When chronic diseases hit your pet dogs, they hit you hard, too – emotionally, physically, and mentally. It is not surprising, therefore, that more and more pet owners nowadays are turning to CBD oil to help cure their four-legged best pals. The increased patronage for CBD oil continues despite some controversies surrounding its usage. If you’re one of the worried dog parents, you may want to consider CBD oil as a treatment option or a supplement. As you read on, you will know its best-known benefits — some claimed and some verified. Then, you can decide if it is best for your dog.
While CBD oil has helped hundreds of dog owners, caution must still be exercised in administering the product, lest it worsens the conditions of your ailing dogs. While some of its health benefits have been tested and proven already, others still need to undergo a comprehensive testing among canines. Do not practice self-medication; seek first the veterinarian’s consent.
Basic CBD Facts
Cannabidiol or CBD one of the 113 different types of Cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis or marijuana plant. Contrary to the belief that CBD acts like the Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC compound, CBD is not psychoactive. It promotes healing without inducing hallucinations or feelings of high.
While both THC and CBD compounds come from the same cannabis plant, they significantly differ in terms of effects (Atakan, 2012; Ther Adv Psychopharmacol). The THC compound causes the euphoria or extreme elation while CBD does not. THC is a psychoactive or psychotropic compound that alters cognitive functions. Its plant source is intentionally cultivated to have higher amounts of THC. When cultivated in this fashion, the resulting psychoactive effects become more potent. This is especially advantageous to cannabis users who are after the euphoric effects of THC.
Meanwhile, CBD is extracted from cannabis plants that are nurtured without THC cultivation. Those plant sources, known as hemp, have low to zero levels of THC. CBD is used for medical treatments without the “drugged effects” of marijuana. Its health benefits are numerous, both in animals and humans.
So far, there have been several clinical studies that investigated the positive effects of CBD on human beings, exploring its functions in all possible medical fields. In the quest for a cancer cure, for instance, a study has proven that CBD aids in the treatment. It also has confirmed benefits in alleviating pain and inflammation, in decreasing anxiety and psychosis symptoms, and in reducing seizures and muscle spasms. (Kogan et al. 2007; Dialogues Clin Neurosci).
The success in human application led to the expansion of the scope of CBD research. Over the past few years, scholars and scientists explored CBD application on animals, particularly on cats and dogs. Apart from knowing the health benefits, efforts are focused on ensuring animal safety. Through time, the research has expanded considerably to include a broader range of animals, not just the felines and canines (Iffland et al. 2017; Cannabis Cannabinoid Res).
To the dog lovers, here is the good news: several published stories have shown an amazing recovery from different diseases among dogs, even those suffering from terminal diseases are now being saved.
Legality of the Use of CBD for Dogs
Arguments over the use of CBD hemp for canines are still ongoing in such a way that the prevailing conclusions constantly change. You may be lured into thinking that since it is advised as beneficial, its use is completely legal. However, according to the Drug Enforcement Association or DEA, CBD is illegal in 50 American states, regardless of how noble your intention is. Among those countries are the following: West Virginia, Nebraska, Indiana, Idaho, Kansas, and South Dakota. So far, only 44 states have legalized its medical application.
That said, the conclusions are ever changing. Thus, if you live in any of those places that consider the possession and use of cannabidiol illegal, you are not to lose hope. With an increasing number of scientific evidence about its health benefits, your state laws are bound to become pro-CBD in the near future. It is best to frequently check the laws then.
Since federal laws are sometimes conflicting, you exercise due diligence in doing research. There are CBD laws that have specific provisions while others only offer general guidelines. As a pet owner wanting only the best treatment for your pooch, familiarize yourself with the statutes and other legal provisions for the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, possession, and use of CBD.
Nowadays, with the advent of social media, keeping abreast with the latest news about CBD use for dogs becomes easier. There are also communities, group pages, and forums you can participate in where users exchange views and opinions about the legality and other issues concerning CBD. If you are interested to know more about the legality of CBD, you can read the article published in the High Times.
Available CBD products for Dogs
Today, there is a growing number of research studies and testimonials confirming the health uses of CBD for dogs. With this, several governments are liberalizing their laws over the manufacture and distribution of CBD. CBD dog products are now in the market with 3 different forms: dog foods, dog pills, and CBD hemp oil for dogs.
More so, an average consumer already has an access to CBD products in online shops and local food and pet shops. Of course, a prescription from your trusted veterinarian is a must when buying CBD.
Albeit its wider market distribution and consumer acceptance, pet owners are still advised to verify the manufacturer’s or the retailer’s credibility. Government control over its sale and quality may not be that solid as of now. Not to mention that there are businesses that may take advantage of the increasing patronage of CBD products.
CBD Health Benefits for Dogs
By now, you already know a brief background about CBD. You are aware that CBD oil is beneficial for dogs. But in what ways exactly? You will find out below.
As you go on reading, you will discover that the studies used to justify the claims about CBD oil are based on animal studies, canine research, and human trials.
