The Endocannabinoid System


Q: What do dogs, cats and humans have in common with Cannabis?
A: The Endocannabinoid System.

Follow along as we shed light on the elegant biology which endows Cannabis with its amazing healing properties for both animals and humans.


Studies have supported that dogs and cats have the same endocannabinoid system as humans do.

The main cannabinoid receptor of interest  in the endocannabinoid system are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These endogenous (or naturally occurring) receptors are concentrated in the areas of the brain and the peripheral nervous system. Scientific research has confirmed the existence of cannabis receptors in many different species of animals including rats, guinea pigs, dogs, monkeys, pigs and a host of other animal species.

Veterinarian Dr. Douglas Kramer, aka, The Vet Guru was a pioneer in medical marijuana for pets suffering from pain and cancer. Sadly, before his death, he was treating his own dog (Nakita) who had cancer with a special tincture he had created, called Canine Companion for pain, inflammation and end of life support. The results were nothing short of amazing as Nakita's appetite and mobility improved. While the wait for research can be a long one, why should animals suffer in the meantime when their endocannabiniod system parallels a humans. 

Exploring the Endocannabinoid System 

The endocannabinoid system refers to a group of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors that are involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory, health and it mediates the psychoactive effects of Cannabis and, broadly speaking, includes:

The Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, two G protein-coupled receptors that are located in the central and peripheral nervous systems, respectively. These receptors become activated once ingested Cannabinoids "bind" or fit into them like "keys", they the tackle the job of restoring your health.

The endogenous arachidonate-based lipids, anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamide, AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), these are known as "Endocannabinoids" and are physiological ligands for the Cannabinoid receptors. These processes or Endocannabinoids influence ALL processes in the body, enhancing them to perform better and more efficient.

The enzymes that synthesize and degrade the Endocannabinoids. Unlike traditional neurotransmitters, endogenous Cannabinoids are not stored in vesicles after synthesis, but are synthesized on demand" -Rodriguez de Fonseca et al., 2004). 
However, some evidence suggests that a pool of synthesized Endocannabinoids (namely, 2-AG) may exist without the requirement of on-demand synthesis.

Published 2-18-2013