For centuries, people have been using naturally occurring plants in their environment to treat a wide variety of ailments from toothaches to tumors. Cannabis is an example of a plant that has been used by ancient civilizations for almost every ailment, but it took thousands of years to figure out exactly how it works.
The Endocannabinoid system is a group of specialized receptors in the brain and nerves that have effects on many physiological functions including appetite, sleep, pain sensation, mood, memory, and inflammation. Cannabinoid receptors are found in all vertebrate species and have even been found in fossils from millions of years ago. There are two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are mostly in the immune system and organs.
Specific chemicals called endocannabinoids –neurotransmitters made inside the body - activate these receptors and control the firing of nerves. In binding these receptors, endocannabinoids regulate other neurotransmitters and tell them when to ramp up or back down to maintain homeostasis, or "steady state" in the body.
The reason that all of this is important is that phytochemicals made by the cannabis plant can also bind to these receptors and either mimic or support endocannabinoids in their functions. One of the most effective ways to deliver these phytocannabinoids is with hemp oil.
Is it Safe?
While one cannabinoid called THC is responsible for causing the "high" associated with cannabis, there are many other beneficial compounds found in hemp oil, including approximately 70 non-psychoactive cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids, and omega fatty acids.
Many of the health benefits historically seen with medical marijuana are now attributed to one particular cannabinoid called cannabidiol or CBD. CBD is non-psychoactive and has a much higher margin of safety than THC. A review article published in 2009 surveyed 76 scientific reports on cannabinoids in animals and people and correlated CBD to significant therapeutic benefits ranging from anxiety, seizures, elevated blood pressure, psychosis, nausea, inflammation, bacterial infections, bone healing, and diabetes.
Another extensive review performed in 2011 by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health showed that CBD is non-toxic with very few side effects. And unlike THC, CBD is not addictive, and can even be used to help treat addictions to other pain medications in people and animals.
With so many health benefits and far fewer side effects than most conventional pharmaceuticals, the potential for CBD and other non-psychoactive compounds is fantastic for our four-legged friends! In subsequent blog posts, we will go into more detail about the use of CBD for pets as it applies to specific issues including cancer, allergies, arthritis, anxiety, and seizures, so check back in to learn more!
Feel free to contact us with further questions about CBD for dogs, CBD for cats, or CBD oils.
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