The benefits of all-natural CBD products are spreading. It’s no longer just people finding relief through this novel new compound; it’s now our pets. Considering the benefits pet owners are experiencing from using a little CBD for the treatment of pain, anxiety, and inflammation, It’s not surprising these benefits are trickling down to their furry friends.
CBD oil for dogs might have started as an experiment by concerned dog owners, but it is now a well established at home therapy. Even veterinarians are beginning to prescribe it in their practice (in some areas). Vets, pet owners, and even the pets themselves are seeing improvements to the quality of daily doggy life.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About CBD Oil For Dogs
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in cannabis plants, including medical marijuana and the more benign industrial hemp plants. Both types contain main valuable compounds known as cannabinoids. It’s these little molecules which have proven so helpful to human, and now canine, health and wellness. If you are new to the wild and wonderful world of CBD, cannabinoids, and cannabis, here are ten things you didn’t know about CBD oil for dogs.
CBD Works for Humans and Pets
Many medications don’t cross over from pet owners to their pets, but CBD oil for dogs is different. All mammals, dogs, cats, and humans included have something called the endocannabinoid system. This system manages pain, inflammation, the function of the immune and digestive systems, mood, memory and more. Although many haven’t heard of this network of receptors and naturally produced chemical communications, it plays a huge role in making life bearable on a daily basis.
Cannabidiol is interesting because it works with this endocannabinoid system, even though it comes from a plant. Many of the other cannabinoids found in cannabis lock into our endocannabinoid receptors, including the THC molecule, but CBD works a little differently. It subtly works to activate our receptors without locking into them.
When your cat or dog takes CBD, it works in much the same way as it does when you take it. It gently interacts with the network of receptors spread throughout our bodies and helps it return to a more balanced state.
Cannabidiol, just like the hundreds of other compounds in the plant, only work on mammals, because we are the only animals with an endocannabinoid system. Using CBD oil for dogs, cats, and presumably, rodents is an effective way to target many of the same health issues. Don’t try to dose your lizard or goldfish with CBD oil, they don’t have the same endocannabinoid networks, and it will have limited effects.
CBD Is Not Psychoactive
Many people are rightfully worried about giving a substance derived from marijuana to their pets. Won’t it make them feel high? Responsible pet owners don’t want to dose their dogs with an illicit drug, which could trigger a terrible experience. But with CBD, the situation is much different.
In the cannabis plant, there are hundreds of naturally occurring chemical compounds. Everyone has heard about THC, and increasingly CBD, both of which are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the molecules which interact with an animals’ endocannabinoid system. But what many people don’t realize, only THC triggers a ‘high.’
THC is the only psychoactive compound in cannabis. If you could magically remove the THC from the plant, and leave everything else the same, you could smoke as much as you wanted and never feel a thing. Because unlike CBD and many of the other compounds, THC directly interacts with an endocannabinoid receptor called the CB1. The THC molecule slips into the receptor like a hand into a glove or a key into a lock, and this direct interaction is what triggers a high.
All other compounds in cannabis, including CBD, work much differently. Instead of a direct relationship, they indirectly influence the receptor. What this means is that CBD doesn’t work directly with either of our two cannabinoid receptors but instead modulates the system through non-cannabinoid channels.
CBD is Safe
Increasingly cannabis is demonstrating itself to be a safe substance. If it contains THC, it may not always be an appropriate or pleasant experience for some (think about treating pets or children with a psychoactive substance), but it has never lead to any deaths.
Cannabidiol, on the other hand, is much more favorable, and with no psychoactive properties, it’s much more applicable as a therapeutic option. It will never trigger a high and has so far proven safe to use even in high doses. In a recent publication re-visiting the research on CBD, a group of researchers concluded: “In general, the often described favorable safety profile of CBD in humans was confirmed and extended by the reviewed research.”
On top of that, even the World Health Organization (WHO) the intergovernmental authority on health and disease has deemed the compound safe. In 2017, “the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) concluded that, in its pure state, cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm.” You can’t get more conclusive than that.
If you need reassurance that the same safety profile of CBD for people is transferable to CBD oil for dogs, cats, and other mammals, even the American Veterinary Medical Foundation has started to discuss it with its members. There are also a number of clinical research trials going on exploring CBD’s usefulness for animals, and most studies on CBD thus far have been performed on laboratory mice and rats.
