Cannabinoids and Cannabidiol (CBD) are extracted from the Cannabis species of plants that historically were harvested for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive chemical in the plant used for marijuana. Cannabidiol lacks the psychotropic effects common to THC and retains the possible medicinal benefits. While most research has been performed on the human side, we suspect many of these benefits carry over to pets, but we still have more work to do to prove it.
CBD has many potential benefits for our pets. It is most often used as an anti-inflammatory “medication.” Inflammation has four cardinal signs – pain, redness, swelling, and heat. CBD” treats these symptoms, but its benefit extends way beyond reducing them. Most importantly, it lacks many of the drug interactions and consequential safety concerns many of our other pain management medications contain, making it effective and safer all around. CBD also has a diverse array of use to some palliative care, cancers, seizures, and anxiety. Not to say it’s a magical cure-all, but it has strong potential to help many dogs and cats with less concern for side effects. It’s an integral tool in my arsenal that I use to enhance the impacts of some of our other medications or enable us to use lower doses of those medications, so I’m a big fan! Here’s how it works: There’s something called the endocannabinoid system, which is distributed through the entire body. Its job is to promote homeostasis or balance. It contains two receptors. The first receptor, CB1, lives in the nervous system, abdominal organs, and hormonal system. The second receptor, CB2, is based within the immune system. Like a key turning into a lock, CBD binds to these receptors to help restore the body to normal. It also encourages the body to manufacture more receptors, increasing the benefit with time.
With CBD’s growing popularity over the last few years, a multitude of products have emerged. Some of these are great, but many not so much, so please ask your veterinarian before giving them to your pets. The most common forms of CBD include treats and oils. CBD treats can be metabolized more rapidly than its oil equivalent, so more frequent administration may be needed. Sometimes the baking process can result in lower CBD concentrations. The oil form is quick to work but comes in all sorts of concentrations. More dilute products carry the risk of eliciting diarrhea with the amount of volume needed to meet bare minimum doses. Some animals can become more sleepy, lethargic, or even hungry when given CBD. Due to the expense of products, desire to help our animals and not hurt them, research or reaching out your veterinarian is recommended to avoid ineffective or potentially dangerous CBD products. Ideally products should be tested by a third party to ensure efficacy, adherence to product label, and avoiding THC, which is toxic to pets.
I’m proud to say I have brought the use of CBD here to City by the Sea Vet and we prescribe it to many of our patients. Owners report positive outcomes almost all the time, some see no difference but happily we have no adverse reactions! If you think your pet could benefit from CBD come in and talk to us about it! We can discuss this and other homeopathic approaches to help your pet.
– Dr. Bri