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If you happen to follow the latest trends in pet health, you have probably stumbled upon CBD oil for dogs. Or, you may have seen this supplement on the shelves at your local health food store and wondered what it is. Read on to learn what CBD oil is made from, how it works, and a few of the most common uses and research-backed benefits of this supplement.
The Basics of CBD oil for dogs
CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol, is one of over 100 compounds found in the cannabis plant. While it is sometimes refined from medical grade marijuana, cannabidiol is more often extracted from a very specific strain of cannabis known as hemp. So what makes hemp a special strain of cannabis? It has less than .3% THC, the compound in cannabis responsible for the “high” associated with this plant. THC is also dangerous for dogs.
As you may have heard, the legalization of marijuana in several states has led to the accidental poisoning of beloved pets, leaving many people wondering if CBD oil is safe. It is an important question to ask! The answer is yes, as long as you are using a CBD Oil formulated specifically for dogs from a trusted manufacturer. This condition matters since added flavors used to make CBD oil more palatable for people can sometimes cause a problem for our pets.
How Does CBD Oil Work
In the early 1990s, scientists researching how various chemicals in cannabis react in the body discovered a previously unknown system in the body, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). In the coming decades, further research demonstrated that the ECS serves as a regulatory system for a variety of very important processes including sleep, mood, immune function, skin health, pain, inflammation, motor coordination and more.
CBD oil interacts with the ECS by engaging various receptors found throughout the body. While the body produces its own natural endocannabinoids, CBD oil and other compounds found in cannabis can also trigger the ECS in surprising ways. It turns out that humans are not the only mammals who have an ECS. Dogs, cats and most other mammals also have this important biological system.
The Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs
Pet trends come and go, but there is a reason to believe that CBD oil for both human and pet health isn’t going anywhere. After over 20 years of medical research, and the growing acceptance of the therapeutic value of medical cannabis, there are a host of studies that have demonstrated both the safety and the efficacy of cannabinoids for various maladies. In addition, the first CBD based pharmaceutical, Sativex® was approved by the FDA earlier this year, which will no doubt open the flood gates in terms of domestic medical research on cannabinoids.
Research has shown that CBD may help:
- Alleviate Pain – One of the most studied aspects of how CBD works in the body is how it works on pain. In fact, this natural supplement can help reduce the amount of other prescription medications used to treat pain from injuries, post-operative care and even chronic pain conditions. Since both NSAIDs and opioids have significant negative side effects, CBD oil offers an important potential benefit for dogs. Many veterinarians are excited about the potential for integrating CBD into a pain management plan that reduces the use of these powerful pharmaceuticals, particularly for long term applications.
- Reduce Inflammation – CBD oil has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect when used either as an oral supplement or when applied topically. This is great news for our senior pets since inflammation can cause both pain and the degeneration of joint health that comes with age, and in more serious cases, Osteoarthritis. Hip and elbow dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) and other degenerative conditions are also characterized by both pain and high levels of chronic inflammation.
- Improve Skin Health – One of the biggest surprises in CBD research in the last decade has been the discovery that the ECS plays a major role in skin health. It acts to promote lipid production for moist and healthy skin while also exerting an antibacterial effect when applied topically. If your dog is suffering from dry patches of skin or itchiness from allergies, cannabidiol may be one natural treatment option. However, as with any health concern, it is critical to check with your vet first. This is especially true with skin problems which often result from a more serious underlying cause such as food allergies or autoimmune disease.
- Calm Anxiety – Another well-researched health benefit of CBD oil is its role in regulating mood, most specifically, decreasing anxiety levels. CBD can help calm your dog, for instance, during a thunderstorm or when you leave the house. However, it also helps with helping to forget the trauma associated with a trigger event. This is very important when it comes to retraining dogs that are dealing with serious phobias.
Talk to Your Vet About CBD Oil
Before giving your dog cannabidiol to your pet for a specific health condition, it is important to talk to your veterinarian. If your canine companion is taking other medications, there could be a negative interaction. In addition, it is important to rule out any underlying causes for your dog’s pain, anxiety or skin problems. Each of these symptoms may be indicating something more serious that may require timely medical intervention.
Finally, be sure you purchase your CBD oil from a trusted manufacturer that uses organic hemp and shares recent batch lab testing to verify the purity of their product. After all, your pet deserves the best!