A cannabis extract known as cannabidiol (CBD) has shown tremendous promise in treating a whole host of medical conditions. It is safe, natural, and highly effective while still being virtually free of any serious side effects.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a kind of cannabinoid that is extracted from the hemp plant. Cannabinoids are a fascinating group of molecules that play a vital role in the overall health of the mammalian body, as well as being primary components of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a regulatory system that controls:
The overall health and function of the mammalian body relies heavily on the ECS. CBD interacts with the ECS via indirect influence on its two primary types of cannabinoid receptors:
CB-1 receptors – These are mostly found in the brain and spinal cord; otherwise known as the central nervous system (CNS).
CB-2 receptors – These are mostly found in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), immune system, and the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract).
By promoting a fully-functioning ECS, CBD helps the mammalian body achieve a state of overall balance known as homeostasis. When your dog’s body is in a state of homeostasis, then it is effectively operating at an optimal level of health and efficiency.
Benefits of CBD for Pets
Because the ECS is vital in controlling so many different parts of the mammalian body, CBD’s extensive interactions with it results in a wide variety of benefits if given to your pets. These include:
Treating inflammation and/or pain – CBD directly activates TRPV1 receptors to regulate pain, body temperature and inflammation. It also indirectly modulates CB-2 receptors to increase dopamine levels in a region of the CNS known as the mid-brain.
Treating arthritis and other auto-immune disorders – Auto-immune disorders are essentially conditions in which chronic pain and inflammation occur because the immune system targets healthy cells. CBD decreases inflammation by interacting with the GPR55 cannabinoid receptor and by inhibiting the development of an enzyme known as COX-2.
Treating cancer – Not only does CBD boost your pet’s immune system to allow them to more effectively fight off cancerous cells, but it may also keep new tumors from forming. It does this primarily by inhibiting angiogenesis, or the development of new blood vessels that are needed to provide nutrients and energy to the growing tumor. CBD can also help to treat the potentially serious side effects of chemo- or radiation therapy.
Decreasing anxiety and agitation –These conditions are usually caused by separation anxiety, loud noises, confinement, aggression from other animals, and a chaotic environment. CBD decreases these by activating serotonin receptors known as 5-HT1A and increasing levels of an endocannabinoid known as
Treating nausea and/or vomiting –Remember that CB-2 receptors are located in the GI tract, meaning that their indirect activation by CBD results in decreased intestinal distress. Activating 5-HT1A receptors and increasing serotonin also helps with these underlying conditions.
Treating epilepsy and seizure disorders – These conditions are caused by a fundamental dysfunction in the CNS. CBD can help treat seizures by indirectly interacting with CB-1 receptors and increasing the levels of two crucial endocannabinoids: anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (colloquially known as 2-AG).
As you can see, CBD is amazing at treating all kinds of ailments and conditions. Because of its powerful medicinal properties and virtual lack of side effects, it has become a groundbreaking health and wellness supplement that can change the lives of your pets for the better.
Types of CBD Products Available for Dogs & Cats
There are three primary CBD products that are available for your household pets:
CBD Oil Tinctures – This is just CBD oil and is administered via a dropper under your pet’s tongue. This allows it to be absorbed into their bloodstream via their mucous membranes, making it the quickest method and the best option if your pet is vomiting.
Capsules – These are essentially dissolvable capsules that are absorbed via the GI tract and take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to start working (as opposed to 5 to 10 minutes for the tincture).
CBD Treats – These can be used as a supplement in between meals for positive reinforcement and to reward good behavior.
Depending on the needs of your pet and the specifics of their condition, you can choose which of these means of administration will work best in your case.
Full Spectrum vs Isolate
CBD is just one of 113 cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. When you purchase a full-spectrum CBD product, you are purchasing a product that has all these other beneficial cannabinoids still contained within it. It will also retain all the plant terpenes and flavonoids as well as the following compounds:
All 20 essential amino acids
Magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc
Omega-3 fatty acids
Vitamins A, C, and E
Trace amounts (0.3 %) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
On the other hand, CBD isolate is a product from which all the plant material has been removed via a process known as chromatography. CBD isolate has the following benefits:
THC is completely removed
All flavor and odor have been removed
Greater control of CBD levels in the final product
Lower cost per milligram
Considering it is composed of 99% CBD, the isolate is the effectively the “pure” form. Neither is inherently superior to the other; it simply depends on what you are looking for in treating your pets. If you have questions, it is always prudent to contact your veterinarian and potentially get their input on this decision.
What to Look for when Buying CBD for Pets
It is important to choose the best CBD product for your dog or cat. There are companies that are very consistent in the supplements they sell and control for all the following variables:
Pesticides – If you purchase a product that is 100% organic, you can rest assured that the hemp was cultivated without the use of pesticides or GMOs and is gluten-free.
Potency – This will allow you to give your pet consistent dosage amounts of the CBD.
Residual solvents – The most environmentally conscious method of extracting CBD oil involves the use of carbon dioxide (CO2). This method of production results in a final product free of toxins.