If you have been interested in seeing if CBD can benefit your dog, you are in the perfect place.
In this article, we are going over all the things that make full spectrum CBD a great option for many dog owners.
From its benefits to why no other form of CBD can beat it, we are delighted to show you all the ways full spectrum CBD can take your dog’s health to the next level!
What is CBD?
CBD is both a molecule and the name given to hemp products that feature it.
CBD is a therapeutic aid that’s made a big name for itself over the last decade. Having many of the same benefits of medical marijuana but without the high, has caught pretty much everyone’s attention.
These benefits are quite expansive as well, making CBD used for everything from reducing anxiety to stimulating a healthy appetite.
Derived from the hemp plant, cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of many therapeutic compounds cannabis plants produce. There are two main varieties of cannabis plants: hemp and marijuana.
And while they share all the same compounds, they don’t produce them in equal parts. And this is big because the hemp variety fails to produce notable amounts of the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the sole culprit behind marijuana’s high, but it can only do that when enough is consumed.
Along with CBD and THC, cannabis plants produce hundreds of compounds that when ingested, have different therapeutic effects on the body. All of these compounds occur in the resinous crystals called the trichomes that form on the plant's flowers and stalks.
When the trichomes are extracted from the plant, all these compounds are together, but thanks to them having different boiling points, these compounds can be separated from each other.
This gives us the ability to create different hemp CBD products. There is full spectrum CBD, which contains all of these compounds, including traces of THC.
Then there is our broad spectrum CBD that goes a step further by removing THC, leaving everything else together. Last, there is CBD isolate, which removes everything from the mixture except for the compound cannabidiol.
Because all these compounds have therapeutic properties, the effects between CBD full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate can vary a good bit.
How Does CBD Work?
The therapeutic compounds in CBD products mainly work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This nifty little system is composed of receptors and neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids that activate these receptors - known as endocannabinoid receptors.
When activated, these receptors tell the cells they are located on to carry out tasks that help the body and its various regulatory systems — known as homeostasis.
For example, the ECS helps ensure the immune system keeps properly functioning even when it's under heavy stress fighting off an infection, etc.
When under duress, the immune system can accidentally create too many inflammatory agents that start attacking things other than the threat. The ECS is there to help ensure that doesn’t happen. And it does this for pain, anxiety, appetite, and so on.
But you’re probably thinking, “wait, isn’t excessive inflammation a huge problem for many; why isn’t the ECS successfully doing its job?” And that’s a great question, and the reason, CBD is so incredible.
Modern life, even for our dogs, is stressful in completely different ways than the stress and threats that we experience for thousands of years.
These stressors — from germs to loud noises — are constant, plentiful, and difficult to get away from.
As such, the ECS isn’t equipped to handle these new stresses and often runs itself down trying to overcome them. Unfortunately, there is nothing to support the ECS in the way it supports the other regulatory systems.
Well, there is one thing, and you might be able to guess what that is.
The compounds in cannabis and CBD products are able to activate the receptors in the endocannabinoid system in a similar way that the body’s endocannabinoids can.
Additionally, some of those compounds can help the body replenish its natural endocannabinoid levels.
This is potentially the reason why some see greater benefits from CBD than others — with those having an endocannabinoid deficiency seeing the strongest results.
What Benefits Does CBD Have For Dogs?
With a long list of therapeutic benefits that can support and boost health, it’s not very surprising to see why CBD has earned so much popularity in such a short time.
No stranger to the perils of anxiety, CBD has been a godsend for many pet parents thanks to its ability to reduce their dogs’ anxiety across the board.
From separation anxiety that can result in potty accidents to fear that can trigger aggressive behavior, CBD can be an effective treatment for anxiety of all forms, letting many dogs avoid medications with harsh side effects.
CBD’s ability to help our dogs with their anxiety has a lot of anecdotal evidence singing its praises, but what about clinical studies? Well, turns out they are backing all that praise!
In a study out of Cornell University, researchers found that 83% of the dogs studied showed a decrease in stress and anxiety-related behaviors after consuming a CBD chew prior to the anxiety-triggering event.
CBD oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory! Not only can it help out with inflammatory issues that can affect the gut or mobility, but it can alleviate significant pain that occurs due to swelling as a result of inflammation.
A 2021 study found that CBD was effective in reducing pain and joint inflammation signs in dogs with osteoarthritis. Research done at Cornell backs this study up with their own findings that saw more than 80% of the dogs studied with osteoarthritis experiencing a decrease in pain.
The decrease in pain was so significant it allowed the puppers to feel comfortable enough to be active again.
But inflammation just doesn’t cause pain and swelling; it can also cause extreme itchiness. Thankfully, again, CBD can help with that! A study by Australian animal therapeutics company CannPal found that CBD decreased itchiness by at least 50% in 65% of the dogs studied.
This is wonderful to see, as a simple itch can lead to a scratch that turns into an infected bloody hotspot in just a few hours.
