CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis, the plant we often associate with marijuana. In fact, it is one of over 113 “cannabinoids” found in the cannabis plant, many of which are also being investigated for their potential health benefits.
Now, keep this in mind:
CBD won’t get animals “high”. You can read more about that here. Unlike THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, CBD is completely non psychoactive and safe to be used on pets. CBD also has no known toxicity level, and is incapable of causing an overdose. In fact, the CBD found in cannabis pet supplements is usually sourced from hemp, a variety of cannabis that naturally contains extremely low concentrations of THC.
CBD interacts with the body via the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. While I’ll likely discuss the ECS in more detail in other posts, here are some basics on how this system works. The ECS is a biological system found in all mammals, and is involved in managing a wide variety of biological processes, including memory, sleep, immune response, and more. It mainly consists of two types of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). These receptors are built to interact with endocannabinoids (cannabinoids naturally produced by the brain). However, they can also interact with plant-derived cannabinoids like CBD, which in turn cause a variety of responses throughout the body.
When it comes to CBD, many of these responses are very beneficial. The endocannabinoid system is essentially the system that processes cannabinoids introduced into the body. Note that most of these findings come from studies on lab animals (like rats) or clinical trials on humans. Nonetheless, the effects of CBD are similar in humans, dogs, cats, horses and other pets. This is because, just like humans, dogs, cats and horses also have an endocannabinoid system that functions much in the same way as the human ECS. Plus, many conditions manifest much in the same way in pets as they do in humans.