by Susan Paretts
Life can be stressful for pets, who deal with everything from vet visits and scary thunderstorms to firetrucks and toddlers. Your four-legged friend is part of your family and you always want the best for your furry buddy, which includes making them as happy and healthy as possible. One way to do that might be incorporating CBD oil into their daily routine.
CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant. You’ll find different types of pet CBD products on the market, designed for use with cats and dogs, but how do they work? Read on to learn more.
Your Pet’s Endocannabinoid System
All mammals, including humans and our fur children, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex network of molecules and receptors that consists of two primary cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are most abundant in the central nervous system. CB2 receptors are most abundant in the peripheral nervous system, circulatory system and digestive system. According to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, the ECS acts like a regulator for many of the body’s other systems.
To help maintain homeostasis, the ECS produces compounds called endocannabinoids. These are cannabinoids produced in the body that interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors. But, sometimes the ECS gets unbalanced. Cannabis contains phytocannabinoids, cannabinoids produced by plants, that also interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD is one of the phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants.
When your pup or kitty ingests CBD, the chemical interacts with the receptors in the endocannabinoid system much like naturally produced endocannabinoids.
More research is needed to fully understand how CBD works in pets, and because every animal is different, you should always consult with your vet before introducing CBD to your pet’s routine.
What Science is Learning About CBD
CBD has gotten a lot of buzz lately because it can be used to help alleviate a variety of conditions in people. So far, research has shown that CBD may help reduce inflammation within the body, which means it could potentially give those who use it relief from painful inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Other research indicates that CBD could have anti-anxiety properties, which could help reduce stress, keeping those who take it calmer. Additional research has shown that because of its calming properties, CBD may help with insomnia as well.
One of the main things that CBD oil may help with is pain. Studies show that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to help relieve pain within the body. Because of the way it works with the ECS, CBD may also help with conditions like depression. Some research has even shown that CBD might help reduce nausea in patients dealing with cancer.
The majority of research on CBD has focused on human or rodent studies. In terms of pets like cats and dogs, research is extremely limited. We don’t know for certain that the effects of CBD on people will be the same with our furry friends, but studies like the ones discussed below are painting a promising picture.
CBD in Pets
When it comes to our furry buddies, science is just starting to find out more about how CBD can help them. A study published in the July 2018 edition of Frontiers in Veterinary Science found that dogs who with osteoarthritis were given relief from the pain of this degenerative joint condition when given CBD oil. After being given CBD twice a day, the dogs appeared to be in less pain and were more active than without it. Pet owners in this study didn’t report any negative side effects from the CBD oil on their dog’s behavior.
Another study published in the June 2019 edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that CBD might help dogs with epilepsy. The results of the study found that dogs who suffered from severe epilepsy experienced fewer seizures after being given CBD oil twice a day. Researchers continue to examine the effectiveness of CBD oil on seizures to hopefully help dogs with epilepsy live better lives.
Although a few studies have been done in pets to examine the positive effects of CBD, much more research needed to better understand how CBD works in pets.
How CBD Oil is Made
Although you may be aware that CBD is all natural, you’re probably wondering just how CBD oil is made and what’s in it. “CBD” stands for cannabidiol, which is a molecule found in the cannabis plant.
CBD oil for pets is commonly made from hemp and contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is associated with causing a euphoric or “high” feeling in humans, and is very toxic to pets. If you do decide to give your pet CBD, make sure it’s a product specially formulated for pets that doesn’t contain any THC.
Most pet CBD oil is extracted from hemp plants using pressurized carbon dioxide (the same stuff you’ll find in carbonated beverages) or, less commonly, ethanol in the same way that essential oils are made. Once the carbon dioxide extracts all the CBD compounds from the plant, they are collected separately and mixed with a carrier oil, like hemp oil, for tinctures (or baked into tasty chews).
Why Heelr CBD
When shopping for CBD products for your pet, keep in mind that not all products are created equal, so it’s important to choose high-quality products made here in the USA that are specifically formulated for pets, not people. You’ll also want to look for products that provide a certificate of analysis (COA) along with their products to ensure that what is on the label matches the product inside. That’s because up to 70 percent of CBD pet products on the market are mislabeled, containing different amounts of CBD or even THC than the label indicates, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Here at Heelr, we know you care about your pets and we are committed to transparency in all our products, thoroughly testing them to meet our rigorous standards. You’ll find a COA available with our products to assure you that they contain what is listed on the label. Our products are also made with organic hemp that is free of toxins and additives.
Want to learn more about our CBD pet products? Check out our tinctures and chews.
Susan Paretts is a pet expert and author whose work has been published in a variety of pet-related publications including the American Kennel Club, Cuteness, World of Wag, The Noseprint, The Nest Pets, The Daily Puppy, Mom.com and GoFetch. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with an MFA in writing and lives with her husband and her adorable furry family members.