CBD For Senior Dogs
CBD has been found to be a favorable therapeutic aid for many physical and psychological ailments in dogs such as pain, inflammation, seizures and cancer. It has also been used to relieve other non-specific conditions like arthritis, separation anxiety, phobias, and canine digestive issues.
In addition, some pet owners have reported using CBD to provide palliative, (treat-but-not-cure), care for their older, more mature dogs with great success. According to these pet owners, the quality of their dog’s life vastly improved after using CBD. Senior dogs consuming CBD on a daily basis seemed especially happier; they slept better, had more appetite and gained back essential body weight.
Older dogs given CBD are often described as having reverted back their once youthful vigorous & vital selves. Elder dogs showed increased energy, had more stamina & endurance and were, overall, more cheerful and contented in their later years–reversing the ordinary ravages of time!
More importantly, dogs given CBD seemed more playful, lively and sociable, having regained the ability to move about freely once their previously restrictive body aches and pains were eliminated. Grateful pet parents agree, CBD can be the elixir of life for their dignified senior dogs. However, CBD for dogs is more than just an end-of-life, compassion-care product for geriatric dogs.
Health Benefits of CBD For Older Dogs
CBD For Acute Canine Disorders
Veterinarians have found CBD products to be beneficial in the therapeutic aid of acute ailments like torn ligaments, strains, and sprains, as well as bone breaks. CBD has also been proven beneficial in the provision of post-operative care in the reduction of pain, stiffness, and swelling and dramatically improves post-surgical healing times.
CBD For Chronic Canine Disorders
Chronic canine conditions like compromised immune systems, arthritis, digestive issues, and stress responses that were once considered to be a natural progression of canine aging are now being successfully managed with CBD.
Currently, there are studies that are being conducted to establish the effectiveness of CBD in the therapeutic aid of organ diseases, lymphoma cancer, and type-1 diabetes. However, it might take decades for positive documented veterinary cannabinoid research outcomes to officially announce the true treatment benefits of CBD for dogs.
Until that time, it’s important to consider the anecdotal evidence as well as personal testimonials from loving pet owners. If your dog is currently on conventional medication for any of these health conditions, taking CBD can make it possible to use conventional drugs in smaller doses and still achieve better therapeutic effects. This is particularly beneficial because traditional medicines have side effects while CBD is a natural, non-toxic phytonutrient with zero side-effects.
Cannabis For Pets
Why CBD Works So Well in Dogs
Scientists refer to CBD as a ‘promiscuous’ compound because it confers therapeutic benefits in so many different ways while tapping into the deep cellular communications underlying essential canine physiology. Extensive pre-clinical research and some clinical studies have shown that CBD has strong anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, anti-tumoral, and neuroprotective qualities.
But how can one plant support so many biological systems, assist different organ functions & perform the multitude of health enhancing activities it is fast becoming recognized for–enter the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
Dogs Have An Endocannabinoid System
To understand how CBD can provide such a wide range of benefits for your pet–from behavioral and anxiety disorders to nerve pain attenuation and even cancer tumor treatment–it is necessary to first review the basic biological mechanism that underlies the mammalian Endocannabinoid System and it’s role in canine homeostasis. In 1992, twenty-eight years after identifying THC as the main active ingredient in cannabis, Dr. Ralph Mechoulam discovered the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Humans and most mammals all have this ECS system which consists of a series of receptors that regulate cellular biochemical processes in the body.
In a sense, they regulate our bodies’ biochemical processes for dealing with different functions. Our bodies produce endocannabinoids the same way they produce endorphins. It’s part of our normal endocrine system. The ECS System is known to participate in the body’s management of appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory and regulate systemic immune functions.
It’s important to note that the ECS controls everything from relaxation, to eating, sleeping, inflammation and even complex cognitive functions. In a nutshell, your ECS is responsible for making sure your entire body is working optimally to balance and maintain homeostasis.
Canine Homeostasis: A Balancing Act
Homeostasis is the concept that most biological systems are actively regulated to maintain conditions within a narrow range. Our body doesn’t want its temperature to be too hot or too cold, blood sugar levels too high or too low, and blood Ph levels need to be kept within critically refined parameters.
Because of its crucial role in homeostasis, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS ) is widespread throughout the animal kingdom. By comparing the genetics of cannabinoid receptors in different species, scientists estimate that the endocannabinoid system evolved in primitive animals over 600 million years ago.
Conditions need to be just right for our cells to maintain optimum performance, and exquisite mechanisms have evolved to draw them back to the pre-set zone if they move out of a closely defined range. The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a vital molecular communication system that helps maintain internal stability and equilibrium in all mammals, including domesticated dogs.
In order to create homeostasis, our body leverages chemicals in the form of nutrients and compounds from everything we ingest (including the air we breath and water we drink). Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular, to structures and organs, and perhaps to the whole body management systems.
