If you have a sick pet at home, chances are you’ve heard of CBD. However, you may still be unsure about trying it and need to know if it’s safe for your pets.
Before you jump into the world of CBD too deeply, it’s critical to know what CBD is, what it can do, and what it cannot do. While CBD has some key therapeutic properties that can be highly beneficial for pets, you should know as much about it as possible before you take the plunge.
Let’s take a look at CBD for pets and how it works. Then we’ll get into some of the benefits of CBD for pets.
What Is CBD?
For starters, CBD will not get your pet “high.” CBD or cannabidiol is one of over 113 compounds found in cannabis, the plant we often associate with marijuana. However, CBD has no known toxicity level and is incapable of causing an overdose.
What’s more, most CBD pet products are sourced from hemp, a strain of cannabis that naturally contains very low levels of THC, the compound famous for its psychoactive properties.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD influences the endocannabinoid system found in all mammals. This system, known as ECS, is responsible for the management of a variety of internal biological functions, including sleep, memory, and inflammatory immune responses.
CBD acts on receptors in the ECS to help better manage common functions in the body. On a general level, it has a balancing effect that prevents the body from over-reacting to certain stimuli. For instance, the ECS helps to calm inflammatory responses that can result in increased pain, returning the body to homeostasis.
For this reason, CBD has been shown to help both humans and pets to deal with conditions of anxiety and pain caused by inflammation, particularly that brought on by arthritis. It has also helped to treat other issues, such as convulsions and seizures.
Before we get into the benefits of CBD, it’s essential to realize that many of these findings are based on research conducted on animals and humans. The effects of CBD are similar in people, dogs, cats, and other pets, as all mammals have an endocannabinoid system.
6 Powerful Benefits of CBD for Your Pets
Although there are many potential benefits of CBD for pets, the following are some of the most common and important ones. Let’s take a look!
1. CBD Manages Stress and Anxiety
Anxiety is common among domesticated pets, including both dogs and cats. Common forms of pet anxiety include noise anxiety, separation anxiety, and travel anxiety. Some pets can also develop specific phobias and fears that are difficult to treat. If your pet displays any of the following behaviors, they may have anxiety:
- Unusual urination and defecation around the house
- Persistent chewing
- Tireless barking
CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety in pets (and humans) by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Studies suggest CBD improves mood and reduces feelings of fear and anxiety. Over time, it can also have anti-depressant qualities and reduce stress.
2. CBD Eases Pain
The endocannabinoid system plays a significant role in how pain is managed in the body. As such, CBD acts as a painkiller in a couple of different ways. First, it has anti-inflammatory qualities, acting on CB2 receptors to create an immune response to fight inflammation. This effect is particularly beneficial for pets suffering from chronic conditions such as arthritis, MS, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Second, CBD helps to stop the absorption of anandamide, a chemical that helps dampen pain signals in the brain. In this way, CBD increases the concentration of this chemical, which, in turn, reduces the sensation of pain.
3. CBD Reduces Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms that can be caused by a variety of conditions. However, persistent nausea can be a serious symptom leading to dehydration, fatigue, decreased appetite, and rapid weight loss. As such, treatment is important and the condition needs to be monitored.
Fortunately, CBD is an antiemetic, meaning it reduces the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. By activating the 5-HT1A receptors found in the ECS, CBD can reduce feelings of nausea and prevent subsequent vomiting. Interestingly, stimulating this receptor also has anti-anxiety effects.
Of course, there are plenty of antiemetic medications on the market, but they often come with harsh side effects. As such, CBD is an excellent alternative to try, as its side effects are minimal.
4. CBD Helps Control Seizures
One of the most well-known and well-researched uses for CBD is as an anticonvulsant. In other words, it helps to control seizures, tremors, and spasms. In fact, CBD is now commonly used in humans to treat epilepsy and manage seizures, and in pets, it can be used in much the same way.
What’s more, CBD has also shown promise in managing symptoms of multiple sclerosis and the tics and tremors caused by Tourette’s Syndrome. That said, it is not known yet how exactly it works as an anticonvulsant. In theory, CBD stimulates the ECS to promote order amongst the neurons in the brain, thereby preventing bouts of rapid uncontrolled firing and limiting the onset of seizures.
5. CBD Slows the Growth of Tumors
Like in humans, cancer is a common cause of pain and death in pets, and chemotherapy treatment comes with a long list of unpleasant side effects, including intense fatigue and nausea. As heartbreaking as it is to learn your pet has cancer, research suggests that CBD can help slow the growth of cancerous cells and even prevent them from spreading.
Research into how CBD affects cancer cells is ongoing. So far, studies have shown CBD can cause programmed cell death, inhibiting the growth of cancer. It has also been shown to protect against colon cancer in rats, halting the development, growth, and spread of malignant tumors.
6. CBD Promotes Homeostasis
The reason CBD appears to have so many beneficial health effects is that it promotes homeostasis. Homeostasis occurs when bodily functions are in balance and biological systems are functioning as efficiently as possible. While scientific understanding is still in its infancy, the ECS appears to have a direct impact on the management of many different internal bodily systems.
Many diseases, in both humans and pets, are caused when the natural biological balance is off. As the ECS plays a role in this balance, cannabinoids like CBD can have a profound overall effect on health and wellbeing.
For this reason, many pet owners treat CBD as a daily supplement, much like vitamins and glucosamine, rather than as a treatment for specific symptoms. CBD has proven to be a powerful and low-risk treatment option for pet owners. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to get your CBD products from a trusted source.