CBD For animals
What is CBD
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is an active compound found in the cannabis Sativa plant. This is where a lot of common questions start emerging, hearing the word cannabis – which is currently illegal to cultivate here in the UK. Many people fall off the CBD hype train knowing its origins, as they associate it with it's ‘cousin’ THC – the illegal psychoactive compound found in cannabis, questioning the legitimacy of cannabidiol and legalities associated with it.
CBD however, is entirely legal. It has been hugely renowned for a wide array of beneficial effects on the human body, with the most popular being an overall feeling of relaxation and anti-anxiety effects. These properties also contribute to helping people fall asleep, thus CBD is one of the most popular supplemental sleeping aids available on the market today.
These are just some of the most popular effects of CBD, but there’s a wealth of information and studies online that support its use for other ailments, with some people claiming it has helped their arthritis thanks to its anti-inflammatory and immunoregulation effects. This is also what brings out CBD’s mild pain relief benefits, as it can work at the core to reduce inflammation which is one of the contributing factors that cause pain.
For more information on what is CBD, and how it can affect the body read our handy blog here
So how does it work?
CBD impacts the endocannabinoid receptor activity in the human body. The active compounds in CBD are neurotransmitters that bind to the cannabinoid receptors within our nervous systems. The endocannabinoid system is a complex biological system in the human body and is still somewhat a mystery to researchers as they continue to research exactly how it works. As much as we might not fully understand it, we are aware of its functions, many of which are regulating sleep, appetite, pain, mood, and memory.
CBD has been proven to work for all sorts of ailments with an increasing amount of research behind the compound. Multiple studies praise CBD’s considerable potential as an effective anti-anxiety aid which is one of its most researched benefits. Some studies also suggest that CBD can be beneficial in patients undergoing cancer treatment, with some findings suggesting that CBD may reduce cell division and stunt the development of new blood vessels in cancerous masses. Most commonly, CBD would be used to reduce the side effects caused by cancer treatment, such as nausea, pain, and general physiological and psychological stress caused by the illness.
Does CBD have the same effect on animals?
We now know that CBD can be used effectively on humans, but do the multiple benefits also apply to animals? The answer is yes. The endocannabinoid system is present in every living vertebrate. That’s including, but not limited to, cats and dogs.
A study, including 30 dogs, proves that different routes of CBD administration did indeed modify physiological activity in dogs. Each dog received one CBD product at concentrations adapted to their body weight – a CBD capsule, oil, or transdermal cream. The first two administration methods investigated CBD absorption orally, whereas the cream was applied externally.
Over the study duration of 6 weeks, it was found that the CBD was in fact detectable in the dog’s blood plasma, meaning it had been successfully absorbed. There were different levels of absorption, however, with oral CBD administration being the most effective, meaning if you’re looking for a fast-absorbing CBD product for your pet, you might be best going for an oil. The study also emphasized that CBD was very well tolerated by the dogs, with no side effects spotted by the researchers.
Study data on CBD use on cats is a bit more limited, with one small study consisting of 8 cats given an oral CBD supplement showing a lower absorption of the compound over 12 weeks. A small percentage of cats had shown excessive licking with no other side effects.
There are little additional studies on how CBD impacts cat behaviour, however, there are a lot of positive anecdotes online from cat owners who had tested the supplement on their felines. The majority of reports suggest that CBD had helped ease anxiety in their pets, with one user claiming that CBD oil had helped tremendously with their cat’s Hyperesthesia – a condition where cats might excessively scratch, lick or bite at their own flank, with additional destructive behavioural symptoms.
CBD for pets – what to look for
Before administering CBD to your pet, it is highly advised that you contact your veterinary practitioner and consult with them before coming to a decision. As much as studies suggest there are no severe side effects when giving CBD to cats or dogs, your veterinarian will be able to advise you best on dosage, and whether CBD is the best treatment option for your pet. Keep in mind that many behavioural issues in pets can come as a result of an existing physical condition – therefore when using CBD for such issues it’s recommended that your pet is examined first for any underlying medical conditions.
There are lots of CBD pet treats out there in a variety of flavours that might make administering CBD a lot easier for pet owners, and make a delicious snack for your pet.
However, CBD in oil form allows for maximum absorption. If you are looking to get the most out of your CBD 'treatment plan', or looking to help a pet with more severe conditions such as arthritis, cancer care or pain management you can go for higher concentration CBD oils for pets that come in pet-friendly flavours that will appeal to their taste.
While versions of CBD aimed at animals might be easier to administer by making it simpler for them to consume - essentially any pure, high-quality CBD oil will be sufficient. Make sure your CBD oil is purchased from a reputable company, and preferably contains no additives or preservatives. CO₂ extraction method is also optimal when looking at the quality of the product, as it preserves the full spectrum of cannabinoids and does not involve any heat or solvents during the production process.