How do Different Cannabinoid Receptors Work in Pets?

Cannabinoid receptors play a crucial role in the all-important endocannabinoid system that mammals possess. It is through these crucial receivers, so to speak, that certain biological processes are activated in the body.

To put it simply, endocannabinoids – the natural compounds produced by mammals and those that are responsible for a variety of functions – bind with cannabinoid receptors and take effect, similar to a lock and key. This process is approximately the same when cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) is ingested. These receptors, therefore, are what make our pets amenable to the effects of this emerging treatment platform.

Given their position within the larger endocannabinoid system, this post takes a quick look at the crucial role cannabinoid receptors play and what effect they have on mammals. Continue reading our post for a deeper understanding or head to our page on the endocannabinoid system to learn more.

What are the types of cannabinoid receptors present in our pets’ bodies?

Responsible for activating the effect of anandamide, 2-AG, and the other endocannabinoids mammals produce, there are 2 primary types of cannabinoid receptors, classified as CB1 and CB2.

CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, the nervous system, lungs, liver, and kidney. Many of the endocannabinoids in our pets’ bodies bind mainly to CB1 receptors, which regulate many important functions including pain relief, nausea, depression, and a range of other conditions.

CB2 is not as densely distributed as CB1, although it has a heavy presence in the immune system, spleen, and in the gastrointestinal system. These bind best with compounds like 2-AG – a neurotransmitter responsible for managing processes such as food intake and energy metabolism. CBD also binds better with this type of receptor, which regulates appetite, inflammation, and pain management.

CB2, in particular, plays an important role when it comes to the treatment of conditions like epileptic seizures. Here, CBD-rich treatments are recommended due to their anti-inflammatory properties and because they don’t present the risk of side-effects common to traditional anticonvulsant medication.

Given the ongoing research in this area, there is now evidence that there could be over 5 different cannabinoid receptors present in our bodies. These, however, aren’t as well-documented as CB1 and CB2 and are still being researched for their role within mammalian species.

How do CB1 and CB2 work? Why are pets amenable to CBD?

As with naturally occurring endocannabinoids, compounds such as CBD can’t take effect in the body unless it binds with specific protein receptors. When the cannabinoids make a connection (most often to CB2 receptors), the effect of the compound is communicated throughout the body.

This explanation, however, oversimplifies what actually takes place. In reality, CBD tries to increase the natural endocannabinoids being produced by altering the way certain enzymes work. CBD achieves this by preventing the FAAH enzyme from breaking down extra anandamide produced within the endocannabinoid system. This allows anandamide – a neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation – to bind to cannabinoid receptors and take effect. This produces positive and happy feelings within our pets and contributes to pain relief!

How do cannabinoid receptors affect the reception of CBD and other cannabinoids?

Much like all aspects of mammalian bodies, the distribution of cannabinoid receptors also varies between each individual organism. Accordingly, each pet possesses a different balance, number, and concentration of CB1 and CB2 receptors, which, ultimately, determines how CBD takes effect.

For instance, a lower number of CB2 receptors would mean that a greater dose of CBD would have to be administered in order to experience a therapeutic effect. Alternatively, consuming specific terpenes may be recommended in order to address a deficit of CB2 receptors.

Key takeaways

It’s arguable that without cannabinoid receptors, the entire endocannabinoid system and the medical effect of CBD would be wholly ineffective.

Every day, our pets are able to function normally and lead healthy and active lives because of how endocannabinoids bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors. Their importance cannot be understated – without it, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, here at CannPal – the envisioning of a pain-free world for our pets.