< Updated 11JUN19 >
< A version of this article was published in the July 2018 issue of Downeast Dog News >
< You may listen to a podcast on this topic which aired on The Woof Meow Show at – http://bit.ly/WfMw-Hemp-Podcast2 >
You may have noticed that the use of marijuana and hemp-based products are being promoted for medical and health reasons for
both people and pets. Research indicates that phytocannabinoid nutraceuticals can be very useful in helping with allergies1, anxiety2,11, arthritis3,4,11, behavioral issues5,11, depression2, epilepsy and seizures5,6,11, inflammation7, joint health3,4, digestion, joint mobility11, nausea8,9, and pain relief and management10,11. Anecdotal evidence indicates cannabinoids may also be useful in increasing appetite, improving digestion, slowing tumor growth, and providing end of life comfort. A scientific report in the Spring 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) reviewed how 631 pet owners used cannabinoids with their pets12. Commonly reported benefits of cannabinoids were; provided pain relief, aided with sleep, helped relieve anxiety, offered nervous system support, reduced inflammation, reduced seizures or convulsions, reduced vomiting or nausea, helped suppress muscle spasms, aided digestion, helped with thunderstorm or fireworks phobia, inhibited cell growth in tumors and cancer cells, and helped with skin conditions.
What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
While hemp and marijuana are both plants in the Cannabis family, they are not the same. The appearance of these two plants are very different, as is how they are cultivated. Most importantly, the chemical makeup of marijuana and hemp is very different. Marijuana is probably best known for containing a cannabinoid called THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana which can cause one to “get high.” Marijuana has a high THC content (5 to 35%) while the THC content of Hemp is less than 0.3%. THC content is critical as THC can be moderate to severely toxic to dogs13,14. Common signs of THC toxicity are: severe depression, walking drunk, lethargy, coma, low heart rate, low blood pressure, respiratory depression, dilated pupils, coma, hyperactivity, vocalization, and seizures.
What are phytocannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are substances that occur naturally in both hemp and marijuana. There are 66 different types of cannabinoids. One is THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Cannabidiol (CBD), is the most abundant of the cannabinoids and can make up as much of 45% of the resin extracted from the cannabis plant. CBD is believed to have anti-anxiety effects and may counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. Since there is now a CBD based drug undergoing clinical trials, the term PRO (Phytocannabinoid Rich Oil) is being used for phytocannabinoid nutraceuticals instead of CBD.
How do phytocannabinoids work?
All animals have an endocannabinoid system that works with the bodies physiological, neurological, and immunological systems. Our bodies produce endocannabinoids which fit into specialized receptors throughout the body. In the dog, CB1 receptors are found in the brain, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, muscles, reproductive organs, and vascular system. CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in the bone marrow, brain stem, gall bladder, liver, and pancreas. CB2 receptors are found in parts of the brain, bones, skin and the spleen. Cannabinoid receptors in your dog’s brain play a role in the Cerebral Cortex (memory, thinking, awareness, and consciousness), the Hypothalamus (metabolic processes, appetite), the Amygdala (regulation of emotions), the Hippocampus (memory and recall), the Basal Ganglia (motor skills and learning), the Cerebellum (muscle control and coordination), and the Brain Stem (reflexes, heart rate, blood pressure, pain sensation and muscle tone). Producing adequate numbers of endocannabinoids is essential to good health. When the body does not produce enough endocannabinoids due to poor health, we can supplement them with phytocannabinoids derived from hemp.
Are phytocannabinoids right for your pet?
Whether or not phytocannabinoids are right for your pet is something that only you can decide, and I would suggest you do so only after discussing their use with your veterinarian. At the end of 2017, the World Health Organization issued a report15 indicating that CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential, and in several clinical trials has been shown to effectively treat seizures. Research suggests that CBD/PRO nutraceuticals may be useful in treating a number of other medical conditions and have a good safety profile.
The buzz over CBD/Pro products is enormous, so it is a “seller’s market.” Whenever that happens, it is not uncommon for some unreliable companies to get into the business. Before adding these products to our offerings at our store, we did a great deal of due diligence to select a company with a known track record and a commitment to quality and education. I would advise you to spend some time doing your own research before you buy a product or, talk to your veterinarian or a pet care professional you trust. Whatever you do, do NOT use marijuana you are growing yourself or that you buy from the couple down the road. You could kill your dog.
Footnotes and References
1 Cannabinoid receptor type 1 and 2 expression in the skin of healthy dogs and dogs with atopic dermatitis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22738050
2 Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339
3 The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10920191
4 Involvement of the endocannabinoid system in osteoarthritis pain – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24494687
5 Cannabidiol exerts anti-convulsant effects in animal models of temporal lobe and partial seizures – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22520455
6 The cannabinoids as potential antiepileptics – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6975285
7 Cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and related analogs in inflammation – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19199042
8 Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis and its synthetic dimethylheptyl homolog suppress nausea in an experimental model with rats – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11973447
9 Cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic component of cannabis, attenuates vomiting and nausea-like behaviour via indirect agonism of 5-HT(1A) somatodendritic autoreceptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21827451
10 Non‐psychoactive cannabinoids modulate the descending pathway of antinociception in anaesthetized rats through several mechanisms of action – https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01063.x
11 The Effective Pain Treatment Your Vet May Not Want to Talk About – In this post from June 9th, Dr. Karen Becker discusses studies on the use of CBD oil (Phytocannabinoids) for the treatment of osteoarthritis, epilepsy, and pain management. – https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2018/06/09/cbd-for-dogs-osteoarthritis-epilepsy-treatment.aspx
12 Scientific Report – Consumers Perceptions of Hemp Products for Animals. AHVMA Journal, Volume 42, Spring 2016 – https://www.ahvma.org/wp-content/uploads/AHVMA-2016-V42-Hemp-Article.pdf
13 Pet Poison Helpline – Marijuana – http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/marijuana/
14 Veterinarians see more cases of pets ingesting marijuana – News Center Maine – https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/local/veterinarians-see-more-cases-of-pets-ingesting-marijuana/97-559585825
15 World Health Organization Report on Cannabidiol (CBD) – http://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf
Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )
Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show ( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )
Other Trusted Resources
JAVAM News – Veterinary marijuana?, With pet owners already using the drug as medicine, veterinarians need to join the debate, May 13, 2013 – https://www.avma.org/news/javmanews/pages/130615a.aspx
VIDEO: Dr. Gary Richter, of Holistic Veterinary Care in #Oakland, discusses medical benefits of cannabis CBD treats for dogs – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoyEg4uiq_A
Pot for Pets: Medical Uses of Marijuana in Companion Animals – Dr. Karen Becker interviews Dr. Rob Silver – https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2015/02/08/medical-marijuana-uses.aspx
Medical Marijuana and Your Pet: The Definitive Guide by Dr. Rob Silver, Lulu Publishing Service, 2015, – http://www.wellpetdispensary.com/for-dogs/treats-n-books-n-stuff/medical-marijuana-and-your-pet-the-definitive-guide-download-free-excerpts/
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com. He is committed to pet care and pet training that is free of pain, force, and fear. The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.
©15-Jun-18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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