Pets can experience runner’s high too

We humans have more in common with our pets than you might realise. For example, have you ever noticed that your dog companion can experience runner’s high just like you?

The relaxed sense of wellbeing and alertness we experience after a run (or other exercise session) isn’t exclusive to humans. If you’re a pet parent of a dog, you’ll know how excited they get when you start making moves towards a daily walk.

That’s because, like us, pet’s bodies and brains love the feelgood that comes after exercise. Scientists used to think this feeling was caused by endorphins, but recent news from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggests the endocannabinoid system also has an important role to play.

Fascinatingly, the sense of wellbeing and other positive impacts of endocannabinoids on homeostasis in the body may also be able to be triggered by cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. We think this makes exploring CBD products or medicinal cannabis for pets extremely worthwhile.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system is a neuromodulatory system. Found in all vertebrates (like you and your dog), it helps to regulate and balance key bodily functions, such as energy and appetite. It is made up of endogenous G-protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), endocannabinoids and enzymes, and plays an important role in the regulation of homeostasis within the body.

In homeostasis, body levels of acid, blood pressure, blood sugar, electrolytes, energy, hormones, oxygen, proteins, and temperature constantly adjust in response to changes inside and outside the body, to keep them at a normal level.

Put simply, homeostasis helps to keep our pets – and us – in balance so that we can function optimally.

What scientists reckon about runner’s high

Scientists are learning more about just how important the endocannabinoid system is every day. Recently, they’ve realised that it is most likely the cause of runner’s high. Scientists used to think endorphins caused this feeling, but according to Prof David Linden of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, endorphins do not pass the blood-brain barrier.

Linden explains that the relaxed post-run feeling may instead be due to endocannabinoids — biochemical substances like the phytocannabinoids in cannabis but naturally produced by the body. Exercise increases the levels of endocannabinoids in the bloodstream.

We agree that the endocannabinoid system has an important role to play in helping us – and our pets – maintain good health. In addition to runner’s high, scientists think the endocannabinoid system can impact many physiological symptoms that humans and pets experience. Some examples include sleep, stress, pain, appetite, memory, digestion and anxiety.

We’re excited about being able to support pet health with plant-based pet medicines that can produce similar benefits.

Ready to explore plant-based meds for your pet? Speak with a vet for free. 

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