You may have asked yourself CBD has been shown to have many benefits for animals. In fact, it is used in medicine by veterinary doctors all over America, currently. If you are still unsure of how CBD affects your pet’s system, here are some key points you should know about the anatomy of animals and how CBD interacts with them.
Does CBD affect animals?
Just like humans, animals too have an Endocannabinoid System. All living beings have cannabinoid receptors in their body. If the Endocannabinoid System does not function properly, it stops creating a balance within the body known as homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the regulation of an animal’s appetite, memory, sleep, immunity, pain, etc. If the endocannabinoid system is not functioning properly in our pets it can lead to anxiety, inflammation, nausea, cancer, arthritis, stress, and more.
Since the Endocannabinoid System of animals is similar to humans, CBD can be used to supplement this system in a variety of cases. There are three main components in the Endocannabinoid System - Metabolic enzymes, endocannabinoids, and cannabinoid receptors. However, in order to understand how CBD affects animals, we need to know more about cannabinoid receptors.
What Are Cannabinoid Receptors?
Cannabinoid receptors can be found on the surface of cells. These receptors are responsible for monitoring what happens outside the cell and then transmit that information to the inside of the cell, so that the body can come up with an appropriate cellular response.
If you look at the Endocannabinoid System in our pets, you will find that there are many different types of cannabinoid receptors. However, the two major receptors remain the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These two receptors are responsible for nerve and bone growth, inflammation, immunity, metabolism, pain as well as emotions like anxiety, stress, and panic.
There has been research performed that shows that CBD can stimulate both CB1 and CB2 receptors. It also triggers the body to release natural endocannabinoids. The two main endocannabinoids that humans and animals produce naturally are Anandamide and 2-AG.
CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain. CB1 receptors help in memory and neurogenesis. They store information, suppress and recognize hunger, and alter moods. Evidently, these govern how an animal behaves or reacts.
CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are located in the animal’s immune system and nervous system. Out of the two receptors, CB2 receptors are more actively involved in processing and responding to CBD. These receptors can quickly absorb CBD into the body and help to balance your pet’s endocannabinoid system.
How does CBD affect animals?
The endocannabinoid system works together with other systems in the body. This includes the nervous system, (peripheral and central), immune system, and gastrointestinal system. All of these big systems along with the endocannabinoid system facilitate a smooth functioning of the body.
The nervous system takes care of the brain and spine and helps in regulating the body’s responses. The gastrointestinal system takes care of digestion, extraction of nutrients, breaking down of food into energy and fat, etc. The immune system protects the body from germs, infections, and any dangerous viral intruders.If these systems fail, your pet can suffer from life threatening diseases. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system of your pet and helps in the smooth running of these bodily systems. When an animal ingests CBD oil, the endocannabinoid system is put into action. Think of the endocannabinoid system as the conductor of our body's orchestra instructing each section how to operate correctly.
Cannabinoids can affect an animal’s brain and nervous system too. Just like humans, the brain of animals like cats and dogs is divided into three parts. These are known as the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain. Cannabinoids can influence all three parts of a pet’s brain.
There are all different types of products made specifically for animals. You can buy cbd for dogs by buying cbd oil for dogs or even CBD dog treats. Most of these products can be used with cats as well and there are some products that are currently coming out for use in horses!
To sum it up
In summary we will use a direct quote from the article, “The Endocannabinoid System in Animals” published by Robert J Silver:
“...It is clear that the endocannabinoid system is not just present in nearly all animals, but plays an integral role in maintaining homeostasis for a number of organ systems. The endocannabinoid system modulates the nervous and immune systems and other organ systems through a complex system of receptors and chemical signaling molecules to relieve pain and inflammation, modulate metabolism and neurological function, promote healthy digestive processes, and support reproductive function and embryologic development. The future looks bright as cannabinoid research, in the post-cannabis prohibition era, is finally able to provide additional discoveries regarding the role the endocannabinoid system plays in the pathogenesis of disease, and the maintenance of health .”
- McGrath S., Bartner L.R., Rao S., Kogan K.R., Hellyer P.W. A Report of Adverse Effects Associated with the Administration of Cannabidiol in Healthy Dogs. J. AHVMA. 2018;52:34–38. [Google Scholar]