Fundamental 's on Pet Wellness

What you need to know about the health of your pet

 It's all about the endoCannabiniod System (eCS)

The eCS – endoCannabinoid System – is understood to be the master regulator of mammalian homeostasis…the process of maintaining balance of the many biological and physiological processes in the living mammal body and brain. You can think of the eCS – endoCannabinoid System – acting as a sort of thermostat, regulating ‘homeostasis’ or the dynamic balancing of life biological processes that maintain wellness in all living mammals. When a given biological system is operating in a state of homeostasis, it is thought to be well. It is when a far from homeostasis condition is the norm, that illness develops.

       Cannabinoids are a class of molecules that regulate the signaling of certain biological processes so that they stay as close to being in balance as possible. When homeostasis is working…the mammal is well. When The eCS is robust, its strength keeps homeostasis working well. As age and stresses of life (including oxidative stress from normal processes of mammalian life), take their toll on the eCS weakening homeostasis, and reducing wellness. For example the immune system is responsible to protect the body from external invaders (e.g., bacteria and viruses) and bad actors within (e.g., cancer cells). If the endoCannabinoid System (eCS)  is not fully operational, or experiencing a ‘low eCS tone’ homeostasis is weak and illness usually occurs. For example, normal inflammation is by definition ‘far from homeostasis’. Inflammation acting to destroy an ‘invader’ can in extreme circumstances get out of control and cause a serious condition known as sepsis which can cause fatal results if not reversed. If inflammation resulting from a bacterial or viral infection is not completely cleared up or resolvedis not fully resolved, it can become chronic inflammation, which by itself can cause damage to tissues and nerves that can be painful and long lasting. Chronic inflammation causes oxidative stress that results in discomforts of age, such as arthritis, in later life – aka ‘age-related discomforts.’

       We know Cannabinoids as chemical compounds associated with the Cannabis plant species.  In fact, the mammalian endo-cannabinoid system (eCS) (‘endo’ referring to inside or within the body) was discovered (and named after) the phyto-cannabinoids (‘phyto’ referring to plants) from Cannabis such as Cannabidiol (CBD) and TetraHydroCannabinol (THC) then being scientifically researched.  Some Cannabinoids are naturally produced in all mammals. Endocannabinoids are naturally made and operationally critical to the robust performance of the eCS. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is one such compound in the natural endoCannabinoid family that is also available from other plants (but not in Cannabis). Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) can help to maintain a robust eCS tone. PEA is not associated with Cannabis and is the basis for a new family of nutritional pet supplements that is being developed in a series of products that are patent-pending and pharmacist-formulated with veterinarian oversight. We expect that PEA-based pet products will surpass CBD as the key to wellness of your companion animal.

       The problem with CBD oil (referred to as Industrial Hemp Oil) is that it is unregulated and may contain a variety of heavy metals that Cannabis plants naturally accumulate from the soil. There may also be pesticides and other toxins like salmonella that plague naturally grown plant products. Unless the cannabis products are batch tested by a qualified analytical lab for each batch and that also provides full-panel testing to insure that no contaminants are included in the CBD oil that will be ingested by your pet.   Also, such testing, that will eventually be regulated by the FDA, will help you know that you actually get what you paid for.


It is clear that the eCS is not just present in all mammals, but plays an integral role in maintaining homeostasis for a large number of process and organ systems. The eCS modulates the immune, nervous and other organ systems through a complex system of receptors and neurotransmitter chemical signaling molecules to relieve pain and inflammation (i.e., discomfort), modulate metabolism and neurologic function, promote healthy digestive processes. Ongoing research will finally be able to provide additional discoveries regarding the role the eCS plays in the pathogenesis of disease, and the maintenance of wellness. [88 McGrath et al 2018 A Report of Adverse Effects Associated with the Administration of Cannabidiol in Healthy Dogs. J. AHVMA 2018, 52, 34-38.]


All mammals have an eCS and pet caregivers have been using Cannabis for many years for a variety of issues including age-related discomforts such as joint pains due to arthritis, a common occurrence in mature dogs (and in mature humans).

Questions such as

  1. “How robust is the eCS as one ages?”,
  2. “What else does homeostasis functionality affect?”
  3. “How is pain affected by eCS signaling?

The existence and functionality of the eCS explains its beneficial effect in helping to maintain homeostasis.

Pet homeostasis benefits closely resemble that of their humans. Animal benefits  depend on many additional factors including product formulation, dosage, animal size, metabolism, etc. Benefits are related to breed diversity, eCS density and eCS tone, distribution among species members, etc.

Observed areas that the eCS has influence on includes anxiety reduction, pain relief, improved mobility in arthritic animals and tumor reduction. These claims are based on testing in small clinical trials but are anecdotal for the most part. That doesn’t mean that are not true. It means that they have not yet necessarily been tested enough times under gold standard clinical trials.

Because CBD is a Cannabinoid and has been studied widely and these results have implications for all Cannabinoids and other related chemicals such as terpenes and flavonoids, PMI has taken the time to list some of the key studies reported in peer reviewed scientific literature for those of you who are interested (see Research Resources).

In 2014, Congress separated HEMP from Marijuana enabling  some University research into pet CBD Hemp Oil. In 2016, Colorado State University (CSU) surveyed 456 pet owners providing CBD for pet health issues that were impacted through the eCS.

Universities have conducted initial eCS/CBD clinical studies with dogs (and a lot fewer with cats). CSU first published “CONSUMERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF HEMP PRODUCTS FOR ANIMALS” in 2016. 457 dogs using CBD (cannabidiol) or Industrial Hemp oil from one supplier were surveyed about their experiences through their eCS.

Among 457 Dog Owners, Those With An Opinion Reported These Results:

Ailment or condition

% positive

CBD Effect On eCS

Pain relief


moderately or a lot

Nervous system support


moderately or a lot

Relieve seizures


moderately or a lot

Reduced Inflammation


moderately or a lot

Aided sleep


moderately or a lot

Relieve anxiety


moderately or a lot

Relieve Nausea


moderately or a lot

Reduce Muscle Spasms


moderately or a lot

Inhibited Tumor growth


moderately or a lot

Digestive tract issues


moderately or a lot

Thunderstorm / Noise


moderately or a lot

Skin Conditions


moderately or a lot

Overall, 93% of respondents preferred CBD over either some, most, or any other medication not related to the eCS. While only slightly better than anecdotal evidence it illustrates eCS’s wellness potential. Considering absence of the placebo effect, early reports indicated to researchers that eCS can have a significant impact on pet wellness across the lifespan.

A small Cornell study showed that the right dosage can improve pain due to arthritis. 16 dogs with a lot of pain from chronic arthritis showed significant improvement in each dog.

Another CSU 16 dog clinical trial tested the effect of CBD on seizure frequency. Nine dogs were treated with CBD, while seven dogs where in a placebo control group. 89 percent receiving CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in seizure frequency. Most common canine neurologic condition, Idiopathic epilepsy affects up to 5.7% of the pet dog population. CSU’s Dr Stephanie McGrath used Applied Basic Science Corporation Pet CBD in her trials. No surprise then that CBD Oil was FDA approved (Epidiolex®) for treating human pediatric seizures.

While legal in most states, the American Veterinary Medical Association prohibits members from discussing cannabis. We now have products on the market that impact the eCS through natural endoCannabinoids that are NOT associated with Cannabis or CBD. 

Please follow Pet Med Institute for the latest science in authenticated eCS products and other endocannabinoid system (eCS) products in development for pets (and their humans).