One of the foremost health benefits of CBD oil that lured in thousands of pet owners is the reduction of seizure incidents or epileptic episodes in animals. Approximately, a remarkable 1 to 5% of dogs suffer from seizures, be it symptomatic (caused by a separate disease) or idiopathic (caused by brain or metabolic structural problems). While seizure and epilepsy treatments are available for your favorite four-legged canine, there are instances when your pet is not responsive to medications or treatments. CBD, fortunately, is proven to decrease seizures in dogs up to a certain extent.
Comparatively, in humans, there is what is called the Dravet Syndrome, one form of epilepsy that is characterized by seizures caused by fevers or high temperatures. CBD is proven to help patients suffering from Dravet Syndrome with drug-resistant seizures.
Dogs also experience muscle spasms brought about by neurological problems, injuries, allergies, or drug side effects. CBD serves to reduce the rate of occurrence of muscles spasms, as well as its severity. You can apply CBD oil on the affected areas or on the whole body if the spasms are not localized.
CBD also relaxes the muscles in animals. Diseases such as myasthenia gravis, hypertonicity, myositis, and meningitis tense up the muscles in dogs. It would be a good idea to be handy with CBD oil.
One of the widely known health benefits of cannabis is treating glaucoma, an eye disease that may cause blindness. Dog lovers out there found refuge in CBD as it helps treat their pets with glaucoma. CBD oil can be administered substantially in order to at least alleviate the disease-related pain temporarily.
CBD proves to help normalize your dog’s heart conditions. Specifically, it treats arrhythmia, a heart condition characterized by irregular heartbeat, either too slow or too fast. CBD works by supplementing the CB1 receptor antagonist which also used as a medication for arrhythmia (AM-251). Treating arrhythmia in pets lowers the risk of a deadly cardiac arrest and enhances blood circulation.
As confirmed by several studies, CBD improved the body’s circulation, yielding several health benefits like healthier organs and improving lethargic behaviors. In dogs, poor circulation is associated with heart problems, lethargic behaviors, and Dirofilaria immitis (aka heartworm). So other than regular exercises and proper nutrition, adding CBD hemp oil can be your dog’s key to wellness.
Chronic Pain Relief
Dogs also suffer from chronic pain secondary to injuries or illnesses. The problem becomes complicated and alarming when the conventional methods of pain control are ineffective or inappropriate. CBD, once again, is proven to treat chronic pain in animals and humans. The possibility for it to be as successful in dogs is high, although canine studies have yet to confirm this.
Veterinarians are already having open discussions about utilizing CBD for canine treatments, particularly those with heart ailments and therefore prevented from taking powerful pain relievers, lest they worsen the problem. In this case, CBD oil may work to treat the chronic pain as it does not interfere with any heart functions nor yield any harmful cardiovascular effects, unlike narcotic drugs.
Among chronic conditions that can possibly hit your favorite pet is arthritis, which is common among dogs that are already advanced in years. In this case, the narcotic drugs may not be advisable as the older dogs may already have weak hearts. It may be worth to try CBD to treat severe arthritis in dogs as it is relatively safer compared to the traditional medicines. Clinical studies have already proven its effectiveness in substantially reducing arthritis pain. Compared to the typical arthritis medicines made available for dogs, CBD directly alleviates the inflammation and mediates the pain.
CBD oil is also useful in treating joint pains in dogs, possibly caused by strains, tears, or sprains. These are common among senior dogs who are more prone to mishaps. Since they are less likely to tolerate the side effects of traditional pain relievers, applying cannabis hemp oil might be a good alternative. While there is yet little evidence on its application on dogs, there have been human trials and research conducted on other animals that proved its mediating effects on pain.
We’re not only talking about physiological diseases here, but also psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. When your beloved pets experience any of these, you also feel down or agitated yourself while attending to their abnormal behaviors. Studies have shown that CBD aids in treating both anxiety and depression among dogs. CBD is a good alternative to synthetic psychiatric medicines, especially for aged dogs or those with other health problems.
CBD works by stimulating the brain to release serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and behavior, into the system. This helps dogs to calm down and relax. CBD is also proven to help in the regeneration of neurons among dogs.
Anorexia nervosa, commonly known as anorexia, is an eating disorder prevalent in humans. Patients develop the fear of gaining weight, hence, they eat less or worse they completely stop eating. Sadly, dogs are not exempted from this damaging eating disorder. It is a real concern among dogs, especially among the older ones. It can either be illness-related or treatment-related (e.g., chemotherapy).
Pet owners are not to worry too much. CBD has been proven to help in normalizing appetite in dogs. It, therefore, aids in treating canine anorexia, CBD stimulates your dog’s poor appetite by increasing responsiveness to smell and consequently improving the tastiness of the food. Overall, these mechanisms create a more pleasurable experience that your dog looks forward to the next meal.
Related to appetite problems is irritable bowel syndrome or IBD which is common among dogs. Likewise, CBD has proven health benefits in not only reducing the inflammation and pain related to the disease but more so in completely eradicating the disease.
