Cannabis for Dogs – Cannabidiol (CBD): The Basics

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a buzz word getting a lot of traction these days, but although CBD is a compound known to be derived from both Marijuana and hemp since the 1960’s, the booming popularity of Cannabis products have people asking a lot of questions. What exactly it CBD?  Is it safe for me and for my pets? We have all heard the term, but their is still a lot of cloudiness surrounding what CBD is, what the associated benefits of using CBD are, and concern and confusion regarding weather or not using CBD is potentially harmful.

According to numerous clinical trail and teams around the world, CBD can be used to treat an array of conditions that include but are not limited to the treatment of Epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, inflammation, anxiety, heart conditions, cancer, and their is even evidence to suggest that CBD can help with pain management and can be used as an alternative to powerful opioids (Rowland T., & Calamita T.).

So what is is CBD? Until recently, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC as its is commonly know, has been the subject of much discussion.  Both THC and CBD are cannabinoids, or compounds found in the Cannabis plant. THC is known for its “mind-altering” effects where as CBD is a non-psychoactive component of Cannabis.  Both compounds yield numerous medicinal benefits (Johnson). CBD, unlike THC however, delivers many of the same medicinal benefits of medical marijuana with out any adverse side effects on cognition or state of mind, meaning you will NOT get high using CBD.  In fact, it can actually have antagonist affects on THC, meaning the CBD can lessen duration and intensity of THC’s side-effects (Project CBD).

How CBD Works:  In both our bodies and the bodies in all animals containing a spine, aka our fur babies, lies the endocannabinoid system.  The endocannabinoid system has two receptors CB1 receptors, located primarily in the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors found on cells primarily in the immune system.  The CB1 receptors, which THC primarily binds to, are found in the brain including areas responsible for motor function and coordination which is why when you smoke or ingest THC it results in an altered-state of mind or a “high.”  CBD has a very low affinity for this receptor resulting in negligible binding, and as a result, your state of mind remains unaffected.  CB2 receptors, found in the immune system however, are indirectly affected by CBD and result in no “high,” while still exhibiting physiological benefits.  Research supports that CBD and THC’s affinity for, or the affect on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, were not statistically different in humans or animals meaning, that CBD positively effects both us and our furry friends similarly (McPartland et al. 737-753).

Evolving History of Cannabis As Medicine:

According the The American Cancer Society, marijuana and hemp extracts have been used as cancer treatment for centuries (American Cancer Society).  Although there is evidence confirming the use of Cannabis predating this record, the earliest written record of Cannabis for medicinal use dates way back to 15th century China in the Chinese Pharmacopeia, the “Rh-Ya” (National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)).  Since then, the interest regarding the powerful healing affects and clinical applications of Cannabis continues to inspire research on CBD in correlation to life threatening conditions.  For example, the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health presents researched-backed support for CBD as a potential anti-cancer drug due to mechanisms that promote cancer cell death and inhibits cancer cell growth, and this is just the tip of the iceberg (Massi et al.) Exciting new evidence about the therapeutic affects of CBD continue to wow the scientific community.  In 2013, a little girl named Charlotte Figi made headlines.  Charlotte had been suffering from hundreds of epilepsy related seizures every week and was no longer able to talk, eat, or walk due to her life threatening condition until CBD became part of her treatment.  Her story spread like wild fire and soon, like Charlotte, many others experienced a significant reduction in the seizures,  from hundreds down to just a few per month, thanks to the healing powers of CBD, and the list of medical applications continues to expand (Interlandi).  Most recently, Alzheimer’s treatment has been added to the file.  Exciting new studies reported on in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, present preliminary evidence supporting claims that CBD is successful in “preventing the development of social region deficits in subjects,” meaning that CBD could prevent deterioration of the brain areas responsible for “recognizing the faces of people they know,” adding to the growing and evolving laundry list of miraculous discoveries regarding CBD as a alternative medicine (Johnson).

What Are The Side Effects?

In 2015, According to the British journal of Pharmacology, CBD expresses “anxio-lytic [or anti-anxiety], antidepressant, antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, anti-nausea, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and antineoplastic [or anti-cancer],” properties that have proven to be very therapeutic and have been exhibited physiological benefits in both animal studies and clinical trials. (Mcpartland et al. 737-753) In some cases, patients presented mild side-effects including lower blood pressure, dry mouth, light headedness, drowsiness, and inhibition of hepatic drug metabolism (Macoveiciuc). Although, according to Medical News Today, “There have been no significant nervous system side effects, or effects on vital signs or moods among people who use it either slightly or heavily” (Johnson). All in all CBD provide us with  holistic, and therapeutic benefits without using drugs, opioids, and the more severe and negative side-effects associated with these.  In a world where medical research is booming and new discoveries are made everyday, it is an exciting time to be alive.  The more CBD is studied, the more the healing possibilities seem endless.

Disclosure:  All media published on this website are not intended as a substitute for medical advice.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding your individual situation/conditions please consult a healthcare professional.

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