CBD for Pets

Before we get into the benefits of using CBD for our furry friends, what exactly is Cannabidiol?

Cannabidiol is taken from the cannabis plant, however, unlike its other chemical cousins found in the cannabis plant, Cannabidiol is non-psychotic, meaning it doesn’t “play” with the mind of its users. So no, your pet isn’t getting high from this; what it will get from Cannabidiol instead is lots of health benefits.

Cannabidiol is a member of the class of compounds called cannabinoids. In nature, there are two groups of cannabinoids; the endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids; Cannabidiol belongs to the latter. The phytocannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant. The endocannabinoids, on the other hand, are produced by your body, and along with an extensive network of receptors, they form the endocannabinoid system – a system primarily responsible for making sure our bodies continue to function correctly.

Think of the endocannabinoid system as the executive branch of the government of your body; when there's a problem somewhere, they send the police (the endocannabinoids) to that place to set in motion a series of events that bring everything back to normal. Sometimes, however, the problem is serious, and to control it they need to recruit foreign agents – the phytocannabinoids who are better trained and equipped to handle any problems that may be disturbing the body. In this context, Cannabidiol is a commander in the phytocannabinoid army, best known for its effective tactics and ability to tackle even the most severe problems.

But enough with the military terms, back to science. In the scientific world, Cannabidiol is regarded to be a multifunctional tool, capable of handling multiple illnesses in humans. And the reason for being able to do so, is because of the endocannabinoid system already described above. Interestingly, all vertebrates, that is, all animals with a backbone have a functioning endocannabinoid system, so except if your pet is a jellyfish or starfish which is very unlikely, similar to humans, it has an endocannabinoid system and so is very much influenced by the many benefits of Cannabidiol. 

How can CBD help your pet?

  • Treats Epilepsy in pets

Like humans, our furry friends can also be epileptic. In fact, it is estimated that up to 5% of all dogs suffer from seizures; seizures can be symptomatic, in which the disease is caused by an underlying brain defect/disease like lead poisoning, or the appearance of the disease could be idiopathic, where there’s no obvious cause; it just happens. Whichever the case, CBD has been shown to severely cut down the cases of the seizures associated with epilepsy in pets. The routine drug for epilepsy in the world of vet medicine is phenobarbital, and while this medication bears the seal of trust of the world health organization, it is known for causing a myriad of side effects, most commonly tiredness and dizziness, loss of coordination, and sometimes liver damage.

  • A strong anti-inflammatory drug

Inflammation is the underlying cause of diseases like arthritis, painful joints, and inflammatory joint diseases. For pets like dogs and cats who enjoy playing and jumping around, you can imagine the level of stress inflammation and how it impacts on these animals. CBD acts as a dynamic pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent that helps overcome these diseases. One study went on to show that in the right doses, CBD also inhibits skin allergies; another result of harmful inflammation in pets.

  • An anxiolytic drug

New and strange environments, separation from loved ones and noise phobias are known triggers of anxiety in pets. In the absence of adequate management therapies, these could lead to depression (yes animals get depressed too) and distorted behaviors like pacing, unnecessary barking, frequent urination and drooling.

CBD is a known anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent that induces the calming effects associated with conventional drug therapies but with the added advantage of actually influencing the cause of anxiety disorders – the brain. Most modern drug therapies sedate your pet instead of addressing the main problem, which is usually linked to the mechanism of brain functioning. CBD via its homeostatic actions, which means the balancing of the organism on the CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the brain, treats anxiety from its root.

  • Treats Infections

Pets by nature are playful and disregard cleanliness, so they are highly sensitive to infections. Luckily, clinical trials have shown that CBD provides sufficient coverage against a long list of both viral, bacterial and fungal infection. Even more impressively, CBD has been shown to counteract cultures of drug resistant bacteria, like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

  • Decrease age-related mental conditions

Want your pet to stay sharp throughout its lifespan? Well, according to one study conducted on rats, you could achieve this by treating your pets to cannabinoids like CBD. In that study, test subjects were administered cannabinoids and mentally evaluated. Not only did they demonstrate better cognitive ability than subjects who didn’t receive cannabinoids, but in fact on closer analysis it was found out that their brains were better preserved in comparison to the test subjects.

Further research into the benefits of CBD on the brain have also shown that they reduce harmful physiological processes like inflammation, and facilitate the development of new neurons, an essential process for memory formation and sustainability.

  • Stronger bones

Bones are the literal framework that gives shape and support to your pet. They are also what empowers it to perform those mind boggling jumps and leaps (dog owners can better relate). Sadly, like humans, pets are subject to bone fractures and age-related issues. Most people who have lived long enough to see their pets grow old, can testify to this. The coming of CBD, might just bring an end to this, or in the more likely scenario make certain that your pet gets to witness your aging process and not the other way round.

The skeletal system of your pet comes with CB2 receptors (recall messengers of the endocannabinoid system), and on short notice from CBD, they instruct bone cells to keep producing more bone tissue. Another instruction they receive is to stop depleting bone tissue (which is a normal body process). The result, longer and stronger bones for your pet; in fact, one study clearly showed that animal models treated with CBD had on the average 42.5% stronger bones than normal counterparts, and what is more, fractures in these treated animals healed faster!

  • Start small

Although it seems that CBD is an embodiment of everything good, like the famous saying goes, “too much of everything can be bad”.  In addition to the instructions that come with the packaging of your CBD source, take the dosage of the CBD for your pet in a step-wise manner – from small to large until you reach the point where the visible impacts of CBD kick in.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22716160

http://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system

http://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/25335-Percentage-of-genetic-similarity-between-humans-and-animals

http://www.ava.com.au/sites/default/files/AVA_website/pdfs/NSW_Division/COMBINED%2520SESSION%2520-%2520Georgina%2520Child%2520-%2520Seizures%2520in%2520Dogs%2520%2526%2520Cats.pdf

https://simplewag.com/cbd-dog-treats/

https://www.leafly.com/news/health/this-dogs-seizures-are-being-treated-with-cbd-d82e

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22738050

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/np8002673

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/25/8/1904.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15030397

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbmr.2513/pdf