The endocannabinoid system (ECS) provides an essential homeostatic balance to the immune and nervous system. Many other organ systems such as reproductive, metabolic and endocrine are also vastly affected. The ECS is primitive in invertebrate species, but very pervasive in mammalian species. The same parts make up the ECS in your pets as humans: endogenous ligands (cannabinoids), G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs: CB1 and CB2), and enzymes that degrade and recycle cannabinoids.
- Two endogenous molecules have been identified and most commonly studied.
- Anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide) and 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol)
- Two G-coupled protein receptors (GPCR) have been described as part of this system, with another putative GPC being considered.
- CB1 and CB2 with GPR55 being considered as CB3
- Phytocannabinoids are plant based cannabinoids produced in large quantities by the Cannabis sativaL plant, and in lesser amounts by other plants.
- Phytocannabinoids can interact with the ECS as a ligand.
- The distribution of non-human animals is an ongoing project. Canine cannabinoid receptors are currently the center of attention.
Learn more about the ECS and how it affects you and your pet: science and function, nutrition, ailments, cancer and mental health.
Pets and Their ECS