With more than a half a dozen states having now fully legalized cannabis (both hemp & marijuana) and with 19 more medically legalized states, the momentum for full cannabis legalization is accelerating in the United States. Among the many benefits that cannabis legalization would bring, one that is not mentioned as often is the prospect of using cannabis to treat our pets. Many dog owners and veterinarians have already come out vouching for the healing properties of CBD oil, a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
The use cases and benefits of CBD oil for humans have started to become widely known through various peer-reviewed studies. Among others, CBD oil has been recommended to help with conditions such as anxiety, addiction, depression, chronic pain, arthritis, seizures, and more!
As we get to know more about the effects of CBD for mankind, we find ourselves naturally asking: Could CBD help our canine companions? Scientifically, dogs (and most mammals) have a similar anatomy to humans. Studies in the last decade have shown that the endocannabinoid system can be found in most mammals. Considering that CBD works directly with this nervous system, we can confidently conclude that CBD will have some sort of influence on our dogs. But how?
CAN CBD HELP OUR DOGS?
Early research and anecdotal testimonials show that CBD has helped pets in many different ways. Here’s a preliminary list of various conditions that CBD has been found to help treat (and/or cure):
Deteriorating Quality of Life
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Joint & Mobility Issues
Phobias (Fireworks, Thunderstorm)
In more general terms, feedback from pet owners show that CBD can be used to soothe your dogs. Some particular examples are during situations such as separation anxiety, thunderstorm fears, social anxiety, and long-distance traveling.
One of the biggest use cases that veterinarians are coming to find are with joint pains that dogs tend to suffer as they get older. Hemp CBD has been found “useful in treating acute ailments like sprains and strains, torn ligaments, bone breaks, and even during post-operative care to reduce swelling, pain, and stiffness.”
More than anything, the most promising aspect of using CBD is the fact that it could help your dog get off synthetic drugs, which typically has many short and long-term side effects. Even if it can’t fully replace the conventional drugs, hemp oil could possibly help you lower the doses that the dog has to take.
HOW CBD WORKS FOR OUR DOGS- THE CANINE’S ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Research on how cannabinoids (including CBD) affect the human body has shown that they mainly interact with our endocannabinoid system, a nervous system that exists throughout our body.
This endocannabinoid system, also called ECS, has now been found to exist in all vertebrates, including mammals. Animals such as dogs were specifically found to share almost 70% biological homology with humans. Thus, it can be cautiously concluded that CBD interacts in a similar way in canines as it does in humans. Similar to how CBD interacts with receptors in our ECS, cannabinoids bind to receptors within the dog’s body. One study in particular found that the CBD “binds to these receptors for a longer duration [in dogs], and evokes long-lasting therapeutic response without causing toxic effects.”
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