When we think of health care, those of us with pets in our lives aren’t just thinking of ourselves and our families. It also falls to us to provide for the health and comfort of our beloved animals, who after all are unable to advocate for themselves. But cats and dogs require different consideration when taking care of their health because their bodies are different from those of human beings and react differently to many chemicals.
But with a more recent innovation in the world of health care, we are seeing some overlap. We are learning that cannabis has health effects on humans and animals alike. Well known for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that is often taken recreationally in addition to its medical uses, cannabis also produces another useful compound called cannabidiol (CBD). This powerful ingredient is the primary component of cannabis that is currently being used on animals.
Cannabis as Medicine
Although cannabis has a long history of being used as medicine, there has been a resurgence of interest in its healing properties in recent years. As many knows, THC has been classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has no recognized medical use. However, in recent years, an increasing number of states have pushed back against this and legalized the compound in their own right for medical use. Meanwhile, while the FDA hasn’t been able to complete a thorough study on the possible medical benefits of THC, it has identified two cannabinoids that it has been able to approve.
A cannabinoid is a chemical compound, extracted from the cannabis plant, that acts on the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is a system of receptors that are spread throughout the body, meaning that a compound acting on the endocannabinoid system might have effects on a wide variety of bodily functions and systems. For example, endocannabinoid receptors are concentrated in the brain. Therefore, stimulating these receptors can be a highly effective way to combat epilepsy. The receptors are also found throughout the nervous system and can be used to treat anxiety.
One of the cannabinoids currently under review and showing a lot of promise is CBD. And it is CBD that scientists and pet lovers alike are finding such a useful new tool in the quest to provide health care for animals.
What is CBD?
CannaBiDog in Englewood, CO describes CBD thus:
CBD is an active compound (called a cannabinoid) that is found in mature hemp plants. It is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it doesn’t produce any kind of “high” or “buzz”. It is a great natural alternative for many dogs who need long-term care but their doggy parents don’t want them to be on a daily pharmaceutical or for those doggies who do not respond to traditional medications.
What should you take away from this? First of all, CBD is not a product that’s going to get your dog high. The psychoactive, or “high,” effect that accompanies the use of THC comes from the way THC binds the endocannabinoids in the brain. Although CBD also interacts with these receptors, it has a different shape and structure, and it doesn’t fully bind with them. Instead, CBD merely stimulates the body’s endocannabinoid receptors. It’s enough to cause a physiological effect, but not a psychoactive one.
Secondly, you need to understand that CBD works because of the way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system. That’s important because endocannabinoid receptors are prevalent in the bodies of animals as well as humans. In other words, CBD is effective when used on your pet for the same reasons it’s effective when used by you. It interacts with the bodies of animals and humans in precisely the same way.
CBD for Pets
While the evidence we have right now is largely anecdotal, it’s also growing, and the future for CBD as a medical treatment for animals and humans alike is looking very promising. Many veterinarians have come out in support of the compound, citing its effectiveness in treating the pains and anxieties so many animals live with. We are seeing more and more case studies in which CBD has functioned effectively and helped an animal live a fuller, more healthy life.
In addition to its pain management benefits, CBD is also a helpful supplement. By including CBD in your pet’s routine, you’ll be boosting his intake of important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A, B12, C, and E. CBD is a great choice to support your pet’s health even if he currently has no complaints. It is being used successfully right now in dogs, cats, and even horses.
How should you administer CBD to your pet? You have a few choices, and you’re going to need to make a decision based on your pet and what works best for him. Oils and tinctures are a great option for beginners, especially for dogs and cats, because they enable you to make minor adjustments to the dosage amount. When starting your pet on CBD, it is always a good idea, to begin with, a low dose and increases bit by bit if necessary.
Your pet might also prefer a chewable tablet. It’s easy to find these tablets flavored, so your pet will believe he’s just getting a treat and take it easy.
No matter what method of delivery you choose, remember to dose carefully. The smaller your pet is, the smaller dosage you should begin with. Factor in the weight of your pet when you make these determinations as well. Finally, don’t hesitate to seek advice from your veterinarian. They may have dealt with CBD with their other patients, and it’s likely they’ll be able to give some good suggestions as to how to proceed safely and effectively.
As the cannabis industry develops a wider variety of offerings, animals have not gone overlooked. CBD is the first product out of this industry—and one of the very few medical products—that is equally effective on mammals of all species and is, therefore, a good option for your pet as well as for you.