We want the best for our loyal companions, who comfort and protect us when we need them most. Our pets deserve high-quality sustenance– and of course, lots of love and affection.
As humans, we know that nutrition and exercise benefit us both on the inside and the outside. As it turns out, taking care of ourselves physically affects our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the bodily system that regulates multiple key functions in our bodies, and which also interacts with CBD.
Which brings us to the point of this post: did you know that animals have an ECS too?
The fact that animals have an ECS is important because it means that CBD might support their wellbeing in ways similar to us humans. Research on CBD and animals is still in its beginning phases (there have only been a handful of studies), but the molecule is already showing a lot of promise for our animal friends.
While it’s still in preliminary phases of research, the ECS is believed to regulate numerous bodily processes, like sleep, memory, pain, mood, and appetite.
The ECS is comprised of several components: cannabinoid receptors found in the brain, tissues, immune and nervous systems, neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids (which are cannabinoids that mammal bodies produce on their own– and are very similar in structure and function to cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp), and enzymes that regulate their production in the body.
The ECS works sort of like a thermostat in the body. It uses endocannabinoids to communicate what it needs in different areas, which supports the body as a whole by balancing its functions. The ECS is believed to be implicated in numerous conditions in both humans and animals, such as stress, inflammation, pain, and anxiety.
CBD may help to support the functioning of our pets’ ECS. According to Project CBD, it may do so because of its characteristic as a “reuptake inhibitor,” meaning that it may delay the body’s degradation of its own “feel-good” chemicals, keeping them circulating in the body for longer. While there is very little research done on dogs and cats, one study done on osteoarthritic dogs seemed to indicate that CBD was effective in mitigating pain and increasing mobility without observed side effects.
The key difference between the ECS in animals and us? Gary Richter, GVM, an integrative medicine-based veterinarian, says that cannabinoid receptors seem to be more concentrated in animal brains, meaning that they are more sensitive to the effects of cannabinoids than people are.
Another study suggests that cats might not absorb CBD as well as dogs do, but further studies are needed to confirm this.
Anecdotally we’ve heard fantastic results from pet owners; fireworks don’t seem as stressful, limps seem less pronounced, and pets seem more relaxed, at ease, or in the case of old dogs, more lively and alert.
But in light of the lack of research, we need to take great care to choose doses for our pets carefully and monitor them closely until we understand how they respond to CBD. Always talk to your veterinarian before starting a CBD regimen.
Moral of the story? Treat your pets like you treat yourself; lots of belly rubs, appropriate exercise, proper nutrition, and some high-quality CBD.
2019 (peer-reviewed) The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
2019 (peer-reviewed) Safety assessment of CBD-rich hemp products in healthy dogs and cats
2018 (peer-reviewed) Osteoarthritic dog study
2013 (peer-reviewed) Getting High on the Endocannabinoid System
FDA Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. CBD Path products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease. Always check with your veterinarian before giving your pet CBD.
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