CBD is an active cannabinoid compound derived from the leaves, flowers and stems of mature cannabis plants. It provides therapeutic benefits. Visit us now. Watching a pet getting seizures can be a terrifying sight for every pet parent. Muscle spasms, collapsing, drooling uncontrollably, losing consciousness and jerking are all signs of seizures in pets. Is CBD good for the brain? What about your dog's brain? Learn how CBD can be a natural neuroprotectant option for your pet.
UNLEASHING THE POWER OF CBD FOR DOGS
You can’t help but see the surge in popularity of CBC oil for humans, and now it’s for pets as well. It can be rather confusing hearing these new terms – hemp, CBD, THC – so we’ll try to clear things up for you.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the flowers and buds of cannabis plants, but CBD doesn’t produce the “high” associated with marijuana because it doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
To address the issue of legality, hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant but contain different levels of THC. Marijuana can contain as much as 30% THC, while the hemp plant has a maximum of only 0.3% THC. So, while marijuana-derived CBD oil is still illegal in most states, hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in all 50 U.S. states.
CBD Oil vs Hemp Oil
CBD is an active cannabinoid compound derived from the leaves, flowers and stems of mature cannabis plants. It is this compound that provides the medical and therapeutic benefits you get from CBD oil.
Hemp oil is made from the cannabis seeds, which contain little to no CBD. While it doesn’t have the therapeutic characteristics of CBD oil, some pet owners use it as a nutritional supplement because it is rich with vitamins and minerals.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
Veterinary scientific research into CBD is in its infancy, but many vets have started recommending CBD oil for their pet patients. One study at Colorado State University showed that healthy dogs tolerated CBD well, with some subjects showing mild diarrhea or slightly elevated liver enzymes. Long-term effects are still to be determined, but they found no immediate threat of liver toxicity.
Human studies show that cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory effects and can help with anxiety, aggression, pain, seizures, muscle spasms and neurological disorders.
Pet parents are sharing their stories on social media and online forums about the benefits they are seeing from their dogs using CBD. Equally important is that there doesn’t seem to be any reports of major side effects from pet parents or from veterinarians using CBD oil or treats.
The Benefits of CBD
Humans and pets have an endocannabinoid system that lets them benefit from CBD oil. This system allows the active ingredients in hemp to relieve many symptoms. CBD drops or treats can ease many occasional or chronic symptoms such as:
- Anxiety and stress
- Moderate to severe pain
- Chronic inflammation
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Epileptic seizures
- Digestive issues
- Symptoms from cancer
Finding Quality CBD Products
CBD oil for pets is not yet regulated, but there are things to look for when shopping the most effective and safe products.
- How is it grown? High-quality CBD oils are made from organically grown hemp that are free of toxins and pesticides.
- How is it processed? Safe methods include carbon dioxide and cold press extraction using no toxic solvents to extract THC from the plant.
- Independent testing. Look for companies that can provide a certificate of analysis (COA) from testing their products for microbials, pesticides, mycotoxins, solvents, heavy metals and more.
- Check the THC potency. Some products contain higher levels of THC which could be harmful to your dog. Look for products that contain a maximum of 0.3% THC. All products that are hemp derived should fall below this level.
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CBD oil can help in the treatment of seizures in pets
CBD or Cannabidiol is the non-psychoactive component of the Cannabis Sativa plant
Watching a pet getting seizures can be a terrifying sight for every pet parent. Muscle spasms, collapsing, drooling uncontrollably, losing consciousness and jerking are all signs of seizures in pets. Seizures are one of the most common neurological disorders in dogs. They can be caused by several different factors. For cats, seizures are uncommon but not unheard of. Mostly, a seizure lasts only for a few seconds, but if your pet suffers from multiple episodes of seizures, they may be diagnosed with epilepsy. Epilepsy is characterised by unprovoked and recurrent seizures that stem from an abnormality of the brain.
If you suspect that your pet is suffering from epilepsy, you must speak with a trusted vet. Your vet can help diagnose the cause behind your pet’s seizures and suggest treatment methods accordingly.
Epilepsy and seizures are usually treated with the help of anticonvulsant drugs. These antiepileptic drugs prevent seizures or help control seizures in pets. There are a large number of these drugs available today. Sometimes, your vet may advise the use of CBD oil as a supplemental or supportive therapy option. CBD or Cannabidiol is the non-psychoactive component of the Cannabis Sativa plant. This component possesses anticonvulsant properties that reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. CBD does not make animals high as it does not consist of THC—the hallucinogenic component.
How it helps
CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. This endocannabinoid system is a network of several receptors that maintain and regulate bodily functions. Endacannoboindis maintain homeostasis, that is, a stable internal environment. When epilepsy interferes with the internal environment of the body and creates an imbalance, the phytocannabinoids found in hemp help restore the balance. CBD oils and supplements have the ability to calm overactive neurons and control seizures significantly. When a body’s nervous system has been disturbed by disease, illness or injury, CBD oil can help restore homeostasis.
Efficacy in treating seizures
The results of the use of CBD in treating seizures in pets are highly promising. The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is researching CBD’s effectiveness at treating seizures in dogs. In its initial research, they found that CBD helped reduce the frequency of seizures in 89% of dogs.
These numbers have proven to be highly promising and encouraging for pet parents and vets. There are several testimonials by pet parents where CBD oil has helped their furry friends overcome seizures even when conventional drugs couldn’t. The regular use of CBD oil has also reduced the frequency and severity of seizures.
