
As mentioned, endocannabinoids are not stored, so they don’t stick around for the long haul. In fact, they don’t stick around long at all. Once the endocannabinoid has served its purpose, enzymes break down the endocannabinoid. There are two enzymes responsible for this, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which breaks down anandamide, and monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which breaks down 2-AG. This process is so quick that it is nearly impossible to know how many endocannabinoids are active in a person’s body at any given time.
How Does The ECS Work For My Pet?
All animals except for insects have an endocannabinoid system; this includes your cats and dogs. Everything you have just read about your own ECS can be applied directly to your pet. So, now that you have this information, how can you use it to improve the well-being and comfort of your furry friend?
Introducing CBD To Your Pet’s ECS
CBD is a cannabinoid found in several hemp plants. When introduced to the ECS, CBD acts similarly to endocannabinoids but chooses to play by its own rules. Rather than connect directly to a receptor, CBD is transferred by fatty acid-binding proteins directly into cells. From these cells, CBD can then modulate receptors, much like a captain taking charge of a ship.
You may find yourself scratching your head and asking, how is this helpful to my pet? As mentioned earlier, endocannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body and have different functions depending on their location. Read on to discover the many forms in which CBD (often administered as an oil) can enhance your pet’s life.
CBD and Serotonin Receptors
Serotonin is a chemical and a neurotransmitter found in animals and is commonly known as the happy chemical. This fun name is due to the widely-known fact that serotonin affects one’s happiness and well-being. While this is true, serotonin also affects your pet’s sleep, appetite, digestion, and memory function. Drugs that are intended to alter serotonin levels treat depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.
When CBD binds to your pet’s serotonin receptors (5-HT1A), it can activate and enhance serotonin production. Higher levels of serotonin can help calm anxious animals, uplift depressed pets, or improve the well-being of any furry companion in your life.
CBD and Pain
You and your pets both have vanilloid receptors in your body. These receptors are connected to the nervous system and are responsible for the sensation and regulation of pain signals. CBD has the same effect as a dimmer on a light switch when it interacts with these receptors. Administering CBD oil to your pet will cause these receptors to be less active. These health benefits can improve the living quality and mobility of animals with arthritis, inflammation, and general aches and pains.
CBD and Cell Reproduction
Your pet has receptors in their body known as peroxisome proliferator-activated gamma receptors (PPAR). Numerous studies have shown that these receptors, when activated, can help prevent the spread of certain cancer cells. When CBD enters your pet’s body, it will activate and assist these PPARs, which can target the harmful cells in your pet.
Like flicking off a light switch, CBD is also capable of deactivating GPR55 receptors. These particular receptors are located in the brain and are responsible for assisting blood pressure, bone density, and cell reproduction. While it may sound like this is not a receptor you want to be deactivated, this is a misconception. The overproduction of the GPR55 can lead to osteoporosis and the spread of cancer cells.
CBD Can Extend The Life Of Endocannabinoids
Endocannabinoids have a very brief life. They are created to deliver their message and then to be promptly destroyed by enzymes. CBD can extend the life of your pet’s endocannabinoids by blocking FAAH, the enzyme that dissolves the endocannabinoid, anandamide. This means your pet’s naturally occurring endocannabinoids can stick around to improve your pet’s quality of life for even longer.
It is interesting to note that 20% of humans carry a genetic defect, which inhibits the creation of FAAH in their system. Studies show that these people are generally less anxious than the rest of the population
Negative Side Effects Of CBD
CBD actually only has a couple of possible side effects, none of which will alter the well-being of your furry friend. CBD oil can make your animal more thirsty, slightly change their appetite, diarrhea, or make them a little bit sleepy. Luckily, if your companion is showing any of these signs then you can remedy this by simply lowering their dosage or discontinue use. If it’s to an excessive degree contact your veterinarian. Always check with your veterinarian before started your pet on CBD. CBD should not be confused with THC. Full Spectrum CBD oil contains less than .3% of THC, which is nowhere near enough to produce psychoactive effects. If you are more comfortable not having THC, Broad Spectrum Oils offer all the same benefits as Full Spectrum but the THC has been removed.
A Final Note
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has led to a plethora of new holistic alternatives to prescription drugs, offering all of the potential benefits without any of the adverse side effects. CBD oil has been so effective in humans that more and more people are turning towards applying the same health benefits to their furry companions. Improve the well-being of your pet by turning to CBD oil today.
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