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The Endocannabinoid System in Dogs

March 24, 2020 2:29 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Much like humans, dogs and other animals have an endocannabinoid system. This system in dogs enables the body to regulate the body’s physical and mental function. The body naturally releases endocannabinoids, which help trigger this process.

Currently, there is a lot of focus on the endocannabinoid system of dogs. This is mainly due to the system’s varied impact throughout the body. Also, scientists are interested in how this system can be utilized in treating or curing different kinds of illnesses. Even though we have managed to get a great deal of information regarding this system, research regarding its medical and therapeutic uses, including the uses of CBD and THC for dogs, is still underway.

Functions of the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for several purposes. Additionally, it will help keep your pet’s bodily functions in equilibrium when outside elements (such as diseases) try to disturb it.

The endocannabinoid system is primarily responsible for managing your pet’s mood and mental state, memory, appetite, coordination, metabolism, sleep cycles, and immunity. Naturally, therefore, the functioning of the endocannabinoid system is crucial in ensuring your pet’s optimal health and condition.

How the Endocannabinoid System Works

In mammals, the endocannabinoid system workings consist of three key processes – endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors, and enzymes. The enzymes help produce endocannabinoids and break them down into simpler compounds.

There are times when your dog’s internal functioning lacks balance due to one or several factors. In such cases, the endocannabinoid system stimulates enzymes that blend the Endocannabinoids. The two main endocannabinoids involved in this process are Anandamide and 2-Archidonoyglycerol. These adhere to the receptors, which exist in cells throughout the body, including the brain.

The cannabinoid receptors once sprang into action, send the protein passages throughout all the cells in the body. This procedure conveys a message to the nerve cells, asking for necessary adjustments and changes. This entire process triggers a biochemical reaction that resumes the normal working of the imbalanced system.

Studies have also indicated that the endocannabinoid system is responsible for curing inflammation that occurs during an infection or illness. Hence, if the system is not performing normally, your dog might end up suffering from chronic inflammation that could open the floodgates for other chronic illnesses. 

Therefore, a lot of doctors might suggest external cannabinoids for your pet when he is suffering from a disease of some sort. These cannabinoids help trigger the Endocannabinoid System, making it function at its optimal state. This allows the system to strengthen the immune reaction of your dog, helping him fight the disease more effectively.

What are Cannabinoid Receptors in Dogs?

These receptors are present throughout the body and help the endocannabinoids to collaborate and enable them to encourage the optimal functioning of mental states like feelings, emotions, and moods.

There are two distinct types of endocannabinoids found in the cells. CB-1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, and throughout the nervous system, whereas CB-2 type of receptors exist mainly in the peripheral system, organs, bones, liver, skin, and throughout the immune system.

How do CBD and THC Affect the Endocannabinoid System?

Firstly, it is crucial to highlight that the endocannabinoid system’s function is not merely to regulate the effects of CBD or THC for dogs.

As previously mentioned, this system is already existent in all mammals, regardless of whether they have ever used Cannabis or not.

The thing to note is that the use of phytocannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) can alter the functioning of these endocannabinoids in your dog’s body.

THC for dogs, for example, performs this by attaching itself directly to the CB-1 type of receptors.

CBD, on the other hand, does not bind directly to either of the two receptors. Its role, although important, is much more indirect. It will function by opening up around seventy different types of molecular paths inside your dog’s system. Some of these paths indirectly trigger the endocannabinoid system.

Fatty Acid Binding Proteins (FABPs), help spread the CBD throughout your pet’s body. Alongside CBD, these proteins assist in carrying molecules like anandamide. This is done via the cell membranes. 

CBD Impacts Brain & Body Receptors

Certain cells can interact with CBD, once it is present inside the pet’s body.

CBD Triggers Serotonin Receptors

Serotonin is an example of a neurotransmitter, and it has a key role in keeping your dog’s mood and circadian rhythm in check. It also affects appetite, movement and coordination, alongside mental states like stress and anxiety. A lot of medicines that impact depression and anxiety work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

In appropriate doses, CBD can directly trigger a particular receptor called 5-HT1A.

The receptors are present across the entire peripheral and nervous systems, and when CBD adheres to them, it can impact specific aspects of your dog’s health. These include mood, stress levels, pain, and sleep cycles. In addition, CBD might prove beneficial in cases of nausea and vomiting.

CBD Adheres to Vanilloid Receptors

These types of receptors are known as TRPV1 receptors. CBD is capable of attaching itself to these receptors, which are mainly present on nociceptive neurons. This category of neurons is responsible for conveying and regulating pain indications and signals throughout the central nervous and peripheral systems.

CBD’s capability of attaching itself to these receptors gives it its anti-inflammatory properties. This leads to a reduction in pain for people suffering from conditions like arthritis.

CBD Triggers PPAR Receptors

CBD can stimulate Peroxisome Proliferator-activated Gamma Receptors (PPAR).

Research has reflected that stimulating this category of receptors can cause cancer cells to stop dividing and spreading.

Therefore, PPAR gamma receptors are a promising treatment route for certain types of cancers. Triggering these receptors might also affect the amyloid plaque, which is a feature of Alzheimer’s.

 

CBD Obstructs GPR55 Receptors

CBD is also capable of halting the functioning of certain receptors.

GPR55 receptors are mainly present close to the brain, where they help in maintaining things like blood pressure and bone density.

However, if these receptors are produced in excess, they can lead to bone damage or an increase in cancer cells.

Therefore, CBD, by obstructing these receptors, plays a role in balancing their functions.

Check with Your Vet

As with any change to your dog’s diet or health plan, make sure to check with your veterinarian. Some veterinarians will be more conservative in introducing an untested supplement such as CBD oil; it is up to every pet owner to take the information they are given by animal health care professionals and research reports and make what they feel is the best possible decision. 

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