If your dog has hip dysplasia or arthritis from old age, or if she scratches and chews her skin until she bleeds, read on to learn about why that may be, and how cannabinoids may interrupt the inflammatory response behind those.
Your dog’s inflammatory system
The inflammatory system is part of the immune system and critical to the body’s healing response. The body’s healing response can be looked at as having multiple phases: Detection of an injury; Alerting the rest of the body of the injury; Transporting the necessary cells to repair the injury; and Repairing the injury (Detect, Alert, Transport, and Repair). The inflammatory cells primarily function in the Detect, Alert, and Transport phases, while the symptoms of inflammation are primarily the result of the Transport phase (swelling, pain due to swelling, redness, etc.).
How your dog’s body detects injury
Your dog’s body is prewired to detect injury or the presence of foreign materials like allergens (think pollen) or invaders (bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc.). When detected, there’s a release of inflammatory messenger molecules (histamines, interleukins, and others), which work to dilate blood vessels and increase the flow of blood to the site. Unfortunately, sometimes your dog’s body overproduces these inflammatory messenger molecules – leading to persistent swelling, lack of joint mobility, itchy skin and more.
Cannabinoids interrupt the inflammation response
Studies have shown cannabinoids might interrupt your dog’s inflammation response in two ways. First, cannabinoids primarily interact with receptors that detect injury or foreign materials, thereby reducing the amount of inflammatory messenger molecules released into the body. Fewer messenger molecules equals less inflammation. That’s our kind of math. Second, cannabinoids have been shown to increase the levels of other molecules in your dog’s body that are responsible for ending the inflammatory response.
Whether or not you use cannabinoids for your dog, however it’s achieved reduced inflammation means your dog may move better and scratch less – and when they’re happy, you’re happy.