CBD, or cannabidiol, is the new buzz in the veterinary world. CBD oil, produced from the hemp plant, contains very little THC which is the psychoactive compound in the marijuana plant that causes you to get high. Pets are extremely sensitive to THC, with low levels causing toxicity. Since the legalization of marijuana in many states, the pet poison control centers are reporting increased numbers of pets being treated for marijuana toxicity.
CBD oils and products produced for the pet industry are required to contain no more than 0.3% THC. Because CBD is non-psychoactive, the cannabidiol can be taken for its significant health benefits. CBD interacts with the body through the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) or endocannabinoid system. First discovered in the late 1980’s, the endocannabinoid system regulates the body’s general state of balance, impacting such functions as mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, and pain and immune response.
The endocannabinoid system is found in all mammals. The body is capable of making some of its own cannabinoids, but in the past we have not supplemented the diet with these natural chemicals. CBD has been the focus of more than 23,000 published studies about cannabinoids in relation to various medical indications including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer and chronic pain in humans.
CB1 receptors are widely distributed, but are particularly abundant in areas of the brain, including those concerned with movement, coordination, pain and sensory perception, emotion, memory, cognition, and endocrine functions. CB2 receptors are found mostly in the immune system, and they seem to reduce inflammation and certain kinds of pain.
CBD oil is different than the hemp seeds or organic hemp oil you commonly find in grocery stores. Derived only from hemp seeds, hemp seed oil is a great nutritional supplement, containing many vitamins and minerals and other healthy constituents, but it does not contain cannabidiol.
Studies have shown that CBD oil does not cause changes in blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, or blood glucose levels. CBD benefits include anti-inflammatory effects, anti-convulsant activity, antioxidant, decreases nausea, decreases anxiety, and is therefore a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, and anxiety.
I have been using CBD oil for many of my patients for a variety of problems including seizures, pain, cancer, inflammation, and anxiety. I have started using it myself to treat pre-cancerous skin lesions and I now give CBD oil to all of my dogs (seniors with arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic inflammatory conditions). My horse is suffering from EPM, or Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis, which is a disease that affects the spinal cord; I recently started using CBD oil to decrease his symptoms. My father is also taking CBD oil to help with Parkinson's symptoms.
I recently attended a lecture given by a CBD oil researcher. The studies being done for children with seizures are nothing short of miraculous. When asked, he told me every member of his family, including all the children, take a daily dose of CBD oil as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cancer-preventing supplement. Sounds like a good plan to me.