A Refresher about CBD and the ECS
All animals with a backbone (and some without) have endocannabinoid systems (ECS), and that means that CBD products can work for your pets, too. CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of about 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Both marijuana and hemp are types of cannabis (think of them as cousins), but with the important distinction that hemp has a negligent amount of THC in it (.3% or less) and can’t get you, or your pet, high.
The ECS is present in human bodies as well as our pets. It’s made up of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) that are meant to maintain homeostasis (balance and wellbeing) by interacting with our natural endocannabinoids. Plant-based cannabinoids like CBD and THC can interact with the ECS to activate beneficial responses in the body.
Our furry friends can suffer from anxiety, arthritis, recovery from surgery, and cancer just like we humans can. And the benefits of CBD can help them as well.
One thing to keep in mind is that dogs have more receptors in their ECS than we do, and they will be more susceptible to a THC overdose in the short-term. While a THC overdose is not fatal, the short-term effects of too much can cause other problems for pets. This, however, will not be an issue if hemp-derived CBD is used, as there is not enough THC in it to become psychoactive.
How Veterinarians Are Weighing In on CBD
Some veterinarians may believe that there is not enough scientific data to prove that CBD is safe for treating animals. Here is what one Oakland, California-based vet, Gary Richter, DVM
“In a perfect world, we would benefit from more scientific information. However, the case reports and anecdotal evidence about the efficacy of cannabis medicine are already overwhelming. In veterinary medicine, practitioners typically have no problem using off-label medications—those not explicitly approved for use in dogs or cats. But mention medical cannabis, which has a mountain of evidence for efficacy in humans, and they suddenly say, ‘You can’t do that, there’s been no research on dogs!’ It’s disingenuous.”
So, that being said, here are …
7 Ways CBD Can Benefit Your Furry Friend
1. It can treat gastrointestinal issues in pets.
Along with pain and inflammation, Dr. Richter says that this is an area that veterinary patients have seen dramatic results in. Dogs such as great Danes, German shepherds, golden retrievers, and collies are particularly prone to digestive ailments. Common diagnoses are acute gastroenteritis, colitis, constipation, diarrhea, pancreatitis, etc. These animal studies have shown that CBD can prevent colitis (IBD) and restore normal gut motility in inflammatory bowel disease.
2. CBD can manage your pet’s pain.
Your little Yoda or Jezebel may be recovering from an injury or surgery, or perhaps they’re getting to that age we all come to where there’s just more aches and pains. Your little pet babies don’t have to live with it. Here are just some of the ways CBD can decrease pain for people and pets:
- Pain (including neuropathy and nerve-related pain)
- The impact of inflammation on oxidative stress (which causes degeneration and premature aging)
- Inflammation in acute pancreatitis
- Pain caused from cancer
3. It can treat your furry friend’s arthritis.
It’s not fair, but our pet babies get arthritis, too. CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It will work for many conditions for which inflammation may be a response. It is known to reduce the production and release of inflammatory cytokines that set off allergies, hypersensitivities and autoimmunity in people and pets.
4. CBD can ease your pet’s anxiety.
Does your cat constantly hide or cry for no reason? Does your dog bark excessively or have terrible, separation anxiety that presents itself in the form of a torn up house when you arrive home? CBD can help your pet de-stress. It’s a safe, nontoxic way to ease your pet when taking a trip to the vet or the groomer, or if they’re having issues in a multi-pet household. Like their owners, pets don’t have to endure anxiety and can find relief in the calming effects of CBD.
5. It can also help with your pet’s loss of appetite.
It’s very worrisome when your pet won’t eat. Whether it’s due to age, treatment or recovery from an illness or injury, CBD can help boost a dog or cat’s appetite. It’s a proven antiemetic in humans and animals, so much so that The National Cancer Institute reports that it increases appetite on its website.
6. CBD can treat seizures and epilepsy.
This cannabinoid is a proven natural anticonvulsant and can be used to control seizures, tremors, tics and spasms. The FDA has already approved a synthetic version of CBD as a drug for treating intractable forms of epilepsy, i.e., CBD can control violent seizures when nothing else can. It has saved the lives of many children suffering from devastating seizures. It can help your pet, too.
7. It may have anti-cancer effects.
Studies suggest that CBD and other substances found in hemp have an anti-tumor effect. CBD has even been shown to stop cancer cells from growing and increase tumor cell death in preclinical studies. Dr. Richter says that veterinarians have seen positive results with CBD used for treating animals with cancer.
Scott, D. “CBD Oil for Dogs: 10 Things You Didn’t Know.” Dogs Naturally. Web. Accessed 8 December 2018. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/cbd-oil-for-dogs/
Armstrong, B. “7 Amazing Benefits of CBD that Will Help Your Dog Feel Like a Puppy Again.” Cannabis for Pets. Web. 8 December 2018. https://cannabissupplementsforpets.com/benefits-of-cbd-for-dogs/
“Claws and Effect: Cannabis Medicine for Pets.” ProjectCBD. 19 April 2017. Web. Accessed 8 December 2018. https://www.projectcbd.org/claws-and-effect-use-of-medical-marijuana-for-pets