What is CBD?
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Like THC, Cannabidiol (or CBD) is a cannabinoid that naturally occurs in cannabis. And after THC, it is the most abundant of the more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis. Most people who have an understanding of cannabis and its effects are familiar with THC and the euphoria and related “high” that it can produce. But unlike THC, CBD doesn’t produce the same sort of hazy euphoria and in fact helps balance or even offset the sometime negative side effects that THC induces in some people such as anxiety, pain relief, and seizures.
How Does CBD Work for Dogs?
All mammals -including dogs and humans- contain the endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found all across the body –from tissues and organs to glands and cells. Although each cannabinoid receptor performs different tasks, the overall goal for them is to keep the body in a healthy, living state.
Endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are also found at the intersection of the body’s various systems, allowing communication and coordination between different cell types. The endocannabinoid system, with its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and all of the body’s organs, seems to serve as a link between body and mind.1
This interaction between cannabinoids like CBD and mammalian bodies is focused on two types of ‘receptors.’ These receptors are CB1 and CB2. There are specific properties in each cannabinoids like THC and CBD that correlate with the endocannabinoid system to relieve specific symptoms and treat specific medical conditions.
- CB1 receptors are responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. They are present in many areas of the brain and play a role in memory, mood, sleep, appetite, and pain sensation.
- CB2 receptors are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis. They are found in immune cells and work to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is an immune response and is believed to be a factor in many diseases and conditions.
How Can CBD Benefit my Dog?
Every dog owner knows how horrible it is to see their beloved pooch in pain -either physically, mentally, or emotionally. And while there are treatments that your veterinarian can prescribe, most are either expensive, ineffective, or potentially damaging in the long run. As more and more humans have begun to explore the potential benefits of the natural healing powers of cannabis, so too have the advocates in the pet world.
Many of the most popular conditions dog owners have been using CBD for are similar to those in humans. Dogs with debilitating conditions like pain and discomfort, anxiety, appetites stimulation, inflamed bowels, seizures, and cancer might find relief from CBD.
What Can CBD Specifically Help With for my Dog?
CBD is a great option for treating a variety of conditions that your dog might have. The most common conditions include pain relief, seizures, nausea and anxiety.
Pain relief is one of the most popular uses of CBD in humans so it makes sense that dogs might find similar relief. One dog owner described how her 12 year-old dog had developed terminal cancer and was given two months to live and tramadol for the pain. When her dog was given the tramadol it made him lethargic and act as if he was dead. The owner saw her pet’s quality of life deteriorating before her eyes and sought cannabis as a treatment. After administering the cannabis, the dog was back to his normal self. “The other great thing is that in the last couple of weeks, Miles has been going to the beach, he’s been running, he’s being himself,” she continued. “If Miles was on the tramadol, he’d be in bed, and he wouldn’t be enjoying anything or eating anything, and he’d probably be dead. I’m just really grateful we found this.”3
Seizures are another common use for CBD in pets. Just like in humans, high CBD cannabis products have greatly reduced or even stopped seizures caused by epilepsy and Dravet’s syndrome from occurring. According to a report by the Australian Veternary Association, an estimated 1-5% of all dogs can suffer from either symptomatic or idiopathic seizures. Symptomatic seizures are typically caused by abnormalities that exist inside or outside of the brain (e.g., encephalitis, head trauma, metabolic health problems, lead poisoning). Idiopathic epilepsy, however, has no underlying cause and may be genetic.4 As Leafly reports, dogs that suffer from epileptic seizures are commonly prescribed phenobarbital. “While it’s recommended by the World Health Organization to treat certain types of epilepsy in developing countries, it can carry some serious side effects in both humans and pets, including lethargy, increased appetite, dizziness, confusion, and long-term liver damage.”5 It makes a lot of sense to treat your dog with CBD if the other prescribed treatments are too harsh or ineffective. And as mentioned above, there may be some risks associated with CBD for dogs, a natural remedy may help to control their seizures.
Nausea is a common side effect for dogs suffering from a range of conditions including motion sickness, bowel diseases, change of diet, and use of other medications among many others. According to an August 2011 article published by the British Journal of Pharmacology, “The primary non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, CBD, also suppresses nausea and vomiting within a limited dose range…Preclinical research indicates that cannabinioids, including CBD, may be effective clinically for treating both nausea and vomiting produced by chemotherapy or other therapeutic treatments.”6 This makes sense, of course. Cannabis has been used in human cancer patients for decades as a treatment for the effect of chemotherapy and other nausea-inducing therapies. Obviously you should seek out the advice from your vet but consider CBD as a viable treatment plan for your nauseous dog.
Anxiety, another really intriguing use of CBD is to help treat anxiety among dogs. Dogs exhibit anxiety in various ways. Some symptoms to look for in your dog include hiding, seeking comfort, shaking and panting, excessive licking or chewing, excessive barking and howling, aggression, trying to escape their crates, excessive energy, house-trained excretion, destruction of furniture and other objects, and panic attacks.7 A recent study showed some clinical results that might help to prove that CBD is effective in animals including dogs. The study states that in studies, “using animal models of anxiety and involving healthy volunteers clearly suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD.”8
What are the Downsides for my Dog?
Many veterinarians might scoff at the idea of treating your pet with CBD rather then their prescribed treatments. Some vets might not take the idea seriously or strongly dissuade you from approaching alternatives to their pharmaceuticals. But the trends we’re seeing in human consumption of cannabis and the impacts that it has on our well-being and quality of life should be reason enough to at least allow the conversation to be had with your vet about using cannabis as an appropriate treatment option. If your vet refuses to here you out, consider finding a second opinion.
Another downside to cannabis for your dog is the potential of them ingesting cannabis with too high of THC and not enough CBD, which you will never find in any Barkables product. Our entire line of treats and serums contain the purest form of CBD with 0% THC, so there is absolutely no psycho-active effect on your dog. Just as in humans, high concentrations of THC can induce anxiety and paranoia in pets; that’s the last thing you want for your four-legged friend whose been suffering from a debilitating condition.
CBD is a promising treatment option for dogs. With that in mind, the same is true for human consumption of medical cannabis yet many patients find it to be a great option for treating their symptoms and increasing their quality of life for themselves and their pets. If using CBD for your dog is something you want to explore, we recommend you trying the Barkables line of pet CBD products.