We discuss how CBD can reduce pain by reducing inflammation, but it’s just not inflammatory pain that CBD can help with, as CBD can directly modulate pain signals before they reach the brain.
In cases such as chronic pain, the brain is constantly reminded that the body is experiencing pain despite not being able to do anything about it.
For example, nerve damage can send corrupted signals to the brain, telling it that it's experiencing pain even though no physical mechanism is currently causing it. CBD can help correct those corrupted signals before they reach the brain. But it doesn’t stop there!
Pain is a complex mechanism the brain is in charge of, and this means poor mental health can make pain feel even worse than it is.
Research shows everything from anxiety to depression can heighten pain. Thankfully, CBD’s ability to lower anxiety gives it another way to reduce pain.
So let’s recap! CBD can reduce pain directly, can reduce pain by lowering inflammation, and reduce pain by alleviating anxiety and stress.
There are several health problems that CBD can help out with on a significant level, however, CBD’s ability to reduce seizures may be its most impressive.
And this is because CBD, along with marijuana, are sometimes the only treatments that can notably reduce seizures when all other medications fail.
In fact, if it wasn’t for this ability, CBD and the laws surrounding it today might not look the same because CBD was often first legalized in a state solely for the treatment of drug-resistant seizures.
This, of course, paved the way for it to be legalized recreationally after lawmakers saw CBD wasn’t something that could be abused.
Idiopathic epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurologic problems affecting pets, with it affecting up to 5.7% of the pet dog population worldwide. Idiopathic epilepsy is the term for repeated seizures without an identifiable cause.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room! While CBD is an excellent option for many cancer patients, and while it’s true that some of the cannabinoids in cannabis likely have anticancer properties, CBD should never be used as a sole option for treating cancer.
The significance of cannabis' anti-cancerous properties is unknown, however, research is showing it’s likely not much in the current state they exist.
So while you shouldn't rely on CBD for treating cancer, that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic cancer treatment option. From reducing pain to stimulating a heather appetite, CBD can help with many of the side effects that occur when treating cancer with cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.
With its ability to reduce pain and inflammation, CBD is an excellent option for dogs that are experiencing joint pain and other mobility issues.
In fact, CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety can even indirectly help mobility, as dogs with mobility issues will often avoid getting up and moving around due to fear of the pain it caused in the past.
While rest is important for helping a dog overcome their mobility problem, they also need to stay active to keep their muscles and ligaments strong.
Active Components of a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract
Above, we mentioned that CBD is just one of many therapeutic compounds produced by the cannabis plant. And while some CBD products contain just CBD, the vast majority actually contain all the therapeutic compounds these plants naturally produce.
There may be close to 1000 unique compounds that all have therapeutic benefits. We classify these compounds into three different groups based on their structure and properties.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Up first are the cannabinoids. Both CBD and THC are types of cannabinoids, and as such, you might be starting to wonder if the cannabinoids have the greatest effects on the body. And you’d be right in that thought.
So far, we have identified around 100 unique cannabinoids. Most of these cannabinoids only occur in very small quantities, and they can even change into another cannabinoid depending on the environment around them and their age.
As we saw above, the cannabinoid THC appears in different qualities based on the type of cannabis plant it's from.
While the amount that appears in marijuana can cause a high, the amount that appears in hemp can’t because there isn’t enough to overstimulate enough CB1 receptors — that overstimulation is what causes the high/the feeling it gives.
Other notable cannabinoids include Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerolic (CBG), Tetrahydrocannabinolic (THCA), Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), and Cannabidivarin (CBDV).
What Are Terpenes?
From flowers to trees, plants have an abundance of delightful smells, and that’s all thanks to the aroma molecules they produce, known as the terpenes. Cannabis is well known for producing a variety of smells. While some smell like citrus, others will smell like pine or even cheese.
This is because cannabis produces a greater number of terpenes than pretty much any plant. And individual aromas can be reinforced by breeding cannabis plants that smell similar together.
For example, a cannabis plant that smells like lavender likely has a high number of terpene linalool, which is known for its relaxation properties.
While terpenes aren’t as therapeutically as potent as cannabinoids, they are able to change the effects the cannabinoids have. But they don’t always stop there!
Sometimes the full therapeutic effects of a cannabinoid can only happen when consumed with the terpenes.
CBD is one of these because when consumed without any terpenes, it struggles to pass the blood-brain barrier due to its larger size. When that happens, the effects can be uneven or non-existent.
But when taken with terpenes, CBD can freely pass the blood-brain barrier as some of the terpenes open it up for CBD’s larger size to pass through.
What Are Flavonoids?
Flavonoids possess a number of medicinal benefits, including anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.
Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds that provide plants with tons of help, including regulating cell growth, attracting pollinating insects, and combating environmental stresses. Like the terpenes, they contribute to a plant’s aroma and flavor, albeit on a smaller level.
