Help without the high? Potential benefits of CBD

The health properties of cannabidiol, or CBD, have been gaining popularity in the last decade with a drastic increase in use since North America legalization began.

CBD is a chemical compound in cannabis that doesn’t share psychoactive properties of THC, meaning you don’t feel the cannabis high.

Research is looking into CBD’s possible benefits for a variety of conditions and symptoms, in part because it’s considered relatively safe.

Studies suggest CBD can help patients by changing the brain’s response to serotonin, relieving stress for patients with anxiety, insomnia and symptoms of PTSD, for example.

Other studies have explored whether CBD has anti-seizure properties that could benefit some patients suffering with epilepsy. Other current studies are exploring its neuroprotective properties regarding the CB1 receptor in patients who’ve suffered strokes, with Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Finally, CBD is sometimes used in pain management in patients with conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, spinal cord injuries, muscle pain, and pain from multiple sclerosis.

CBD for dogs?

Cannabis patients may have noticed a new product hit the shelves of their dispensary several years ago when CBD-only dog treats were released.

In fact, an internet search of CBD and pets yields numerous hits.

One of the organizations guiding the way here at home is the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine, a national non-profit founded by a group of veterinary professionals working to improve understanding of cannabis-based therapies for animals, and improve access to these therapies.

Currently veterinarians cannot prescribe medical cannabis or dispense CBD products, and the only approved products are designed for people, not pets.

However, proponents believe similar benefits individuals experience could be seen in animals too.

CBD has been studied in dogs to treat anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic pain with more than 80 per cent showing improvement in pain and mobility. Since then studies have been conducted on the effects of CBD in dogs with with epilepsy, and while the results seem promising, more research is needed.

The challenge is in being certain about the strength of the product. According to the CAVCM, “the most commonly used method is through the use of liquid oils or tinctures that allow for gradual titration of dose. Other methods include the use of capsules, edible pet treats (NOT human treats that may contain other toxins such as chocolate, xylitol, or raisins), topicals, and transdermals.”

However, as with any potential treatment, “always discuss their decision with their veterinarian.”