Humans and all common pets have an endocannabinoid system. In fact, about the only animals that don’t have one are insects, but to our knowledge bugs don't commonly deal with too much later-life arthritis. So, what is an endocannabinoid system, exactly?
If you go looking in an anatomy book, you won’t find a single organ in the body you can point to and say “this is the endocannabinoid system,” but make no mistake, it exists!
Scattered throughout your body, and the body of your favorite pet are cannabinoid receptors.These come in two flavors: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are generally located in various parts of the brain, and CB2 receptors are found throughout your body’s immune system.
Your body naturally makes a certain amount of cannabinoids, although if you suffer from certain conditions, your body’s natural supply may get overwhelmed and thus be insufficient to the task of helping you feel better.
The next natural question then is, “what kinds of conditions are influenced by the body’s natural supply of cannabinoids?”
A totally fair question, and the answer might surprise you!
The effects of medical marijuana are increasingly well-known, and there are a variety of ongoing research projects underway that have been confirming its use as a viable treatment option for everything from PTSD and other stress-related conditions, to Alzheimer’s Disease, to controlling all forms of inflammation (including arthritis), in both humans and animals.
Of course, that’s marijuana, and most people would be leery about the idea of getting a much loved pet high, but that’s where things get even more interesting, because you don’t have to!
As the research has continued, scientists have begun breaking down marijuana into its constituent components and have made some surprising discoveries.For instance, THC is the specific cannabinoid that’s responsible for the “high” you get when you smoke marijuana, but the drug is made up of more than sixty different cannabinoids, including one called CBD.
This compound is of particular interest for two reasons:
First, because it’s not psychoactive.No matter how much of it you take, you won’t get high.Second, because it appears to be the compound that does most of the heavy lifting in terms of providing the therapeutic benefits.
As a result, a whole new industry has sprung up around CBD, where manufacturers extract and isolate the CBD, then infuse oils, dog treats, and other items for use.Because there’s no THC present, you’re not getting your cherished pet high, but you’re still getting the enormous medicinal benefit of the compound.
As to specifically how it works, cannabinoids, whether generated naturally or introduced via a supplement, bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body, not giving any particular preference to either, but binding to the first one they find open and available.
The more receptors the compounds bind to, the greater the impact, which is the mechanism by which pets (or humans) who suffer from inflammation, or stress, or any of the growing list of conditions that cannabinoids are effective against, find relief.
It’s not a magic bullet, but if you have a pet that’s suffering, and conventional treatment options have left you wanting, CBD-infused products are well worth a try!