How to use it
The first step would be to speak to your vet. Ask your vet if CBD oil can be added as a supportive therapy option or the current treatment option can be switched with CBD oil. Dosage can vary from once a day to twice a day. Your vet is the best person to recommend the right amount of dosage as it may vary from case to case.
CBD oil can be given to pets in various methods. You can feed it directly, add it to their food, add some to their favorite treats or put it on their paws so they can lick it off. Make sure you use an oil that is free of THC (the compound responsible for causing hallucinations), preservatives and additives. Speak to your vet about which CBD oil would work best for your pet.
(Inputs by Dr Tikeshwar Khawale, veterinary officer, Wiggles.in)
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The Dog Brain: CBD as a Neuroprotectant
The brain is extremely complex. Even after centuries of study, there is still a significant amount of information to learn and many scientific discoveries to come. According to Surgical Neurology International , “ numerous physical, psychological, and emotional benefits have been attributed to marijuana since its first reported use in 2,600 BC in a Chinese pharmacopeia. The phytocannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD), and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) are the most studied extracts from cannabis sativa subspecies hemp and marijuana.”
One of the methods by which scientists study the brain is by introducing it to new materials. In this case; cannabis . One of the most researched study areas involves how cannabis impacts or affects the brain. A recent advance in science indicates CBD could possess neuroprotective properties (the ability to protect the brain in cases of illness and/or injury) .
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THC Versus Cannabis
THC is the most notorious constituent of the cannabis plant due to its psychoactive properties. When the cannabis plant is consumed or more specifically, when it is smoked, the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) moves from the lungs into the bloodstream. The blood carries the compound from the lungs to the brain resulting in the ‘high’ sensation.
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is much different than THC in this aspect. That’s part of the reason the shift in research is moving from THC to CBD. In this shift, the medicinal uses for cannabis have expanded exponentially . CBD still interacts with the brain, but with different receptors, also resulting in a therapeutic effect .
CBD as a Neuroprotectant
Recent research findings show CBD may possess neuroprotective properties ; properties that prevent the breakdown of the central nervous system. Of course, more studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis, but we have a solid foundation to begin with.
As early as 1980, Cunha et al . , reported anticonvulsant benefits in 7 out of 8 subjects with medically uncontrolled epilepsy using marijuana extracts in a phase I clinical trial. Now, we are seeing results in patients with the following conditions :
- Multiple sclerosis
- Lennox-Gastaut/Dravet Seizures
The hippocampus, the portion of the brain that controls memory and emotional response, as well as the cerebellum, has been found to have higher CB1 receptor densities . In addition to memory and emotional response, these portions of the brain are also responsible for pain and movement. THC and other cannabinoids have been found to reduce symptoms and produce positive responses i n studies involving chronic pain.
In a study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry , scientists studied cultured microglial cells (cells that maintain the health of the central nervous system). These cells interact with others to create an inflammatory response when necessary and have been shown to be associated with CB2 receptors. Research suggests CB2 receptors play a critical role in inflammation; and, activation of CB2 receptors has been found in neurodegenerative diseases . Increased levels of activated CB2 receptors have also been found in mice with Alzheimer’s. These findings indicate that CB2 receptors may be useful when diagnosing neuroinflammation in the early stages of disease.
CBD, Endocannabinoid Receptors, and Neuroprotection
Due to the interaction among CB1 and CB2 receptors in neurodegenerative ailments, CBD may reduce inflammatory responses in neurodegenerative conditions. The way CBD interacts with CB2 receptors is one of the pathways found for CBD to serve as a neuroprotectant.
CBD targets cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid receptors, as well as enzymes, cellular uptake proteins, and transporters. According to Surgical Neurology Internationa l, “in animal models, CBD has demonstrated an ability to attenuate brain damage associated with neurodegenerative and/or ischemic conditions outside the ECS . CBD appears to stimulate synaptic plasticity and facilitates neurogenesis which may explain its positive effects on attenuating psychotic, anxiety, and depressive behaviors. The mechanisms underlying these effects involve multiple cellular targets to elevate brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) levels, reduce microglia activation, and decrease levels of proinflammatory mediators .” Essentially, this is scientifically stating that CBD can significantly improve neurodegenerative symptoms by developing new neurons in the brain and increasing levels of communication among cells.
Research in both animals and humans has indicated numerous therapeutic benefits for brain function and brain protection due to direct effects on the endocannabinoid system and influence on endogenous cannabinoids . According to researchers, CBD shows promise as an anxiolytic, neuroprotective anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and immunomodulator.
Traumatic brain injuries have also been under investigation in regard to CBD. Studies support the role of cannabinoids (CBD) and the interaction with endocannabinoid receptors , CB1 and CB2, in repair mechanisms. Studies in animals have shown administration of CBD post-injury reduces short-term brain damage by improving activity in the brain, reducing swelling, and preventing/shortening seizures . These are thought to be improved due to CBD’s ability to produce increased levels of anandamide (an endogenous endocannabinoid– found in a mammal’s endocannabinoid system ).
Legislation hasn’t quite caught up to the available research, but there are promising results indicating CBD may be used as a neuroprotectant in many cases . An increase in documented health benefits, like neuroprotection, must be made aware through public awareness and education . Since there is not much taught regarding cannabis medicine in medical or veterinary school, veterinarians and physicians alike are hesitant to view this as an alternative or supplement to any regimen. An increase in public education, and medical education, is key in advancing the future application of cannabis in veterinary and human practice.