Pot For Pets
Hemp/CBD products are helping dogs with all manner of ailments. Here’s how it works and why you may want to give it a try
Just like people, dogs are living increasingly longer lives thanks to better nutrition and health care. The downside is that both dogs and people can face a host of degenerative health issues as they approach their middle and senior years. As devoted pet parents, we’re always searching for products that will help us give our canine kids the very best quality of life so at Modern Dog we’re naturally very interested in all the buzz around hemp/CBD (Cannabidiol) products for dogs. Here’s the low down on this natural approach to pain relief and better health. First let’s clear up any misconceptions about CBD’s. They are derived from hemp, a type of marijuana that can be legally grown as it contains less than 0.3% THC; they won’t get your pet high, but the benefits are many.
Although Cannabis has a 5000-year history as a food and therapeutic product, it’s only in recent years that there’s been an understanding of how it actually works. Turns out, what it does is affect the body’s endocannibinoid system, a group of specialized receptors in the brain and peripheral nervous system that affects how almost every other bodily system works. CBD’s act on these receptors much like a key fitting into a lock, turning on or off certain functions within those cells.
Dr. Caroline Coile, Ph.D. and author of the book Cannabis and CBD Science for Dogs explains it this way: It turns out that just as we naturally produce our own endorphins, we also naturally produce our own endogenous cannabinoids called endocannabinoids or what some have dubbed our “inner cannabis.” Scientists named the first endocannabinoid they discovered “anandamine,” from the Sanskrit word “ananda,” meaning bliss.
The plant chemicals or phytochemicals found in cannabis closely mimic the body’s endogenous cannabinoids. Thus when cannabinoids from cannabis interact with cannabinoid receptors, they elicit the same response as would the body’s endogenous cannabinoids. No wonder cannabis can impact so many body systems!
An extensive review in 2011 looked for any evidence that CBD could have harmful effects. CBD was found to be non-toxic, with very few, if any, side effects.
The list of conditions CBD seems to help is continually expanding says Dr. Coile, and the discovery of the cannabinoid receptor system has opened up entirely new areas of research and potential health benefits. She cites the following list of conditions that have been positively impacted by CBD’s:
- Aging and Mental Function
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Bone Health
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Free Radicals
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Skin Conditions
- Spinal Injury and Vomiting
As this list shows, cannabinoids are increasingly being used as vital tools in the fight against disease—but Dr. Coile maintains that even more important is their value in maintaining health. This is especially true for middle-aged or senior pets. Cannabinoids prevent and combat common complaints of aging, including the diminution of mental capacities, anxiety, lack of appetite, and inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. But beyond that, cannabinoids may simply make pets feel better, improving their comfort, mood, activity, and appetite, so they feel and act like a younger version of themselves. When your dog is more active, has better mental clarity, better muscle tone, better appetite and thus nutrition, and maintains a proper weight, these factors contribute to better health, better quality of life and longer life. And who wouldn’t be for that!
- If you’re interested in reading more on this fascinating subject, we highly recommend Dr. Coile’s book, Cannabis and CBD Science for Dogs: Natural Supplements to Support Healthy Living and Graceful Aging.
- Vancouver Dispensary Society is a non-profit which provides medical cannabis products to thousands of members.
- Iceland Pure makes CBD Tinctures specifically for pets.
- Pet Releaf carries Hemp Oil for dogs.
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