Paramount to the successful operation of the ECS, Cannabidiol works as a “switch” to regulate these essential physiological systems.
How Does the ECS Effect Canine Health & Disease
A closer look into the structure of the Endocannabinoid System can provide functional insight into how CBD can provide more comfort, lessen pain and bolster a healthier disposition of many older, aging dogs. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is comprised of two major types of cellular receptors; CB1 and CB2, each serving a distinct function in canine health and well being.
Cannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body, embedded in cell membranes, and are believed to be more numerous than any other receptor system. CBD receptors sit on the surface of cells and “listen” to conditions outside the cell. They transmit information about changing conditions to the inside of the cell, kick-starting the appropriate cellular adaptive response. There are two main receptors, cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2). CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system (CNS) and to a lessor extent in other tissues and appear to link mostly with THC. The CB1 receptors are where the psychoactive “high” from marijuana use comes from, and also regulates pain-perception.
In dogs, CB1 receptors have been found to be localized primarily in the brain, as with humans, but researchers have also found them in blood vessels, muscles, GI tract, reproductive organs, salivary glands and hair follicles (Mercati, 2012). CB1 receptors are more abundant than any other neurotransmitter receptor.
CB2 receptors are found mostly in the peripheral organs, especially the immune system and spleen. Some research indicates their presence in the liver, bone marrow and brain stem. The CB2 receptors link to CBD, and work as an anti-inflammatory. Initial research shows CB2 receptors have immune-boosting functions as well. The CB2 receptors in dogs have been found in skin and in the cells associated with the immune system and peripheral nervous system and organs such as the pancreas and the kidney.
Because the ECS is a master control system which involves tissue receptor proteins, cellular communication to control the scavenging of oxygen free radicals, by knowing the type and location of CBD receptors (CB1 or CB2) can give you an idea about the potential target for treatment of certain conditions.
For example, CB1 receptors in the brain & CNS can address sleeping, eating, anxiety and cognitive behavior disorders plus address more severe conditions like epilepsy and canine seizures. While CB2 receptors in the peripheral nervous system can positively enhance the immune system, digestive system and augment general inflammation.
Although this is a simplified view of how CBD can influence multiple biological systems simultaneously, the complex cellular interactions regulated by the ECS suggest a potential for healing, even preventing, disease by assisting the central nervous system and immune cell response by up-regulating endocannabinoid signaling. The importance and contribution of CBD to the proper functioning of the endocannabinoid system for over all canine health and longevity cannot be overstated.
CBD For Aging Dogs
Dogs are subject to the same toxins and chemicals that we humans are exposed to–But dogs age much faster!
Canines experience earlier onset of changes in their metabolism, their bone & joint structure and even memory and alertness that cause discomfort and pain. When you support your dog’s Endocannabinoid System you are supporting their mitochondria cell energy production thereby preventing the breakdown of key structures that can occur due to”oxidative-stress”. That’s important because from basic research into the eﬀects of cannabinoids on dogs, it has been found that the endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids can play a key role in modulating (controlling) pain and inﬂammation in dogs.
Additional studies concluded that endocannabinoid receptors are “up-regulated” in dogs with atopic dermatitis (skin allergies), which suggests they can respond to this inﬂammatory condition by producing chemical substances that can reduce inﬂammation–which is a major cause of the symptoms of allergies and a primary contribution to age-related illnesses such as arthritis & canine hip-dysplasia.
More Than a Canine Supplement
The ECS’s effective control on scavenging oxygen free radicals is applicable to all disease processes and this is why it has such wide medical application and is considered a cure-all by many for the natural aging of our canine friends. What’s most important to understand about CBD as a daily dietary supplement is that it is more than a late-stage, comfort care product for debilitated dogs.
CBD has the capacity to influence the prevention AND the early onset of disease as well as a means to interrupt specific late-stage disease processes by regulating and balancing the natural, innate homeostatic mechanisms of the body.
CBD As Mainstream Medicine
Although large gaps still exist in our current understanding of the actions and interactions of CBD on individual species, CBD’s ability to interact with multiple organ systems at a cellular level, combined with its remarkable safety profile and extremely low toxicity, signifies a very bright future for it’s daily use in natural holistic pet care.
Research gives us hope that we may one day realize the full potential for CBD to provide a means to care for our devoted canine companions as they age and mature. What current research does clearly demonstrate is a direct relationship of CBD to the over-all balance, maintenance and life sustaining homeostasis in our canine companions.
As our knowledge expands, we are coming to realize that the Endocannabinoid System is a master control switch of virtually all physiology. The more we learn, the more we realize that we are in the infancy of this scientific field of study. CBD for dogs is a contemporary investigation of an age-old plant medicine. New discoveries will change animal medicine forever and prove CBD the gold standard for treating many disease processes in our beloved furry friends.