CBD Oil Reduces Anxiety
One of the main reasons why people have started giving CBD oil for dogs is for the treatment of anxiety and related aggression. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from high levels of anxiety, perhaps related to poor treatment or a trauma in their past. Loud noises, other people, or animals can all be a cause of stress, but there is little dog owners can do to insulate their pup from these outside stimuli. Cannabidiol, however, offers a new approach to anxiety and anxiety-related aggression in dogs.
But how exactly does CBD oil for dogs work on canine anxieties? There aren’t any doggy clinical trials yet, but there have been numerous experiments performed on laboratory mice as well as a few clinical trials with humans. Authors of “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders”, which was published in 2015 said, “We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely.”
Again, these were not puppy-based studies, but consider there are many similar anxiety disorders in the doggy-world, there is likely some crossover. Speak with any dog owner already using CBD oil for dog anxiety, and you’ll hear story after story of positive benefits. It’s now so popular that veterinarians in legalized states have started issuing prescriptions to dogs, from legal medical marijuana dispensaries for the treatment of animal anxiety.
CBD Can Treat Seizures and Epilepsy
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first cannabis-based drug in the United States for the treatment of intractable (difficult to treat) forms of epilepsy. Epidelix is a drug made from the CBD found in cannabis. The announcement reconfirmed what many people have been saying for years, that CBD is one of the most effective and low-risk options for the treatment of challenging forms of epilepsy.
Cannabidiol for epilepsy is one of the reasons why CBD is so accessible these days. The well-known story of Charlotte, a young girl using cannabis-derived CBD to reduce her seizures made headlines around the world almost a decade ago. She is the name behind the strain Charlotte’s Web, which contains no measurable levels of THC, and is entirely non-psychoactive.
But what about for dogs? Considering both our furry friends and us have an endocannabinoid system, which operates in very, very similar ways, many pet owners have found CBD useful for treating their dog’s seizure disorders.
Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist and assistant professor at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, is knee deep in research into this very idea. She has already completed two clinical trials of CBD for dogs with seizures and has just started a new crossover study of CBD for epilepsy in dogs sponsored by the American Kennel Club.
CBD Oil Reduces Inflammation
One of the main medicinal properties of CBD its powerful anti-inflammatory characteristics. Inflammation is the root cause of many illnesses and a symptom of many more. It often leads to pain, discomfort and chronic illness. Its linked to neurodegeneration, digestive issues, and chronic pain.
According to a recent summary of the literature on CBD for inflammation, the little benign cannabinoid packs a punch in four unique ways. First, it prevents cell proliferation, which is cell creation run amuck. If left unchecked cell proliferation can lead to tumor development, or can trigger an autoimmune response.
Secondly, CBD suppresses cytokine production. Cytokine is the substance secreted by your immune cells when they are stimulated. Usually, this is a healthy and natural response when you (or your pets) are trying to fight off disease or illness. Unfortunately, sometimes this response never turns off. If there is an excess of cytokine, inflammation can get out of control.
Thirdly, CBD triggers apoptosis in cancerous or mutant cells, which means it triggers cell-suicide of any rogue cells building up in your body. What makes CBD so unique, is that while it is inducing cell-suicide in cancerous or mutant cells, it also seems to protect any healthy ones.
Fourth, CBD triggers the production of Tregs (T-regulatory cells). These cells are crucial for regulating the immune system, and for the prevention of autoimmune disease. With more Tregs, your body can keep its immune response in check.
CBD Relieves Pain
There is some evidence that CBD can also help relieve pain, primarily related to inflammation and neuropathic pain. In humans, many of the studies about cannabis for pain explore THC or whole plant medicine with the entire spectrum of cannabinoids. That said, there is still a suggestion that CBD, whether used alone or in combination with other cannabinoids, can help reduce daily and chronic types of pain.
One study which is of particular interest for pet owners looks at CBD oil for arthritis-related pain. The study examined an arthritis model of pain in rats. They applied a topical CBD infused gel and discovered some surprising results after four days of application. Based on this rat model of pain, they concluded: “CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side-effects.” Elderly dogs and cats often develop arthritis, inflammation, and joint stiffness. They may benefit just like we do from a daily dose of CBD.
In another recent study, CBD was named as a novel new therapeutic option for chronic and neuropathic pain. Dogs and cats, especially senior animals with injury or severe illness in their past are especially prone to lingering pain. You can see it when you watch them walk up the stairs, or go for a walk. This study suggests that systemic administration of CBD “significantly suppress chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain without causing apparent analgesic tolerance in rodents.” A wonderful discovery, considering the many adverse side effects of common painkillers on the market today.
