After its inevitable release from being a schedule 1 substance, hemp has become a sensation in the cannabis community as something far beyond marijuana. The Farm Bill was passed back in 2018 (more info here) and has allowed hemp to be industrially grown in the US. This opened many doors of opportunity for the plant to branch out with its endless benefits, and it finally reached pet oils and treats.
Despite this achievement, however, studies are still scarce and what mostly holds this product up are testimonies and hearsays from many users. Now that you’re here, you might have questions on what cannabis can possibly do to your pet other than harm them (yes, one cannabinoid found in cannabis is poisonous to animals), and we’re here to answer all of it.
But First, A Brief Introduction
To fully understand how cannabidiol works in your pet’s system, it’s only logical to know all about this compound first. CBD (or cannabidiol) is one of many cannabinoids present in hemp and marijuana. What sets it apart is its non-psychoactive effects in human and animal nervous systems while delivering therapeutic products with no fear of overdose or toxicity.
Thus, hemp became a sensation for many cannabidiol companies. Those that focus on pet products, like holistapet, make sure their products are gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and 100% THC-free. Unlike cannabidiol, THC is a psychoactive agent that can pose a danger for toxicity, overdose, and psychoactivity. It’s not the best choice.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid that led marijuana to become a schedule 1 substance. Being schedule 1 means being the most restricted substance or drug in the US, and it’s solely because it can cause users to become “high” when used. When talking about animals are involved, THC is a definite no-no.
THC-toxicity entails mild, moderate, and severe symptoms. Mild symptoms show as pupils that dilate, fatigue, and sudden behavior change. Moderate (or noticeable) symptoms include copious vomiting, restlessness, and hostility to familiar family members. If failed to rush to the vet, it can induce coma and ultimately death for your pet.
The Endocannabinoid System
If you want to know how cannabidiol works, you have to consider how it metabolizes in the body. A system not discussed conventionally, though much like the respiratory, nervous, or digestive system exists in our bodies. It’s called the Endocannabinoid System, and it has its own cannabinoids and receptors, each with their own use and purpose.
The ECS is a system that isn’t widely studied nor discussed because of its tie with cannabis. It can be read in educational sites but rarely will you hear it in a lesson at school or traditional seminars. Nevertheless, the ECS is also an essential part of our bodies and is worth studying despite its origins.
Its Main Focus
With its various endocannabinoids and 2 types of receptors, the ECS work together to maintain homeostasis in the body. This means it balances hormones, neutralizes acid-base balance, and even maintains normal blood pressure. Its other uses lie in emotions, appetite, memory, and sleep.
Many studies have found it linked to fibromyalgia and IBS, but nothing concrete has come out yet due to its restrictions. These diseases can be accounted for CECD (Clinical Endocannabinoid System deficiency), a condition where cannabinoids are low, or a dysfunction in the system itself.
The Types Of Receptors And Their Roles
In the ECS, there are two primary receptors. They’re namely CB1 and CB2 receptors, and numerous are scattered all around the body. The former is mainly found in the nervous system, regulating matters of the brain and brain activity. It caters to many mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia, by acting as an anxiolytic, antidepressant, and sleep-promoter.
Endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids (like cannabidiol) reach this receptor and block messages coming to the brain that might otherwise induce these conditions. It can also block messages from pain receptors and the brain, causing an analgesic effect on the user. Dosage of CBD for pets is significantly lower because of their abundance in this receptor, resulting in overwhelming the brain with its products if given a higher (human) dose.
CB2 focuses primarily on the peripheral and immune systems. They cater to any local inflammations and pains by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. Another action they take is also being anti-WBC and anti-cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that regulate inflammation and may worsen said condition, and cannabidiol makes sure they don’t stick to the inflaming site.