How Does CBD Work to Help Pain in Dogs?
Researchers have been studying cannabinoids and their potential health benefits since the 1970s, but most of this research has been directed toward human use. It wasn’t until recently that scientists devoted more time and resources to understanding the effects of CBD on animals.
Nevertheless, we know that cannabinoids like CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is found across all mammals and most of the entire animal kingdom. This system is responsible for helping maintain homeostasis (our body’s inner balance) in a number of organ systems, including the nervous and immune system, as well as the reproductive and digestive processes.
The ECS itself consists of receptors and chemical signaling molecules that respond to both cannabinoid compounds made by our own body, and those that are introduced from outside. In dogs, many of these receptors are found in the brain, as well as cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, immune, and reproductive system tissues.
For pain specifically, we know that the ECS modulates the conduction of pain signals to the brain by reducing the sensitivity of pain receptors and the intensity of the signal itself. At the same time, the activation of cannabinoid receptors helps reduce inflammation. This all happens within our own bodies as part of our natural reaction to injury.
The precise mapping of how CBD affects the ECS of dogs and other animals is still an ongoing project. However, we know that using CBD is associated with less pain and inflammation in dogs, plus, we know that the canine ECS is partly responsible for modulating pain sensations and the inflammatory response.
So, the stage is set for future research to prove what many owners already know: that CBD (and its effect on the ECS) presents a new and bright option in the treatment of pain in dogs.