How Does CBD for Animals Work?
So how does CBD for dogs work? To understand this it is important to understand that all cannabinoids, including CBD, work by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the dog’s body. These receptors are labeled as CB1 and CB2 by scientists.
Cannabinoid type 1(CB1) receptors are mostly found in the nervous system, both central and peripheral. When these receptors are stimulated they cause a reduction in intracellular cAMP by inhibiting the production of adenylate cyclase. In other words, CB1 receptors induce a reduction in nerve impulse transmission since cAlvIP is a nervous system messenger. It is important to take note that the nervous system does not only include the brain and spinal cord, but all other organs throughout the dog’s body since everything is connected to the central nervous system by way of nerves. Even the skin has nerves in its structure, otherwise there won’t be pain felt.
Cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptors are mostly found in the immune system, the gastrointestinal system, and the peripheral nervous system; although recent studies say that CB2 receptors are also found in the brain, albeit in substantially lesser amounts than CB1 receptors. In the immune system, these receptors have been isolated in the thymus, tonsils, and spleen where they are observed to be responsible for the release of cytokines. Cannabinoid type 2 receptors are mostly found in macrophages, T-lymphocytes, 0-lymphocytes, and monocytes of the immune system.
In the gut, CB2 receptors have been shown to play a role in reducing inflammation that are typically observed in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Specifically, these receptors help prevent the inactivation of the normal gut flora. Cannabinoid type 2 receptors are also known to play a role in alleviating pain originating from peripheral tissues, although not coming from nociceptive neurons.
Why is it important to learn the two cannabinoid receptors? Well, as we have already mentioned, cannabidiol or CBD exerts its effects primarily by interacting with these receptors. As such, you can say that learning the activities of these receptors can also pave the way towards greater understanding of the action of CBD.
Not necessarily. You see, while both THC and CBD interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, there are a few differences.
• THC is more specific to CB1 receptors and hence, has more psychoactive effects than CBD.
• THC binds directly to the CB1 receptor so that the effects are readily apparent.
• CBD has been shown to have very low affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
• CBD still interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors but does not directly bind to the receptors.
• CBD attaches itself to the receptors rather indirectly in a process many scientists call as modulation.
It is the last statement that we will look into the second most important element to understanding how cannabidiol or CBD works.
Since CBD inherently modulates the activities of cannabinoid receptors, what this essentially means is that it stimulates the dog’s body into producing and releasing its very own cannabinoids. As such, if tetrahydrocannabinol provides the dog’s body with readily-available cannabinoids, CBD doesn’t. Instead CBD stimulates the dog’s body into producing its own cannabinoids. That is why it doesn’t produce the psychoactive or addicting effects since the cannabinoids that are produced are naturally-occurring and not exogenous. It is also for this reason that these naturally-occurring cannabinoids make up what is now known as the endocannabinoid system or ECS.
Here is a list of the different functions that the endocannabinoid system is known for.
• Inhibits the release of certain neurotransmitters to help temper neuronal excitability
• Increases appetite by acting on the hypothalamic nuclei
• Plays a huge role in maintaining balance in terms of nutrient transport and energy storage by acting on the cells of the gut, fat cells, liver cells, endocrine tissues of the pancreas, and skeletal muscle cells
• Inhibits excessive arousal which can play a role in toning down anxiety and seizure in dogs
• Improves the functionality of immune system cells particularly B- and T- lymphocytes, macrophages, and monobles
• Serves as neuromodulator for ameliorating inflammation and skeletal muscle spasms
• Down-regulates intestinal motility as well as the nerve impulse transmission to the smooth muscles of the reproductive, urinary, and digestive systems
• Suppresses the noxious sensory neuronal responses in the spinal column to reduce pain sensation
• Regulates body temperature
• Promotes sleep by decreasing wakefulness and increasing REM sleep and slow-wave sleep
• Elevates exercise-associated mood by acting on the central nervous system
Since cannabidiol or CBD acts to stimulate the production of endogenous cannabinoids in the dog’s body, it is now very clear how this particular substance can bring about the much-talked about health benefits to our pets.
