CBD- the wonder cure or snake oil?
There has been a lot of buzz about CBD oil for animals (and people)- but many people don't know what it is, whether it works, or why to consider giving it a try.
Let's start with the basics:
What is CBD?
CBD is one of the compounds in cannabis plants, however, it does not make you high, like THC- which is probably what you think of when you hear "cannabis".
CBD can come from 2 sources- the hemp plant or marijuana (the two primary species of cannabis)- but they are not the same. Medium has a great article which explains the differences.
In general, hemp is used in many commercial products including rope, clothing, plastics, biofuel and food- and marijuana is primarily used for it's psychoactive properties; to get high.
Why does CBD matter?
Both types of plants- hemp and marijuana- contain cannabinoids. The primary types of cannabinoids are CBD and THC.
Cannabinoids that come from plants are called phytocannabinoids.
But did you know, cannabinoids are also made naturally within human and animal bodies?
Cannabinoids made within the body are called endocannabinoids and they help regulate many of the systems mammals rely on for harmonious balance.
In short, our bodies are ready to accept CBD.
Whether it is produced by us naturally, or added into our bodies intentionally, CBD is a natural compound our bodies utilize.
What does it do?
While THC actively binds with cannabinoid receptors, CBD provides a more indirect effect by affecting other compounds and receptors which in turn change how the body regulates pain, temperature, inflammation and feelings of well-being.
In general, CBD increases many "good" systems and compounds and inhibits those which combat homeostasis. As such, its potential to treat a variety of ailments is significant and studies are showing very promising results.
Anecdotally and from personal experience as well, we have seen it do amazing things for both animals and people when used for anxiety, pain, digestive issues and more.
What about the legalities?
CBD from marijuana is not considered legal unless the state has legalized it- basically as the CBD in this instance is tied closely to THC, whether or not the CBD actually contains significant amounts.
CBD from the hemp plant though, is completely legal in all 50 states- even those where marijuana is not legalized (except Ohio where steps are being taken to make even this kind of CBD illegal on a state level) because hemp has such a negligible amount of THC.
CBD from hemp can actually be filtered even further to it's "isolate" form where the negligible amount of THC is reduced to 0%.
Why try CBD?
You might consider trying CBD for your animals (or yourself) for generalized anxiety- which can express itself in many ways.
From severe cases of separation anxiety to "behavioral" issues such as intensity, obsessive and reactive responses and more, CBD can help your animals relax and be more at peace within their own skin.
We have utilized CBD within Motley Zoo for some rescue animals- but not before our ED, jme, tried it herself first- as she would not want to consider anything for the animals she did not understand or believe in.
After feeling noticeably more at ease, jme believed trying CBD on the animals could be a resolution that might otherwise consider stronger pharmaceuticals with significant potential for side effects.
Motley Zoo has utilized CBD for animals in care who had obvious anxiety (trying to climb out windows, standing vigilant at doors and gates, excessive vocalizing) and it has worked wonders for them!
The difference was dramatic and definitive and it was clear the animals were able to relax and even play when otherwise they had been so on edge they couldn't even consider interacting with other animals (or resting).
Other experiences include both our own and that of clients and adopters who have given CBD to their senior animals who have been showing signs of decreased mobility and pain. By all accounts the animals have a new spring in their step and a zest for life the guardians had not seen in ages.
Perhaps the most compelling example of anecdotal success is when jme's own dog Zelda, was burned so badly at the vet (she subsequently died).
Despite the many serious pain medications at their highest doses, Zelda would still whimper and struggle to get comfortable or sleep. jme gave her some CBD treats which were the only things that soothed her- providing relief to her significant level of suffering.
Where can I get CBD?
Well, as proponents of CBD's effectiveness, we have decided to carry it at our Motley Zoo Studio and online. We currently offer one strength (120mg) in bottles of either 30ml or 60ml- although our line will be expanding to other levels of potency soon.
You can also get CBD for animals at high-end pet stores, or even local "pot shops" if you look for the kind with less than 0.3% or no THC.
THC is not suggested for animals as it can become toxic. This is because like in humans, it binds with the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies and has a totally different effect than CBD.
Of course, you should talk with your vet about utilizing CBD for your animals- though many vets may not be comfortable prescribing, let alone discussing, CBD yet- but some vets routinely utilize natural remedies and "eastern" medicine who may have more experience and feel comfortable prescribing it.
Ask around and talk to your vet and see if you think CBD could be helpful to the animals in your life...because after all, don't we all want a life of happiness , comfort- and zero stress- for them most of all?
CBD just might be that answer!