Cannabis use has been the cause of clamor for the past decades. Countries like the United States and Canada are making historical milestones with its recent legalization. But did you know that humankind has been using marijuana for over 10,000 years now? Yes! In fact, its first application in the medical field can be dated back as early as 2737 B.C in ancient China.
Cannabis is now the more acceptable and preferred term for marijuana. It is the collective genus term for psychoactive plants including Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis.
Humans and animals alike, we all possess the endocannabinoid system (EC) which is greatly affected by the cannabinoids found in cannabis. There are over 100 compounds found in cannabis but the two most notable are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). THC is well known for its psychoactive effect and CBD is popular for its medical benefits.
With its legalization for medicinal and recreational use for humans, pet lovers are now hopeful that their beloved fur babies can reap the benefits that marijuana has to offer.
Here are 8 ways that medical marijuana benefits pets.
Cannabis Relieves Pain
As the endocannabinoid system is greatly associated with pain management, cannabis is now becoming popular for its painkiller effect. It is reported to temporarily stop the degradation of anandamide which is generally known to lessen pain receptors in the brain.
There are several anecdotal reports of its painkilling properties taking effect in cats and dogs as evidenced by increased mobility. A study conducted in osteoarthritic dogs have gained positive results making it a viable option for reducing pain among our beloved pets.
Cannabis Reduces Inflammation
Cannabis is also gaining its popularity due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is this effect that makes it possible for cannabis to treat several conditions. CBD is known to be reacting to CB2 receptors inside the immune system. This enables the compound to trigger the immune system to produce its anti-inflammatory response.
Its anti-inflammatory effect can be noted to take effect in cases of gout, osteoarthritis and bowel diseases. By doing so it alleviates pain and other symptoms.
Cannabis Suppresses Seizures
Cannabis is a known anticonvulsant. It first gained its popularity when Charlotte Fig – a 6-year-old from Colorado – revolutionized the use of cannabis. She was having 300 epileptic seizures a week and was put into a coma.
A product with high CBD and low THC was used and recovery was noted with continuous use. There are several studies showing that the frequency of seizures is significantly lowered due to the intake of CBD. It promotes a better quality of life for those suffering from epilepsy, tics, tremors, and spasticity related to multiple sclerosis and other illnesses.
Cannabis Reduces Tumor Growth
Cancer is a deadly disease for both humans and animals. There are several antineoplastic drugs available in the market but with its adverse reactions, many are opting out of treatment. Cannabis offers hope with its antineoplastic effect. It has been known to reduce tumor growth, and kill existing cancer cells.
It has also been found in one study that the use of CBD potentiates the effects of traditional chemotherapy. It is said to be helping the drugs take its effects while protecting healthy cells.
Cannabis Alleviates Anxiety, Depression, and Stress
Pets are also susceptible to stress, depression, and anxiety. They may not be concerned with the same things that we are but they too suffer from mental conditions. If your cat is suddenly aggressive, lethargic, avoiding affection and not eating properly, it might be suffering from feline depression. They can get stressed by environmental factors around them and if pet owners are not careful this could lead to depression and anxiety.
Studies suggest that CBD might be working the same way as an anti-anxiety drug would. Serotonin is the chemical and neurotransmitter responsible for mood, sleep, appetite, and other important functions. CBD works by elevating the serotonin level in the brain.
Cannabis Lessens Cancer Related Symptoms
Cancer and its treatment have been known to produce undesirable effects to a point that some patients would terminate treatment altogether. Nausea and vomiting are the most common. Same as with dogs, these are serious symptoms that could eventually lead to loss of appetite and weight, dehydration, and other complications.
There are studies showing CBD’s antiemetic property. It inhibits nausea and vomiting while increasing appetite. It also does not have any of the side effects that traditional drugs have which made it ideal for use.
Cannabis Reduces Bronchial Spasms in Asthmatics
Asthma can be caused by allergens that irritate the respiratory tract and the cause of attack are sometimes difficult to determine. This makes it hard to breathe and can be fatal if left uncontrolled.
Asthma has the same effect on dogs as with humans. Sometimes it can be worse! The poor little ones cannot verbalize what they are feeling and if you are not attentive enough, this could make them suffer more.
As with other illnesses, there are traditional treatments available such as steroids and cortisone. These drugs are proven to control asthma attacks but also known to have adverse effects. CBD can be an alternative drug to treat asthma without its side effects. Its anti-inflammatory effect lessens the swelling in the respiratory tract making it easier to breathe.
Cannabis Promotes Proper Body Function
Dogs, just like human beings, need to achieve a state of balance in order for them to function properly. Sometimes, certain factors tip the scale and balance is thrown out. They get sick and they suffer from numerous diseases as we do.
There are studies supporting the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in our overall well-being. Cannabinoids like CBD can help attain this balance due to its effect on a wide variety of bodily processes. This is why many pet owners are now choosing to give CBD not just as treatment but as part of their beloved pets’ daily regimen.