What Makes Full Spectrum So Special - The Entourage Effect And THC Synergy
We’ve briefly covered that full spectrum is the most popular form of CBD. And that’s because not only does it have the greatest range of health benefits, it often works best for individual health issues.
This happens for several reasons. We mentioned that when by itself, the compound cannabidiol struggles to pass the blood-brain barrier and needs the terpenes, which opens up the blood-brain barrier for the CBD molecule to pass through.
But even when two of the compounds share similar health benefits, how they deliver can look different, giving us multi-faceted support on multiple levels when consumed together.
We call this the entourage effect. And while broad spectrum CBD has this entourage effect, it’s missing the extra THC synergy effect full spectrum has.
Simply put, THC is therapeutically stronger than pretty much every single other compound in cannabis — there is THCV which is potentially 10x stronger, but it occurs in very, very small amounts. Take too much THC, and there will be a high because it’s over-activating too many CB1 receptors, which are predominantly found in the brain. The other main endocannabinoid receptor, CB2, is largely found in the immune and nervous systems. However, up until and even after that point, THC will unleash several therapeutic effects on the body that cannot be matched.
All of this makes THC something you likely want in your CBD oil. And this especially goes for your dog’s CBD oil, as you’ll see in a moment.
What About Broad Spectrum CBD?
Broad Spectrum CBD is a refined and more processed form of CBD compared to full spectrum. Broad spectrum simply means that the original (full spectrum) cannabinoid/terpene extract has been altered to remove some of the other therapeutic compounds.
With broad spectrum CBD, the goal is to usually remove all traces of THC. This isn’t always the case, and may not be in the future due to the term broad spectrum itself, but for now, it is.
While in some cases, the removal of THC from full spectrum is needed, for our dogs, there is little reason to avoid giving them full spectrum CBD.
The biggest reason THC is removed from CBD is due to large dosages risking false positives on drug tests. THC metabolites can stick around in the body for quite some time, allowing them to build up.
Now, no psychoactive effects come from this; the only risk is a drug test could detect it, testing positive for marijuana use.
If drug tests aren’t a concern, full spectrum is greatly preferred thanks to the synergy THC has with the other cannabinoids and terpenes.
While there isn’t enough THC in full spectrum to cause a high, especially with the molecule CBD blunting its ability to, there is enough for it to have a small therapeutic effect on the body.
Simply put, full spectrum CBD will have greater therapeutic benefits than other forms of CBD thanks to it retaining THC molecules.
What About CBD Isolate?
CBD isolate is just the compound cannabidiol, isolated away from all the other compounds that cannabis produces, which have their own therapeutic effects. After THC, the compound CBD is likely the most potent, and because it mainly targets CB2 receptors, it doesn’t cause a high.
In fact, CBD combats THC’s ability to cause a high because it attaches to CB1 receptors in a way that blocks THC from fully connecting to them — preventing it from overstimulating the receptor.
Due to most of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids being very small and occurring only in trace amounts, early research contributed a lot of their effects solely to CBD.
This caused many CBD brands to start creating CBD isolate because the thought was, why muck up the product with less therapeutic compounds when you can use the most potent?
It was quickly discovered, however, that CBD isolate couldn’t achieve what many hoped. With CBD isolate the effects are often uneven, and they themselves can be hard to achieve, as CBD isolate needs a very specific dosage to unlock them. Unlike full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD, you can take too much CBD isolate and feel nothing.
All this makes it nearly impossible to successfully give CBD isolate optimally to our dogs, since they can’t tell us how well it’s working. As well, since most aren’t taking drug tests, there is no reason they should avoid consuming traces of THC which can build up in the body as THC metabolites.
In fact, today, it’s very rare to see people use CBD isolate by itself. More often, you’ll see it used in tandem with full spectrum CBD. Doing this can increase the potency without harming the entourage effect that makes full spectrum CBD the best.
The decision to give your dog full spectrum CBD is an understandably big decision. Side effects from CBD are quite uncommon, especially when compared to medications with similar effectiveness to it.
This makes CBD a great option for the majority of dogs out there, whether they need help with their anxiety or you are just looking to better support their general health.
If your dog is on prescription medication, it can be a great idea to reach out to your dog’s veterinarian before. Similar to grapefruit and even kale, the compounds in CBD products can interact with certain medications that are metabolized along the same pathways and this can affect the strength of the medication.
This is potentially one of the many reasons reliance on prescription medication can be reduced when used in tandem with CBD.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the above article are independent professional judgment of the experts and The Tribune does not take any responsibility, in any manner whatsoever, for the accuracy of their views. This should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your physician for more details. CBD shall solely liable for the correctness, reliability of the content and/or compliance of applicable laws. The above is non-editorial content and The Tribune does not vouch, endorse or guarantee any of the above content, nor is it responsible for them in any manner whatsoever. Please take all steps necessary to ascertain that any information and content provided is correct, updated, and verified.
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