CBD Oil May Target Cancer Cells
While it is too early to call CBD the cancer miracle drug, there is substantial evidence showing it promotes cellular apoptosis (cell suicide), slows the progression of cancerous cells throughout the rest of the body, prevents metastasis, and more. The research is still in the very early stages, which is to say, in the laboratory petri dishes, but many researchers are excited about the potential.
According to some statistics, approximately 50 percent of dogs over the age of 10 develop some type of cancer. Common types include lymphoma, breast (mammary) cancer, bone cancer, and skin cancers. Of course, some breeds are more susceptible to certain types of cancers than others, but the numbers are still staggering. So far, there is evidence showing CBD targets many types of cancer cells, including breast, skin, and bone.
If the research pans out, CBD may become an exciting new natural way to treat cancer. It might be used in combination with other therapies, or used as daily maintenance and prevention. The preliminary indication is exceptionally compelling about the possible cancer-fighting abilities of CBD, but also because it’s just so safe to use even in acute doses. Many people are interested to see what direction the research goes, both for human clinical trials of CBD for cancer, and for applications for their pets.
CBD Oil Aids Digestion
Dog owners have at least one story about a time when their pets digestion went south. But for some dogs and cats, their digestion is a constant and neverending issue.
Part of the reason why CBD oil helps with digestion is because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Gastrointestinal distress often comes hand in hand with inflammation throughout the digestive tract. And while your furry friend may not be able to tell you about their issues, there are noticeable signs that they are experiencing some tummy aches. These include changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, flatulence, diarrhea, or constipation.
Again, there aren’t any studies exploring how CBD can help gastrointestinal issues in dogs (or cats) specifically, but they have looked at it in lab rats as a precursor for clinical trials in humans. Some of these studies have shown CBD can help intestinal motility, which means it may help improve the timely movement of foods through the digestive process. When this system is out of sync, it can lead to diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and belly aches.
With more study, scientists are hopeful there is a place for CBD in the treatment of Crohn’s Disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and many other tummy rumblings. It’s likely that this application for CBD transfers well to dogs and cats.
CBD Oil is Neuroprotectant
Today, CBD is undergoing study for its use as a neuroprotectant. There is some preliminary work suggesting it can help slow down the onset and reduce the severity of symptoms from dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Huntington’s Disease. While these diseases are strictly human based, there are many dog and cat versions of neurodegeneration which may similarly benefit from a dose of CBD.
While dogs might not develop the same types of neurodegenerative diseases as people, they can develop similar ones. Some common conditions are mucopolysaccharidosis, Schipperkes, ceroid lipofuscinosis and degenerative myelopathy. Although you might not have heard of them, they trigger identical symptoms in your dog, something which you might expect from a dementia diagnosis.
Its pure speculation to assume that because CBD helps in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases in humans, that it will also work on dogs, but its safety profile has already led some owners to test it out. Pet owners today have reported positive benefits for dogs in decline, and noticeable improvements to daily life.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Dogs
Pet owners are on board, and veterinarians are slowly coming around. More often than not, vets will at least know about the potential of CBD oil for dogs, even if they remain hesitant to prescribe it. Just like with human physicians, most vets want to wait until there have been doggy clinical trials to start using it in their own practice. That said, in regions with open access to CBD as medicine (46 states and counting!), there are quite a few professionals now working CBD oil into their clinical practice.
There are other ways to introduce the benefits of CBD oil into your dog’s daily routine, methods that are a lot less stressful and way more affordable than a visit to your vet. Why not begin with CBD dog treats? Paw Treats, made with a unique formulation of CBD hemp oils, and other natural ingredients are a safe, effective and secure way to get your pet’s health back on track.
The Agility Paw Treats treats combine CBD with Frankincense resin, turmeric, glucosamine and more into a formula specifically designed to improve movement, joint pain, and inflammation. These ingredients were hand-selected and studied, by a group of Swiss and German researchers. They settled on this combination of elements because they each are valuable for mobility issues, related to injury, inflammation, or joint pain. Working together, they help your aging or injured canine companion get back to tail wags and walks in the park.
So while many vets are waiting for the approval of the official veterinarian organizations to use CBD in their practice, you can start a regiment of daily treats at home. Because CBD oil for dogs is so safe to use, there is little risk if you wanted to give it a shot. Your dog’s day-to-day experience of pain and inflammation should dissipate, and his quality of life will improve.