When pet parents consider the use of CBD for their critters, they need to be empowered with the knowledge of how a dog’s endocannabinoid system works. For a baseline, there are basic systems of an animal’s body that coordinate the various biological functions. The digestive system, for example, breaks down food and absorbs the nutrients your dog’s body needs. The circulatory system works hard to ensure that blood gets to the different parts of your little critter’s body in the required amount as needed.
While it seems like a secret, the endocannabinoid system has been alive and kicking since the beginning of time. It is one of the basic biological systems of mammals, although a lot of emphasis has not been placed on it. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is composed of endocannabinoids that work through neurotransmitters to the central and peripheral nervous systems to regulate the coordination of bodily functions such as fertility, sleep, inflammation, pain sensory, mood and appetite. ECS also plays a role in exercised induced euphoria – or ‘runners high.’ The endocannabinoid system also mediates effects of the pharmacological aspects of CBD. Ergo, since dogs are mammals, they too have an ECS.
It’s only been in recent decades that scientists have truly begun to comprehend how the endocannabinoid system works. A young female researcher, Lisa Mastrud, was able to pinpoint the DNA sequence that isolated cannabinoid receptor components in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Mastrud discovered what we now call the CBD-1 receptor while researching how THC works in the body. The second ECS receptor, CBD-2, was discovered later. These receptors bind to internal organisms (e.g. endogenous) cannabinoid-like substances within the body in order to work. These cannabinoids include Anandamide, commonly know as ‘the bliss molecule.’
CBD-1 receptors are found in the central nervous system, and they bind to the endogenous cannabinoid-like substances as well as THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis. CBD-2 is found in the peripheral nervous system as well as the immune system where it regulates activities related to health and wellness as well as mental functions. These receptors then bind to the cannabinoids that come from cannabis and naturally make your dog’s self-produced cannabinoid-like substances enhanced and longer lasting.
Knowing that your dog’s body already makes cannabinoid-like substances, including Anandamide (the bliss molecule) the cannabinoids from cannabis have somewhere to land (or bind) – in your dog’s CBD-1 and CBD-2 receptors. Cannabinoids are substances found in the cannabis plant. While some people interchangeably use the word marijuana, there is growing support to return to the proper herbology term of cannabis.
The word marijuana came about in the early 1900’s during the drug wars, and involved large pharmaceutical companies wanting to control what was available to the public. The term become codified through the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 (source) and thus is now stigmatized.
Cannabinoids bind to the receptors just like a key fits into a lock. The binding of the receptors allows the necessary physiological activities to occur. The cannabinoids, CBD and THC, are known for different specialties. THC has a psychoactive effect whereas CBD is used more for its medicinal properties. Both, however, modulate very similar processes that ranges from inflammation to antiviral activities.
Cannabis plants contains a variety of compounds, including terpenes. Terpenes are not isolated to cannabis, as they are also found in essential oils and other plants, and are aromatic metabolites found in the oils of all plants. There are more than 20,000 terpenes, with at least 100 produced by the cannabis plant.
Terpenes are known for numerous therapeutic activities. A terpene is a large group of organic compounds, and dogs, as well as humans, can benefit from the compounds by simply inhaling or consuming these compounds. The therapeutic effect of terpenes on dogs includes pain management, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety effects. While scientists continue to study cannabinoids effects on dogs, research has already proven that terpenes are effective for managing pain and anxiety (source).
It has also been estimated that 1 in every 200 dogs suffer from a form of epilepsy (source). Terpenes are also essential in the management of epilepsy, as research has shown that dogs suffering from epilepsy improve significantly when treated with terpene-containing substances that include CBD. This is why CBD is now quite mainstream for treating epilepsy in dogs, with both conventional and holistic veterinarians confirming the positive effects.
As mentioned earlier, the cannabinoids, CBD and THC, have slightly different features, and these features determine the medicinal applications of these cannabinoids. THC is used primarily as a psychoactive substance because it modulates mental functions to a higher degree and causes a ‘high.’ CBD, on the other hand, does not cause that enhanced alertness and has a lot of medicinal applications for dogs and people.
CBD is thus the safe cannabinoid for dogs since it doesn’t give the enhanced alertness associated with the use of THC – and THC is toxic for your furry friends. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than humans (source), so a quantity that may not cause a lot of alertness in a human may be detrimental to a dog – therefore never give a dog THC.
All Pet’s and Mammals have an endocannabinoid system, and this system helps to manage the important activities that determine the health and wellness of your pup. The CBD receptors, CBD-1 and CBD-2, that are found in dogs, allow for cannabinoids to bind to them resulting in the alleviation of pain and inflammation in your Pet.
With CBD being readily available in most pet stores, it feels a little bit like buying bread. I mean, bread is bread, right? Interchangeable without much notice. Or is it? I happen to be a bread connoisseur. There’s a world of difference in crusts, thickness, and yeast. Same is true for pet CBD. Do terpenes in pet CBD really matter? You bet they do – and are one of the reasons you need to analyze pet CBD labels.
First, terpenes are natural. They’ve been around since the dawn of time. It’s our awareness that’s new. Basically terpenes are aromatic compounds that create the smell, color, and flavor of plants. This includes cannabis and hemp. There are over 20,000 known terpenes, with over 100 of them in the plants responsible for making CBD.
Yes and no. So, while a specific set of terpenes come from a cannabis or hemp plant, the quality and compounds are different. This all depends on the plant and how it was grown. How terpenes function is dependent upon the amount of light the plants receive, soil management, humidity, and crop practices. Calculating the variety of terpene sub-elements that affect CBD is nearly impossible.
Quality farmers put intense focus on the standardization of growing conditions in order to maintain quality terpenes, and thus CBD product.
When you look closely at female plants, likely through a microscope, you’ll notice little hair-like features. These are called glandular trichomes. Cannabis and hemp plant terpenes tuck themselves into these little hairs for safety from pollinators and the like.
The goal of a CBD farmer is to disturb the trichomes as little as necessary in an effort to retain as much terpenes as possible. This results in CBD that is powerful, and has specific colors, smells, and tastes.
TERPENES can also be added in a more concentrated form during the formulation process of a CBD Isolate product.
We thought so until relatively recent times. Research now indicates that CBD terpenes have an impact on a chemical level (source).
Terpenes have a direct interplay with the endocannabinoid system. So, while they provide smell and taste, they also deliver a different experience within a pet’s body. This is why some CBD works well for some dogs or cats, but not on others. It’s all interweaving through your pet’s body and each is unique.
That’s why when people say, “CBD doesn’t work for my dog,” it’s often because they haven’t found the right one yet!
Remember from above that there are at least 100 terpenes involved, each with variations based on growing conditions. But it’s important to understand the terpenes in pet CBD. For general awareness, the following terpenes tend to be found in CBD and all our CBD oils and water soluble products are enhanced with a proprietary terpenes blend.
Smelling of pine trees, this terpene has the following potential benefits:
This terpene has the smell of black pepper. Also, this one has a strong interplay with CB2 receptors dealing with immune systems. This terpene has the following potential benefits:
This aromatic terpene smells of fruity, citrus aromas and has the following potential benefits:
This highly aromatic terpene smells of rich, heady, ripe fruit and has the following potential benefits:
With a mixture of herbal, floral, and pine scents, this terpene has the following potential benefits: