by Miranda LaSala, content editor at PurringPal.com

Marijuana is, up to this date, a controversial topic. Its medicinal properties and effects on humans have gained attention that resulted in various studies. Such is not the same when it comes to animals – probably because of the lack of laws that allows veterinarians to legally practice and recommend medicinal marijuana to pets.

Whether we admit it or not, the stigma in medical marijuana use is still present and is the usual cause of debate.

Pets cannot process marijuana the same way humans do. A Purring Pal article statesthat the marijuana plant is even poisonous to cats. Thus, it is important to discuss with your veterinarian first should you wish to go down this unconventional path.

Cannabidiol is the component of marijuana that has promising effects both in humans and animals. It is non-psychoactive so it gives all the positive effects without the hallucinations and changes in perception.

Here are 8 times medical marijuana benefits cats and dogs:

  1. Anti Inflammatory and Pain Reliever

As a common knowledge, medical marijuana has anti-inflammatory and pain reliever effects. Thus, it is very popular among people with chronic diseases as part of their palliative care.

The same applies to our beloved pets. It alleviates pain and reduces swelling related to osteoarthritis and other illnesses. In fact, there was a study that showed CBD or Cannabidiol having promising effects on dogs.

80% of the subjects were observed to have a vital decrease in pain thus, resulting in relief and improved mobility. The better news is that there were no observable side effects among the dogs subjected to the trial.

The endocannabinoid system is known to have control over pain and reduction of inflammation or swelling in the body. CBD is one of more than 120 compounds called cannabinoids. When cannabinoid receptors; CB1 and CB2, gets in contact with CBD it forms an anti-inflammatory effect that in turn, alleviates pain.

  1. Anti Convulsant

While there are available drugs used to control seizures in dogs and cats, these are extremely dangerous for their organs. Cats specifically have sensitive liver, even more so than dogs. They don’t have the capability to process and metabolize high doses of synthetic drugs.

Continuous use of medications such as phenobarbital and potassium bromide have long-term effects on their well-being.

Perhaps the best known medicinal use of marijuana is to control tremors, seizures, spasms, and tics. CBD has been discovered to be particularly effective for those suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE).

In one study, 88% of patients with epilepsy saw a definite improvement after 4 to 5 months of religiously taking CBD.

  1. Anti Anxiety

The recently discovered endocannabinoid system exists in all vertebrates –humans, cats, and dogs included. It affects sleep, appetite, mood, memory, and pain.

Your cats, for example, have their own cannabinoids, anandamide, and 2AG. These are naturally produced cannabinoids much like CBD and the plant produced phytocannabinoids.

Our beloved pets are much like us. They too suffer from stress, anxiety or even phobia. Several studies support the use of CBD to manage symptoms of mental conditions including anxiety.

Anxiety can be caused by a lot of things. It happens when there is a serotonin level imbalance in the body affecting mood. 5-HT1A is a serotonin receptor that was found to be enhanced by CBD in a recent preclinical study improving mood and alleviating anxiety in animals.

  1. Reduces Nausea and Improves Appetite

The National Cancer Institutestates that CBD is beneficial in increasing the appetite of animals such as dogs and cats. A study has also shown that CBD produces its antiemetic and anti-nausea effect by activating the somatodendritic 5-HT1A autoreceptor in the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus (DRN).

The same effect is observed when CBD is administered to those with nausea and vomiting caused by toxins and drugs.

  1. Reduces Tumor Growth

CBD has been found to have anti-tumor effects. It stops cancer cells from growing and it kills existing malignant tumor cells. It stops the ability of cancer cells to produce its energy and without energy, cancer cells will eventually die.

A glioma is a type of tumor that is involved with 30% of the brain and nervous system tumors. CBD has a known effect to impede with glioma cell growth. CBD can also help in making the effects of conventional cancer treatment more potent and effective.

  1. Promotes a Healthy Nervous System

Dogs and cats are no exception to diseases or illnesses related to old age. They are no stranger to degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis and brain cell death.

CBD has neuroprotective effectsand it works by stopping NMDAr, AMPA, and Kainate Receptor-Mediated Neurotoxicity. It was found to protect the brain of old-aged dogs from cell death caused by toxins and radicals.

  1. Promotes a Healthy Immune System

CBD can help our pets with immune system related illnesses and food allergies. It is found to decrease inflammatory cytokines that cause hypersensitivities and autoimmunity. CBD subdues Th17 cells and macrophages related to immune-inflammatory diseases.

  1. Promotes a Healthier Well Being

CBD’s benefits to cats and dogs are not only to treat illnesses. Many pet owners now practice using CBD as part of their beloved pets’ regular regimen.

As it can improve appetite, the use of CBD ensures that your pets get the nourishment they need to stay healthy. With its antitumor effects, regular intake of CBD avoids the growth of malignant tumors. It is also shown to prevent colitis and improve bowel motility promoting a healthier well being.

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