Do you have a pet? If so, what does that mean to you? According to this survey, a majority of Americans (69%) consider their pets as family members, and one in five (23%) even see their pets as children. Furthermore, millennials view their pets as starter children since they delay having kids of their own, getting to the point where almost 40% of them would take maternity/paternity leave upon welcoming a new pet.

Regardless, as pet owners, we always want them to be absolutely happy and healthy. In that sense, when they suffer, we suffer too. Just like humans, they sometimes have to deal with a disease or a disorder, which can be very frustrating and even heartbreaking to us. Lately, though, CBD usage for pets to relieve those health conditions has been frequently and actively studied.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis and has been the most sought-after subject of much research due to its various medical applications, including its therapeutic attributes. The compound is non-psychoactive (meaning it does not make you high, often associated with THC), proving itself as a safe and effective option for those who may be concerned about the mind-altering effects. CBD also has no known toxicity level, and therefore, is incapable of causing an overdose.  

Along the way, the endocannabinoid system – that regulates the body’s internal balance – was discovered through researching the effects of cannabis on the human body. The endocannabinoid system is consisted of endocannabinoids and their receptors (called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors), which are found everywhere in the body from the brain to glands and immune cells. Many of the CB1 receptors are found in the brain, dealing with coordination and movement, pain, emotions and mood, thinking, appetite, and memories, among others. THC attaches to these receptors. CB2 receptors are mostly found in the immune system, and have an effect on inflammation and pain. While the endocannabinoid system works differently in different parts of the body, its ultimate purpose is to maintain a constant and balanced internal environment known as homeostasis. When some ailments may be related to dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system, CBD would play a significant role in relieving those conditions. It’s important to note that dogs and cats also have an endocannabinoid system that functions much in the same way as the human ECS.

While CBD can provide us all the health benefits, it could help our furry friends too on behavior issues, stress relief, anxiety, pain relief, and appetite control – and maybe more to discover – since many of the conditions manifest much in the same way in pets as they do in humans.

“There are no published studies of CBD in pets. I could see it being beneficial because these receptors exist in animals, as well. And, there are those stories of people saying that pets felt better with less anxiety or it helped with issues better,” according to cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, arguably one of America’s best-known doctors, who lost his beloved black Lab named Rosie in the summer of 2016 (and Khaleesi joined the Oz clan shortly after). “I’ve never given Khaleesi CBD but when Rosie was dying of cancer, I would’ve considered it but I had other ways of comforting her. I didn’t think she was in pain, and her biggest issue was that she had trouble moving toward the end. But she was around the family, and she never seemed in pain, and she never yelled. She became incontinent but that didn’t bother me. We just treated her with love till the last moment.”

After a moment of pause, Oz says with a smile, “And, Khaleesi is the same exact kind of dog as the TODAY show dog so I might make them!”

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