Pets are just wonderful. Dogs are man’s best friend. Cats are there for you, whenever you need them. These animals encompass over 5000 years of love, companionship and brotherhood, all culminating in your favourite pal going for walks and barking at the mailman, or just lazing around in the sun’s rays.
Everyone loves pets.
However, pets get sick and, sadly, they don’t live as long as humans. We do everything we can to try and help them, make sure their lives are as happy and carefree as possible, but it’s still possible that they can suffer from any number of conditions.
We give them medication, take them to expensive vets and just generally do everything we can to help them.
However, with the recent explosion in CBD use as a medication, is it possible we could be giving cannabis to our pets?
Could weed actually help our furry friends?
How Does CBD Work, and Does it Work for Pets?
So first of all, how does CBD work at all?
CBD, the non-psychoactive component of the Cannabis Sativa plant, is the second major compound in marijuana that interacts with your body, with the other one obviously being THC.
CBD acts as a bit of a counter to THC, providing some defense against some of the negatives inherent with the psychoactive compound. A study published in the Journal of Psychoses and Related Disorders* found that CBD works to actively hinder the negative effects of THC, most significantly the increased risk of developing psychosis as a result of too much regular exposure to THC.
CBD primarily works by triggering the CB1 and CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system that exists within the human body. This endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered by Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist who led the research into the benefits and mechanics of cannabis.
It turns out that this ECS interacts with the majority of bodily functions concerned with health and regulation, ultimately being responsible for a great number of functions we take for granted. For example, the existence of inflammation in the body is generally caused by the CB1 receptors, as discovered by the National Academy of Sciences*. Through the use of CBD oil, we could actually trigger these receptors and encourage our body to help the body heal itself naturally.
It also turns out that this ECS exists in other mammals as well, most significantly in the same animals that we keep as pets.
Because pets also possess this same system, CBD has the potential to interact with them in the exact same way as humans.
Most medicines usually have some kind of problems when you attempt to use them with a different animal than what they were designed for, but CBD oddly doesn’t seem to be one of them.
Knowing that CBD works on dogs and other pets just as well as with humans, what could we be using CBD to help them with?
What is CBD Good for?
CBD has been shown to be incredibly helpful for a variety of conditions, many of which many pets suffer from as well.
CBD is primarily useful because it lacks any kind of significant side effects that might make your pet listless or even sicker.
Out of all the myriad conditions that CBD could help your pets with; here are three major issues that could be helped thanks to CBD.
CBD has been demonstrated, thanks to a few landmark cases, to have a significant benefit to those suffering from epilepsy. From the remarkable case of Charlotte Figi, we can see that CBD had a huge effect in cutting down her seizures.
Thanks to a study published in the journal of Epilepsy Research*, Emilio Perucca found hard evidence stating that CBD helps to reduce seizures. The study concluded that, when mixed with Clobazam, a common anti-seizure medication, CBD reduced seizures by a huge amount thanks to their combined effect on the brain.
This applies equally to pets, as epilepsy is a condition that affects tens of thousands of pets all over the world.
Sadly, instead of treating an epileptic dog, owners will often just throw the dog out on the street or take it to an adoption clinic.
It’s possible that CBD could be just what your dog needs to help combat its seizures.
Especially important for owners of rescue dogs, anxiety is something that frequently affects pets.
When a human is diagnosed with anxiety, they are able to seek help from a doctor, be prescribed anti-anxiety medication and talk to a counselor about their negative patterns of thought and learn, through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), to combat those thought patterns.
For a dog… Not so much.
Besides being given some herbal relaxing pills flavored like their favorite foods, most vets simply recommend to just deal with it.
CBD has been demonstrated to have a benefit similar to normal anti-anxiety medication in a study* conducted by Crippa et al., which found that a variety of lab animals, when given CBD and made to undergo a variety of strenuous, anxiety-filled tests, experienced lower levels of anxiety when compared to a placebo group.
Thanks to this study, CBD is growing to become accepted as a good way of dealing with anxiety in dogs and other pets.
For those with rescue animals, anxiety is a real problem in their new pet, so it’s possible that CBD might help them significantly.
Pain & Inflammation
Pain is never fun – our body’s natural way of alerting us to an injury is problematic and irritating, especially if the pain is chronic and doesn’t go away.
However, we humans can self-medicate in order to deal with the pain. We can buy over the counter pain medication, or just mentally justify to ourselves that the pain is nothing more than our brain trying to warn us. We can deal with it.
For pets, however, they can’t just deal with it. If you’ve ever seen a dog that’s extremely sick or in pain, you’ll notice that they try and hide away in a bush away from their family, because they think they’re dying and are trying to keep themselves away from anyone else.
With CBD, however, we can help mitigate our animals’ suffering without the same side effects as conventional pain medication.
Too often, dogs are prescribed pain medication that leaves them feeling dopey or otherwise useless, just to get through their pain.
CBD has been demonstrated to reduce pain in a more natural way, without severe side effects, in numerous studies, such as one conducted by Hill et al.* which concluded that CBD triggers the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors to tell the brain to stop creating the sensation of pain.
No one likes tricking their pets, but if we have to trick our pets’ bodies to make their lives easier, it seems a good thing to do.
How to Give CBD Oil to Pets
To give CBD to a human couldn’t be simpler – simply by them some tincture, oil or vape e-liquid and let them take it however they want based on their needs.
However, pets aren’t quite as intelligent as humans. They don’t understand limitations in quite the same way – there’s a reason that we have to keep our dogs away from our secret dark chocolate stash; they’ll eat themselves into an early grave at the end of the garden, instead of indulging sparingly like a human.
Due to this, you can’t just let your pet have unlimited access to your vast stockpile of CBD – instead, ration your CBD through your dog’s food intake. One of the most common methods of CBD usage, CBD oil, is easily administered through food.
Simply sprinkle the requisite amount of CBD oil onto your pet’s food; they will eat it as though the oil isn’t even there, meaning they don’t even realize they’ve had their medication.
Make sure you figure out the amount of CBD you need to give your pet based on weight; there are a variety of different calculators available online, but just remember that your pet likely weighs far less than you and thus needs a far smaller dose.
However, it is important to note that, according to a study conducted by Samara et al.*, dogs have a very low oral absorption of CBD when compared to a direct, intravenous insertion. In the study, only around 13 to 19% of the CBD was actually tested to be bioavailable to the dog after oral administration.
This will be factored into any online calculators you use to figure out the amount of CBD to give your dog, but it’s important to consider that, especially where dogs are concerned, oral application is far less effective, though it is a lot easier than injecting your dog every day!
Final Thoughts on CBD for Dogs
CBD oil is quickly becoming recognized as a hugely beneficial medicine – it’s helping people with psoriasis, back pain and even social anxiety and is being imbibed more and more across the world.
However, we’re not using it to help our pets. Considering we love our pets, likely more than we like other people in some cases, it makes sense to consider doing anything we can to try and help them.
It’s possible that, using CBD oil, you can help your furry friend live a fuller and happier life.
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