My adventure down the Cannabidiol, aka. CBD, knowledge road started when I visited my first recreational marijuana store a few months ago. I live in Washington State where recreational pot is legal now, which is still feels really strange to me, so I thought I might as well see what a “pot store” looks like on the inside. I snooped around in the store a bit and discovered some CBD dog treats. I thought the idea of giving Chester and Gretel legal “weed cookies” was a bit funny and the health benefits listed on the package were intriguing.
Now. let me be clear. These cookies were not really “weed cookies” in the classic sense. CBD is a compound found in Cannabis plants – both marijuana and industrial hemp. Both types of cannabis contain CBD and THC (the compound that gives people a high) but marijuana has been cultivated to contain high concentrations of THC and very little CBD. The CBD in dog treats is derived from industrial hemp, which contains virtually no THC, so CBD dog cookies will not get your dog high. If you want to know more about what CBD is, where it comes from, and the legality of it in your state, read my previous article Hemp Cookies for Dogs? My Dog is Not a Stoner!
After discovering the hemp CBD dog treats in the pot store, I started to see CBD dog treats popping up all over the place. I received two emails asking if I wanted to feature a particular CBD dog treat on my blog; I found the same CBD dog treats I bought at the marijuana store on the shelf of local pet store; and CBD products for pets was certainly a trend I saw when I attended the Global Pet Expo trade show in Orlando last month. I saw CBD in topical form, treat form, and as an ingestible oil when I was there.
Hemp CBD for pets has become quite the rage. Is this supplement just a trendy ingredient or can it actually benefit your dog?
The history of CBD
CBD is not new. The use of CBD dates back to the 19th century. Queen Victoria used cannabis to alleviate menstrual cramp and relied on it frequently. In the 1980s, studies hinted that CBD could alleviate certain types of pain, anxiety and nausea. In 2010, highly concentrated CBD oil showed some success in shrinking a child’s cancerous tumor. In 2013, CBD-rich oil was able to treat 99% of a young girl’s severe seizures. In 2014, a dog receiving CBD supplements seemed to have reduced seizures.
I haven’t seen any official scientific studies done on dogs proving the claimed benefits CBD (if you know of one, please share in the comments) but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that makes it appear to be a pretty promising health supplement. However, there have been various pre-clinical, general cannabis research done on both humans and lab animals that prove there is some medical benefit in those cases. It’s not a large leap of faith to assume that dogs can experience similar benefits as humans and lab animals.
How does CBD work on the human and animal body and systems?
Each living being has an endogenous cannabinoid system. This system is potentially the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining health. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment. The cannabinoid system also helps cells talk to each other.
Honestly, the complete explanation of how CBD works is a little complicated. I found this description of how CBD works, provided in “layman’s terms”, on the Pet Releaf website so check it out if you want to know more. The bottom line though is CBD interacts naturally with the immune and nervous system of your pets, making them more confident, more relaxed and healthier across the board.
What are the benefits of CBD for pets?
Potential benefits of CBD oil for dogs include:
- Improving general wellness and health
- Reducing inflammation
- Increasing muscle repair after strenuous exercise
- Improving circulation
- Promoting bone growth
- Reducing pain
- Reducing stress and anxiety (including separation anxiety)
- Reducing nausea
- Stimulating appetite
- Lowering blood sugar levels
- Minimizing aggression disorders and noise phobias
- Combating degenerative diseases and aging
- Increasing cognitive function
- Reducing or helping to control seizures
- Inhibiting cancer cell growth
Although I know that supplements can work differently with different pets, I was sold on the benefits. In fact, I was sold on the benefits for me too. CBD works for both pets and people!
Why we’ve been using CBD
I’ve been giving Chester and Gretel CBD for a couple of a months now. I started out with the treats that I bought at the recreational marijuana store. As I saw several more of these products pop up, I decided to do more research on them. I’ve spent so much time learning, I feel like a “doggie cannabis” expert. Ha, ha.
I found that I wanted a higher dose of CBD for Chester and Gretel than is found in the CBD dog treats so I decided to go with a CBD oil instead.
It’s important to me that I give Chester a higher dose of CBD because he is a senior. I want to help him with his old, achy joints. Also, I am pretty sure he is slowly developing a bit of dementia. It’s mild but noticeable. He grumps more now than he used to and sometimes it’s clear that he is confused. For example, this morning I went out to the couch and my hubby got in the shower. The bedroom door was closed but Chester was standing there grumping to get in because he thought one of us was still in there. Poor little buddy 🙁 I hope that the CBD helps him to be mentally sharper or at least to slow the progression of his “doggie Alzheimer’s”.
I started giving Gretel CBD mainly for overall wellness and to help in recovery after our long hikes. However, it’s more important for her to have it now than it ever was because of her Intervertebral Disk Disease diagnosis. I’m hoping that it helps reduce her inflammation, back pain, and that it helps her stay more relaxed while she is confined to a crate.
I decided to go with Pet Releaf, a small company in Colorado that makes CBD 100% organic and lab tested CBD products, for Chester and Gretel. They were willing to have an in-depth conversation with me so I could learn more about CBD for pets and ask questions. They were also kind enough to send us some samples to try. I’ll share more about them, and the other supplements I’m giving to Chester and Gretel, later so stay tuned!
Have you thought about trying hemp CBD for your pets? Why or why not?