Updated: Sep 25
Ok, what is CBD and how does it work? Y'all remember I went to Yale med school right?? So, let me drop a little of my nerdy knowledge on you about this lovely physiologic system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) found in Doggies and in humans and just how awesome CBD oil can be for our little buddies.
For our purposes, let's focus on the Doggie ECS. This ECS works by the brain sending out signals or messages (neurotransmitters) to other parts of the brain and body through connections (receptors) found on all kinds of cells in the body. These receptors receive these messages that are full of instructions to the cell on how they should behave. Some of the most common neurotransmitters you have likely heard about that work this way include histamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and melatonin. Well, CBD or canabidiol, functions in the body just like these molecules and are known as cannabinoids.
WHOAH, cool huh? Still with me? Ok, so there are two types of cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are produced by mammals and phytocannabinoids are made by plants. What is really cool is that the phytocannabinoids made by plants (found in CBD oils) literally can mimic the same endocannabinoid molecules made in Doggies!!
SO, what do these molecules do for our Doggies? Doggies have LOTS of specific receptors that are made for cannabinoids all over their bodies so they get all kinds of messages from the brain in the form of cannabinoid molecules (remember, the brain already makes ENDOcannabinoid molecules all on it's own, so when we give the CBD oil, we are just adding more of these molecules to fill the receptors in the body!).
There are two well known cannabinoid receptors that take up the cannabinoid molecules, CBD1 and CBD2. CBD1 receptors are found on the neurons and work to inhibit certain neurotransmitters that increase the stress response. The outcome that we see with this receptor and molecule connection is the alleviation of symptoms of stress and anxiety in our Doggies. Works great for separation anxiety! The other receptor CBD2 acts more on the immune system and these help regulate the release of certain molecules that induce inflammation. So, when CBD2 receptors are full of cannabinoids we may see a reduction in painful inflammatory issues like joint pain, arthritis pain, skin disorders, and digestive issues. It is a natural pain reliever!
So, CBD is pretty awesome, with little known side effects at this point in time (it can cause drowsiness). It is not FDA approved yet, and I always encourage doggie owners to talk to your vet first and foremost before starting any supplements of course. I personally have both my doggies on CBD oil and I believe in it and have seen the amazing effects it can have on our babes!
(I got all this info from the AmericanVeterinarian.com and this VetMed Review Article. Oh, and this is another cool link to a study form the AKC Canine Health Foundation that is going on over in my home state of Colorado about the use of CBD oil to treat epilepsy in dogs!).