A growing number of pet owners are using cannabis-derived products containing high doses of cannabidiol (CBD) and low or negligible doses of THC to alleviate pain, seizures, and other problems.
Before We Start: Understanding CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the active constituents of the cannabis plant, has profound healing and balancing effects on all mammals. Pet owners have used it for a broad spectrum of medical and behavioral issues — cancer pain, arthritis, muscle spasms, seizures, neurological and digestive disorders, anxieties, obsessions, past traumas, withdrawal, mood, and memory. During recovery from illness or surgery, CBD can stimulate appetite and speed healing. At the end of life, it can ease the pain and fear your pet may be experiencing. CBD does all this by stimulating the endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) of your pet and How CBD Works
Named after the plant that led to its discovery, the endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors located throughout the body of all mammals. Short-lived natural endocannabinoid substances are synthesized on demand by the body of your four-legged friend to maintain homeostasis, a stable internal environment. When these internal mechanisms lag behind the body’s needs, supplementing with extra CBD can help. Research also suggests that supplementing can cause the body to build more receptors so natural cannabinoids will work more effectively.
Two types of receptors have been identified: CB1 receptors, predominantly in the brain, nervous system, glands and organs; and CB2 receptors, found mainly in the regulatory cells of the immune system. Many tissues contain both receptors, each linked to a different action. A key role of the endocannabinoid system is controlling inflammation by up-regulating or down-regulating the immune response. An overactive response can lead to allergies and auto-immune problems; an underactive one can leave the body susceptible to infections and the unchecked proliferation of cancer cells of your pet.
Amazing Benefits for your pet
Now that you have an idea of how CBD works, the next step is to learn how it can help your pet. Here we’ll explain the benefits of CBD for pets, including arthritis, anxiety, seizures, glaucoma, and cardiovascular disease.
One of the primary benefits of CBD for dogs and cats is its anti-inflammatory effect. It prevents inflammation by inhibiting the reabsorption of the neurotransmitter, adenosine, which helps receptors regulate inflammation.
CBD also activates the TRV-1 receptor, which has been found to significantly decrease inflammation and pain. By reducing inflammation, CBD helps to alleviate common diseases in pets such as arthritis, skin allergies, IBD and cardiovascular disease.
Many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of CBD with pain relief. Since inflammation is a primary cause of pain, CBD promotes healing by first reducing inflammation.
CBD also interacts with opioid receptors, which regulate pain, and dopamine receptors, which regulate pleasure. Scientists have even classified CBD as a new class of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug.
One of the most common CBD oil uses in both dogs and cats is to reduce anxiety. Animal studies have shown the antidepressant effects of CBD which have been found to boost serotonin signaling by the 5-HT1A receptor. The increased serotonin signaling by the brain helps to reduce anxiety and improve mood. Since CBD does not directly interact with the same receptors that THC does, it doesn’t produce a psychoactive effect (which can increase anxiety). Many dogs and cats can suffer from different types of behavioral anxiety including separation anxiety and aggression. Daily situations that can cause anxiety include being left home alone, the presence of intruders, doorbell rings, thunderstorms, and sudden loud noise
Prevent Seizures and Epilepsy
Although there is no hard evidence that cannabinoids can cure cancer of animals, laboratory studies show that cannabinoids do have the capability to destroy cancer cells. Furthermore, CBD can help alleviate symptoms of cancer including inflammation, pain, nausea, and loss of appetite.
Arthritis is a common chronic disease that can occur in both dogs and cats. It is a degenerative disease that involves the deterioration of joints and causes swelling and pain. With chronic arthritis, your pet may become immobile or stiff, aggressive, fatigued or have difficulty getting up or walking.
There are many types of treatment for arthritis in pets including conventional drugs like the NSAIDs and opioids for pain relief. However, prolonged use of these harsh prescription drugs can cause harmful side effects in your pet. These symptoms can include liver or kidney damage, vomiting, diarrhea, ulcers, weakness, and lack of appetite.
If you are concerned with these side effects, consider giving your pet CBD for arthritis. Since CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, it can be an effective way to help alleviate your pet’s arthritis symptoms, making it one of the best natural hip and joint supplements for pets.
Help with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Animal studies have shown that CBD can help prevent inflammatory bowel disease. Also known as IBD, it is a serious condition in which the stomach lining becomes inflamed, which inhibits the normal absorption and passage of food.
Relieve Skin Allergies
Dogs and cats can experience common allergies from food, pests, medication or the environment, and these allergies can cause skin inflammation and itching. Animal studies have shown that ECS plays a key role in reducing inflammation and can help alleviate the effects of severe allergies and promote healing. Since CBD helps to regulate the ECS, it can aid in reducing the symptoms associated with skin allergies.
Since CBD can reduce nausea, it can in turn help increase your pet’s appetite. Loss of appetite is usually a sign of bad health and can occur for a number of reasons including nausea.
With this CBD have some other benefits too for your favorite pet including
- Improve Cardiovascular Health
- Prevent Glaucoma
- Relieve Depression
- Strengthen Immune System
- Prevent Osteoporosis
- Enhance Mood
- Weight Loss issue
A Handful of Published Studies
Day by Day CBD is emerging globally as a natural treatment for numerous problems. Fortunately, today we have a lot of research evidencing CBD is beneficial for your pet. In July 2018, the first clinical study examining the effects of hemp-based cannabidiol on arthritic dogs was published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, a leading international journal. That study, titled “Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs,” was led by Dr. Joseph Wakshlag of Cornell University concluded that “More than 80% of the dogs in the study saw a significant decrease in pain and improved mobility”.
In April 2017, American Veterinarian stated, “Concerning to many veterinarians is the lack of peer-reviewed clinical studies proving the efficacy of CBD products for animals, yet another consequence of CBD’s status as a controlled substance.”
According to Dr. Klein of Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, “CBD is also used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits”.
In a study conducted in 2008, scientists tested five different compounds found in the cannabis plant, including CBD and found that each demonstrated “potent activity” against multiple antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria, MRSA.
CBD is well-known as one of the most powerful antioxidants. In fact, the US Government issued a patent in 1999 that indicates the antioxidant properties of cannabinoids.
The recent ElleVet and Cornell 2016 study showed that once the right dosage is determined for your pet, cannabidiol can improve pain due to arthritis. The study involved a small sample size—only 16 dogs, all with a lot of pain from chronic arthritis in the Cornell study, and each dog saw significant improvement.
Canopy Growth Foundation, Canada’s largest cannabis company, has recently been approved by the Veterinary Drug Directorate of Health Canada to research the effectiveness of cannabidiol to treat anxiety in certain animals their preliminary study results shows a 25% reduced anxiety in both cats and dogs.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog or Cat?
The right CBD dosage for your pet depends on the concentration of CBD in the supplement you are using. Therefore, it’s important to follow the dosage guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
Of course, pet owners should treat dosage recommendations as general guidelines since every pet is different. If you’re giving your pet CBD for the first time, consider starting with a smaller amount then what’s recommended before increasing the dosage. As always, it’s important to closely monitor your pet’s behavior and symptoms when starting your pet on a new supplement.