Cannabidiol (CBD) does not only exert its effects on the endocannabinold system. CBD has been known to exhibit an agonistic activity to this serotonin receptor which can help further explain its use in both seizure and anxiety control in dogs. This action on the receptor is also what gives CBD its neumprotective properties.
So, how does CBD work?
• It modulates the activities of cannabinoid receptor types 1 and 2.
• It stimulates the production of endogenous cannabinoids through activation of the endocannabinoid system.
• It stimulates a certain type of serotonin receptor.
7 Amazing Benefits of CBD for Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets
The effects of CBD are similar in humans, dogs, cats, and other pets.
This is because, just like humans, dogs and cats also have an endocannabinoid system that functions much in the same way as the human ECS.
Many of the conditions we’ll list below (like anxiety, arthritis, pain, and convulsions) manifest much in the same way in pets as they do in humans.
The 7 Most Common CBD Benefits for Animals
1. Powerful Painkiller
4. Stress Reliever
6. Anticancer Effects
7. Promotes Homeostasis
Here is a detailed list of some of the major benefits of CBD which can improve the health of your pet.
Keep in mind these apply to dogs, cats, and other pets.
There are even more benefits than these, however, these 7 will apply to the majority of conditions.
1. CBD is a Powerful Painkiller
In 1997, a study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology showed that the endocannabinoid system was deeply involved in managing pain.
Today, CBD has become renowned for its painkilling properties.
CBD can help manage pain in many different ways.
First of all, studies have shown that CBD can temporarily stop the absorption of anandamide, a chemical that helps dampen pain signals in the brain.
This temporary increase in anandamide can have various effects, one of them being reduced pain sensations.
Secondly, CBD has been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory.
By reducing the inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis, for example, CBD is also able to reduce the painful symptoms caused by the condition.
2. CBD is a Known Anticonvulsant
Perhaps one of the best-known medicinal uses for CBD is its ability to help controls seizures, tremors, tics, and spasms.
That’s because CBD is a natural anticonvulsant.
News of CBD’s natural anticonvulsant properties first broke in 2013 when the story of Charlotte Figi, a young girl with epilepsy, made headlines across the globe.
Charlotte’s only hope for managing her 300 weekly seizures was a tincture now known as Charlotte’s Web, made from CBD rich cannabis.
Since then, numerous studies have proven that CBD can help manage a wide variety of tremors, spasms, and tics.
For example, multiple studies have shown that CBD can help manage seizures caused by epilepsy.
Other studies have also shown that CBD can help manage spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis, and research also suggests that CBD can help manage the tics and tremors caused by Tourette’s syndrome.
Unfortunately, it isn’t quite clear how CBD works as an anticonvulsant.
Seizures are generally believed to be caused by the rapid, uncontrolled firing of neurons in the brain.
Preliminary research suggests CBD can help restore order to these neurons, causing them to fire normally and essentially prevent the onset of seizures.
3. CBD is Anti-Inflammatory
As I mentioned earlier, CBD is renowned for its anti-inflammatory effects.
In fact, the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD are believed to be one of the main reasons the compound is so useful in treating a wide variety of conditions.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects are believed to be linked to its ability to interact with receptors in immune cells.
CBD interacts with CB2 receptors, which are generally located inside immune cells.
By activating these receptors, CBD is able to evoke a wide variety of immune responses.
One of these responses is to fight inflammation.
Conditions like arthritis, MS, irritable bowel disease, and many others, are characterized by chronic inflammation.
In some cases, this inflammation can be caused by a malfunctioning of the immune system, causing it to attack healthy cells.
By helping lower inflammation, CBD can help reduce pain and other symptoms of conditions like IBD, arthritis, and more.
4. CBD Reduces Anxiety and Stress
It’s important to note that CBD doesn’t just help deal with physical symptoms.
In fact, many studies have shown that CBD can help manage the symptoms of a variety of mental conditions, including anxiety.
Much like humans, pets can also suffer from anxiety, stress or even specific phobias.
And while the exact source of anxiety may differ in pets, it can cause stress and specific physical reactions just like in humans.
Some common forms of anxiety affecting dogs include separation anxiety, noise anxiety, travel anxiety, and even specific phobias.
