Understanding Your Pet’s Endocannabinoid System

Understanding Your Pet’s Endocannabinoid System

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The Endocannabinoid System

If you have researched CBD and hemp products for your pet, you have likely come across mentions of “the endocannabinoid system.” Here are some basics to help you understand this important but complex terminology. 

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is believed to be the largest receptor system in mammals. 
The ECS plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis throughout the body and is thought to regulate functions such as sleep, appetite, and mood. When you ingest CBD (or any cannabinoid), the ECS activates and distributes it throughout the body.

Critical Cannabinoid Receptors

The pet endocannabinoid system and the human endocannabinoid system contain a series of receptors. Two of the most critical receptors are CB1 and CB2. The CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in organ systems throughout the body. Cannabinoids bind to and activate these different receptors, depending on where your body needs support. 

  • CB1 Receptors – Mostly found in the central nervous system and thought to be associated with the body’s signaling of pain and discomfort. 
  • CB2 Receptors – Mostly found in the peripheral tissues, especially immune cells. CB2 receptors are thought to be associated with the body’s signaling of inflammation.
Two dogs playing in a field.

Cannabinoids Associated with the ECS

  • Endocannabinoids – Naturally produced by the body and form part of the endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. 
  • Phytocannabinoids – Produced by the hemp plant and known to interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD would be an example of a well-known phytocannabinoid. 

The pet endocannabinoid system and receptors work in unison to help maintain your pet’s health. The importance of this system, and the benefits of homeostasis CBD for animals can bring, cannot be dismissed. 

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