What is the ECS?
All mammals have a biological and neurological system specifically tasked to receive and process a class of diverse chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, that regulate a number of physiological systems in all mammals, including cats and dogs.
That system is the Endocannabinoid system, and its’s basic functions were summarized in 1998 by Professor Di Marzo as “relax, eat, sleep, forget and protect.”
It’s been suggested that the Endocannabinoid system, is one of the most important physiological systems in the mammalian body, and it’s through its discovery that scientists around the world have shown support for its use in a number of physiological functions including:
- Pain modulation
- Memory function
- Appetite stimulation
- Mood enhancement
- Possible anti-tumour effects
It’s the effects of endogenous Cannabinoids, interacting with the body’s natural cannabinoid receptors, which regulate these bodily functions and ultimately keep our body in a state of homeostasis.
Some of these endogenous cannabinoids are very similar to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the Phyto-cannabinoid which serves as the psychoactive compound in Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana), thus the Endocannabinoid system got its name from the plant that led to its discovery and opened the floodgates for research into this ground-breaking discovery.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS), comprised of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoid molecules, and their metabolic enzymes, is a crucial molecular system that the body uses to help maintain homeostasis. Because of its vital role in making sure that cells and systems remain in their physiological Goldilocks zone, the ECS is tightly regulated; it gets deployed exactly when and where it’s needed. However, this doesn’t mean that activating the ECS, through consumption of cannabis or by any other means, will always make things just right.
Like any other complex biological system, the ECS can go awry. “If deviation from physiological homeostasis is prolonged, due to either external factors or chronic pathological conditions, the eCS can lose its time- and space-selective mode of action and start affecting inappropriate cells,” Dr. Di Marzo explained. “In these cases, the ECS, instead of being beneficial, may actually contribute to disease progression.”
It’s important to remember that activating the ECS, through cannabis consumption or by any other means, isn’t a cure-all. Like most of biology, it’s complicated. This is why it’s important to be fully informed about the effects of using compounds involved in influencing this system. More on cannabis safety can be found here.
CannPals vision is to be a global leader in the development of therapeutic products for companion animals using plant compounds that influence the endocannabinoid system, in a safe and ethical way, so we can ultimately provide veterinarians and pet owners with naturally derived plant based therapeutic products for animals, that owners can trust are both safe and scientifically validated.