I’m sure you’ve heard about cannabidiol, i.e. CBD. These days it seems like hemp-based products are all the rage, being touted for benefits ranging from decreased anxiety to increased flexibility.
When I first heard about CBD and how it could help my dog, I had a lot of questions:
- Why is this suddenly so popular?
- Is CBD safe for my dog?
- Will it make me (or my pet) high?
- How could one substance possibly help so many different ailments?
So I did a little reading about the basics, because I thought that if CBD was the real deal, my dog would probably need some in her life.
Here’s what I learned and why you might consider CBD for your dog too.
The Endocannabinoid System
First, let’s address the elephant in the room.
You are probably familiar with cannabis in some respect, which despite its modern day reputation, has been used as medicine in many different cultures for thousands of years.
All animals (including us!) naturally contain receptors that interact with cannabinoids, the chemicals found in cannabis. These cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, including the brain, nervous system, immune system, and organs. The body also produces substances, called endocannabinoids, that interact with these receptors.
This body system is called the endocannabinoid system, and while no one knows every in-and-out of the system, we do know that the endocannabinoid system is heavily involved in regulating homeostasis in EVERY tissue in the body. In other words, it helps keep the cells in a happy state of “just right” so they can do their best job. Think: “High on Life,” but not actually “high.”
Endocannabinoids can act differently in different tissues, which is why the benefits from cannabinoids are so widespread.
What is CBD?
Ok, so we know that the body produces its own endocannabinoids to stimulate these receptors. Well cannabis plants produce phytocannabinoids, chemicals that can also affect our natural receptors.
THC is one of the most well known and psychoactive phytocannabinoids, but there are other non-psychoactive cannabinoids with healing properties, such as CBD.
The cool thing about CBD is that it will not make you or your dog high. See, CBD acts on the receptors in a different way than THC, so you have nothing to worry about on that front!
There’s a lot of detailed information about the specifics of CBD, but for the purposes of this blog, just remember: CBD works because it targets the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, but in a safe way that will not make you or your dog high.
Also, most CBD products originate from hemp plants, which are part of the cannabis family, but contain less than 0.3% THC (4).
What Does CBD Do For Dogs?
There is actually research about the health benefits of CBD use in dogs that goes back several decades!
While more research is needed regarding phytocannabinoid oil for dogs, science believes that CBD is helpful for dogs with these conditions:
- Seizures and Nervous System Dysfunction
- Pain and Inflammation in any capacity
And the really neat part is that in every research study, CBD for dogs has proven to be a safe supplement with zero side effects when used at the correct dosage.
Recent research at Colorado State University preliminarily showed that CBD decreased the frequency of seizures in 89% of dogs in a clinical trial (1). And another recent study found that CBD helped increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis (2).
The reason that these studies, and many more with similar results, are exciting is that CBD use is an alternative treatment to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which have some pretty nasty long-term side effects for your furry friend.
Take Home Message
You can bet that more information about CBD is coming your way, both on this blog and in the news. For now, hopefully this helps debunk some of the information out there about CBD for dogs.
Remember, high quality CBD is safe for dogs when administered in the correct dosage and concentration. Do your research about the best CBD for dogs and choose one that has been tested and verified by veterinarians.