If you ever took anatomy and physiology, you probably learned about a whole host of systems that mammals have. These systems include the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, nervous and endocrine systems, as well as the immune, integumentary, skeletal, muscle and reproductive systems. These systems all work together to send signals throughout the body and to keep your body functioning properly.

But, there is one biochemical communication system that works with many of the body’s other systems, and which is still revealing its uses: the endocannabinoid system. This system is the part of the body which responds to compounds in the cannabis plant, and was named by scientists who were researching the effects of cannabis.

In plain English: cannabis plants produce cannabinoids. These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system and work as a mediator between the body’s cells, often helping to repair problems.

How does the endocannabinoid system work?

The endocannabinoid system has existed in almost every living organism from humans to animals and even some insects for millions of years. This universal system’s overall function is to regulate homeostasis within the body.

CBD or cannabidiol is created through the endocannabinoid system, making it one of the most naturally occurring chemicals within the human body. If you were breastfed as a child, that was most likely the last time you consumed CBD. CBD provides communication between varying types of cells within our bodies using receptors. These communications regulate certain cells to act in defense of the body. For example, if you are injured, CBD helps instruct cells on how to handle the injury.

What does the endocannabinoid system do?

The endocannabinoid system can help with many functions of the human body, and even more functions within a dog’s body. The endocannabinoid system influences:

  • Pain and inflammation caused by a number of illnesses, including arthritis, cancer, and autoimmune diseases
  • Digestion and appetite
  • Sleep, stress, mood, and anxiety
  • Memory and cognitive abilities
  • Heart health
  • Neural development and protection

What are CB1 and CB2 receptors?

The endocannabinoid system has two receptors: CB1 and CB2.

In dogs, the CB1 receptors are located in the brain, spinal cord, lungs, muscles, gastrointestinal tract, and vascular system. Since CB1 receptors are in the brain, they contribute to the hypothalamus, which regulates appetite. CB1 receptors also impact the amygdala in the brain, which is responsible for things like memory, anxiety, and stress. In the spinal cord, CB1 receptors impact nerve endings, which act as pain sensors. In short: CB1 receptors work with many of your body’s most important functions.

Dogs have CB2 receptors located in the peripheral nervous system, as well as the bones, skin, and spleen. CB2 receptors work to reduce inflammation and are found in immune cells, which means that CB2 receptors also work to heal autoimmune disorders and diseases.

The CB1 and CB2 receptors work together and work best with full-spectrum cannabis and hemp oils because of the entourage effect. In short, this means that while the ingredients have benefits on their own, they work best as a team.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body to communicate with the cells through the receptors. This means that without the receptors, CBD oil wouldn’t work. But, since we have these receptors, our bodies and our pets’ bodies are able to receive the full benefits of CBD.

Is this system researched?

The endocannabinoid system is still being continually researched. You can find current research on the endocannabinoid system and how receptors work at www.projectcbd.org.

Angela Ardolino has been caring for animals since she was 8 years old and has operated a farm rescue for over 10 years.  She also is the owner of Beautify the Beast a natural pet salon and spa, and the founder of CBD Dog Health. Angela is an expert in medical cannabis and has dedicated her life to providing all-natural relief for pets of all kinds.  She has three dogs, and 4-10 at any time that she is fostering, or boarding, visit www.angelaardolino.com to find out more or www.facebook.com/fireflakefarm to find out more about Fire Flake Farm.