In humans, anxiety and stress might cause us to bite our nails, pace around, or become a little shaky.
In dogs, anxiety can cause similar repetitive behaviour.
Some common symptoms of anxiety in dogs include:
Chewing (furniture, shoes, rubbish, etc)
Urinating and defecating (usually inside the house or crate)
CBD has been shown to help reduce feelings of anxiety and thereby reduce these symptoms.
How it does so, however, isn’t completely clear.
Typical anxiety medications tend to target a type of seratonin receptor in the body known as 5-HT1A.
By targetting these receptors, anti anxiety medications can help temporarily boost seratonin levels in the brain.
This can then lead to improvements in mood and help temporarily reduce feelings of anxiety or fear.
Research suggests that CBD might work in a similar way, also temporarily increasing seratonin levels in the brain.
In doing so, the compound can have anti anxiety and anti depressant effects, while also helping reduce stress.
5. CBD is an Antiemetic
Nausea and vomiting are really common symptoms.
They can be the result of a specific condition, or can also be caused by treatments or medications such as chemotherapy.
Both in humans and dogs, nausea and vomiting are serious symptoms, often leading to a decreased appetite, rapid weight loss, dehydration, fatigue, and more.
There are plenty of antiemetic medications on the market, and some of the most common given to dogs and cats include acepromazine, chlorpromazine, aminopentamide, and more.
These drugs, while often effective in controlling nausea and vomiting, can cause a wide variety of side effects, including:
Lowered seizure thresholds for animals with epilepsy
Lack of appetite
There is a strong body of evidence that shows that CBD is a successful antiemetic, controlling both nausea and vomiting while also stimulating appetite.
Interestingly, it seems to do so by stimulating 5-HT1A receptors, the same receptor which can help reduce anxiety.
By activating this receptor, CBD can significantly reduce feelings of nausea and also suppress the subsequent vomiting reflex.
Research also suggests that prolonged stimulation of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the brain can also help reduce nausea and vomiting.
In doing so, studies show that CBD can have powerful antiemetic effects.
In fact, some studies suggest CBD is a better antiemetic than some modern medications.
Best of all, CBD doesn’t seem to cause any of the side effects of traditional antiemetic medications. You can read more about the side effects of CBD here.
6. CBD May Slow Tumor Growth
Cancer and malicious tumors are common in pets and, in many cases, prove to be fatal.
Until now, there is no known cure for cancer, and treatment usually focuses on slowing the growth of a tumor while reducing pain and other symptoms.
The most common treatment for cancer and tumors in pets is chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, like with humans, chemotherapy can produce a wide variety of side effects, including:
Tiredness, fatigue, and lethargy
Loss of appetite
However, new research shows that cannabinoids like CBD can have unique anticancer effects, too.
In fact, a growing body of research is beginning to explore just how cannabinoids can help slow the growth and spread of cancer and even reduce the size of tumors.
For example, a 2011 study conducted at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston showed that CBD can cause programmed cell death and hence inhibit the growth of breast cancer.
Another study, published by researchers from the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, also showed that CBD can help protect against colon cancer in rats by stopping the development, growth, and spread of malignant tumors.
Research from Complutense University, Madrid, has also shown that CBD and other cannabinoids can enhance the effect of traditional chemotherapy.
Researchers suggest it does so by increasing the rate by which cancer cells absorb chemotherapy agents, while simultaneously protecting healthy cells.
There are many more studies exploring the use of CBD and other cannabinoids in treating cancer.
7. CBD Promotes Homeostasis
Homeostasis can best be described as the proper functioning of the body.
It occurs when our bodies are in balance, and ensures all our biological systems function to the best of their ability.
However, sometimes this balance gets thrown out, and that’s when disease and illness strike.
New research suggests that the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in maintaining this balance, mainly because it is involved in such a wide variety of bodily processes.
Hence, researchers suggest that, by stimulating the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids like CBD can help promote homeostasis in the body.
This is why many pet owners choose to use CBD not only as a medicine to treat a specific illness, but also as a regular supplement to promote the overall health and wellbeing of their pet.