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How Cannabis (CBD) Works in Dogs and Cats

Many of us jump on the cannabis (CBD) bandwagon without knowing how CBD works in dogs and cats. But to be responsible pet guardians, we need to know what we give them, and why. In today’s Cannabis Corner with Tripawds, you’ll know why cannabis medicine is such a big deal.

drawing of how does cbd work in dogs and cats
Welcome to another edition of Cannabis Corner by Tripawds

Cannabis Relief Starts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

For thousands of years, the cannabis plant has earned a reputation for its healing properties. This plant contains nearly 200 molecules (“cannabinoids”), such as CBD. Modern studies conclude that cannabinoids work through the ECS to manage a long list health issues. Pain, anxiety, and nausea are just a few. Scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the early 2000s. 

What the Endocannabinoid System Does for Pets and People

  • The ECS keeps our nervous and immune systems in balance.
  • It works through an internal network of endocannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids produced by our bodies. Endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors. When we consume cannabinoids made outside the body (like CBD), the same thing happens.
  • The right amount of endocannabinoids connecting to receptors helps systems run smoothly. We are in balance.
  • Not enough endocannabinoids, or cannabinoids? We feel terrible.

This video explains the ECS. We are NOT endorsing the company that produced it.


Why cannabis (CBD) works in dogs, cats, animals and people

Human and non-human animals like dogs and cats share an ECS. We also share many illnesses. Conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, epilepsy, and even phantom leg pain happen to all of us. These problems and many others can stop endocannabinoid production in the body.

When we feel sick, our endocannabinoid system is going through clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD). We are out of balance.

But if we consume a cannabis product with the right type of cannabinoids that help symptoms from our illness, studies show we feel better. Our ECS is back in balance.

Here’s an easy explanation of endocannabinoid deficiency:


So far, all of the research into CECD has been done on humans. But since we share the same nervous system pathways as our pets, CECD findings are used as the basis for cannabis treatment in animals.

Summary: How Cannabis (CBD) Helps Dogs, Cats, and People

Basically, when our ECS is in balance, we feel good. When it is not, we feel bad. If we consume an appropriate cannabis product, we feel good again. The question then becomes, just what exactly is the “right” product? This is a million dollar question today. Science is still working on the answer.

We hope this basic explanation of how the endocannabinoid system works in dogs, cats, and people helps you feel a little smarter about giving cannabis to your pets. 

Learn More About Hemp Products for Dogs, Cats and People

Cannabis Corner with Tripawds wants to build a library of cannabis medicine information for pet parents like you and me. Catch up on your learning with previous posts:

Cannabis (CBD) Dog Dosing Questions and (Wrong) Answers

Cannabis (CBD) Pet Product Basics

Introducing Veterinary Cannabis Corner with Tripawds


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