CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol, is an extract made from the hemp plant. As cannabis based products flood the drugstore shelves, many people want to learn more about this natural product. In fact, dog owners may have noticed it’s showing up at pet boutiques, and indeed, even the retail section at your veterinarian’s office.
So, what is all the hub-bub about this plant based compound, and, is it just a marketing fad or is there more to it? This article will explore the basics of CBD for dogs so you can decide if it is right for your dog.
The Endocannabinoid System: Yes, Your Dog Has One!
In the early 1990’s, researchers discovered a biological system found in all mammals that was previously unknown: The endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS includes special receptors, neurotransmitters, and enzymes that are unique to this system. The body produces what are known as “endocannabinoids” that activate this complex network which interacts with the central and peripheral nervous systems.
As researchers began looking at different tissues in the body, they found that these receptors were especially concentrated in certain areas of the body, including the gut, the skin, and the brain for starters. In the years since, researchers found that the ECS acts to regulated various processes throughout the body. These include digestion, sleep, skin growth and lubrication, inflammation, mood, and more.
In addition to being stimulated by specialized proteins made by the body, this system is also activated in complex ways by the compounds found in cannabis. One of these compounds is THC, the compound that causes the “high” of marijuana. Another is cannabidiol, or CBD, which does not cause a high and is found in high concentrations in the special strain of cannabis known as hemp.
Veterinary Science on CBD for Dogs
It’s important to understand that despite the fact that medical research into the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD have been going on for decades on tissues, lab animals, and humans, veterinary medicine is relatively new to studying this natural compound on dogs specifically.
Among the more notable studies on dogs are this one, which show an increase in mobility for dogs suffering from OA. In addition, the anti-seizure properties of CBD are the subject of a clinical trial being held at Colorado State University College of Veterinary medicine after an initial smaller trial showed great promise.
That being said, there is reason to be excited about the potential of CBD for future therapies based on medical research in a variety of different fields. While the science still needs more development, research does seem to suggest that CBD may reduce inflammation, calm anxiety, support skin health, boost the immune response, improve digestion, help regulate appetite and sleep, and more.
Talk to Your Vet About CBD for Dogs
According to a recent survey, nearly half, or 45.5% of vets are comfortable recommending CBD for their patients because side effects are rare and mild, and many pets do indeed seem to benefit from this extract. On the other hand, other vets want to wait until more clinical trials are done on dogs before recommending the product to their clients.
You do not need a prescription to try cannabidiol for your dog. CBD made just for dogs is available over the counter and or you can buy it online from trusted retailers. However, it is important to understand that if your pet is experiencing symptoms, only a veterinary consultation can rule out potentially serious conditions that need medical treatment. And, CBD can interact with other medications, so talking to your vet before adding it to your dog’s daily regimen to be on the safe side.