Tumors and Cancers
Cancer is the leading cause of death among dogs and tumors are among the visible signs of cancer, particularly those classified as malignant. The C-word can be depressing to pet caretakers, but let us fight the Big C with another C-word – CBD oil.
Research has shown the effectiveness of CBD in reducing the tumor size prior to surgical operations or even in killing it off. Admittedly, more clinical confirmations are still needed to guarantee the safe and effective use of CBD in canine tumor treatments. However, it’s also hard to simply ignore the narratives of pet owners, claiming the anti-tumor benefits of CBD. This said, allow me to share my friend’s story. His Labrador retriever had an oral tumor and desperate for a cure, she applied CBD oil on some parts of the tumor. Surprisingly, those parts dried up, turned black, and gradually chipped off. The sad thing, though, is that the tumor was too aggressive that it started to grow back uncontrollably. It came to a point where the tumor obstructed the dog’s normal functioning. If not for the tumor’s antagonistic nature, the CBD oil could have completely cured the disease.
There are similar stories like my friend’s experience. You can check out the story of a terminally ill dog and how cannabis has helped in its treatment.
Mind you, CBD is not just for cancerous tumors; it is for all kinds of cancer. Studies have demonstrated the role of CBD in the delaying and eliminating animal cancer. One of the dangers of cancer is the unprecedented metastasis which leads to further complications. CBD blocks cancer cells from generating energy and growing in number. It has also anti-proliferative property that brings about a host of other health benefits. Among them is the prevention of tumor cell migration and attachment to organs and tissues in dogs. In other words, CBD not only destroys cancer cells but more importantly inhibits the spreading of cancer. It is for these reasons that veterinarians are now concentrating their efforts on studying CBD oil for the treatment of cancer in their latent stage among dogs.
The brain is an important organ and CBD helps in protecting it from possible nerve damage and cell deterioration. Dogs taking in CBD will less likely experience cognitive decline. Furthermore, CBD is given to dogs that have experienced a recent trauma that affects the brain or to those that are likely to experience a disruptive neurological event.
Does your dog have a sweet tooth or genetically predisposed to have diabetes? Do not fret. CBD is found to help in controlling appetite and regulating blood sugar levels. It, therefore, aids in mitigating the manifestations of diabetes both in humans and animals. In type 1 diabetes, CBD works by normalizing the immune system to avoid pancreatic damage, which only exacerbates the symptoms of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, CBD enhances the body’s responsiveness to insulin.
CBD oil reduces canine nausea. Chronic diseases often require the use of powerful drugs. Among the side effects is nausea, which is accompanied by a host of other problems. In dogs, nausea may lead to poor appetite and significant weight loss. If your pooch is already suffering from a disease, it couldn’t afford to be thin and lethargic. You may consider supplementing its treatment with CBD oil.
Brittle bones are common among older dogs. Calcium deficiency and genetics are also contributing factors to osteoporosis, a bone disease that breaks bones and impairs movements. Amazingly, there is a growing number of research on the positive effects of CBD in treating osteoporosis. It fortifies damaged bones and promotes the growth of new bones. CBD further helps in the management of pain caused by osteoporosis.
Stronger Immune System
CBD regulates a hyperactive immune system and lessens the occurrence of auto-immune diseases in dogs. It, therefore, prevents further damage to your pet’s other body organs. An example of an auto-immune disease is psoriasis. Thankfully, CBD has immune-regulatory and anti-inflammatory properties that greatly help in reducing the manifestations of psoriasis.
Also, a stronger immune system helps fight off infections. Studies have shown that CBD delays bacterial growth and sometimes extinguishes the bacteria completely.
The anti-inflammatory and pain-regulatory properties of CBD enable animals to recover from surgeries. There is no doubt that it works similarly for your dog. The evidence is strong for bone-related surgery recovery as CBD is known to help strengthen and promote bone growth.
Dogs with sleeping problems, particularly those caused by cognitive impairments, are now being treated with CBD. Canines with cognitive problems like dementia experience difficulty in differentiating night and day and ends up with abnormal sleeping patterns. As mentioned, CBD triggers the release of serotonin which helps in calming the nerves and allows your pet to doze off.
CBD is enriched with antioxidants that prevent cell damage caused by free radicals in animals. It does similar work in dogs as antioxidants are known to help fight allergies and other skin problems. It also prevents the onset of diseases and health problems related to aging.
CBD research focusing on animals, specifically on dogs, is yet in its early stage. Future studies and clinical trials are yet to confirm or solidify the claims over some of its health benefits in dogs. However, there is no denying its practical application in the medical field. In fact, more and more advantages are emerging to include even those we least expect. This only shows that the research direction is progressing in the right way. We never know, it might also cure sexually-transmitted diseases in dogs in the future.
Provided that CBD use is legal in your place and you believe in its application, you can visit your vet and ask for a prescription or advice. Remember to follow the required dosage and not get discouraged when you meet an unwilling vet who is hesitant to recommend CBD to your dog. Instead, find assurance in the growing number of studies validating the safe and effective use of CBD oil and the increasing number of doctors who are turning to CBD for treatment of chronic and severe canine diseases.