Why CBD Is My First Choice
What Exactly Is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is derived from the hemp plant. Humans, dogs, cats, and many other animals have a special system within their bodies called the endocannibinoid system (ECS), and it is separate from the nervous and immune systems. Research on the ECS is relatively new, but I’m going to try and break it down so it’s easier to understand in comparison to the other systems in the body.
Endocannibinoid System At A Glance
The ECS is a complex network of cannabinoid receptors found in nearly every part of the body (brain, immune system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and pretty much every other organ). It is present in most animals, and the receptors are responsible for regulating many of the body’s functions. Some of the functions that are regulated by the ECS are appetite, sleep, pain receptors, inflammation, stress response, and skin health (among many others). The ECS is sometimes known as an internal balancing system, or one that keeps the body in equilibrium. Cannabinoids attach to the receptors and illicit a response to re-balance whatever is out of whack.
The difference between the ECS and the other systems in the body is that the ECS does not have a specific home base. It is a bunch of little satellites that are set up around the body. Its structure is similar to a company without a headquarters that has smaller offices all over a region.
Interestingly enough, humans are able to make their own cannabinoids. There are also numerous plants that contain phytocannabinoids that can interact with the ECS just like the cannabinoids that we produce naturally. When a person or animal is suffering from a chronic illness, the body does not do what it’s supposed to do, and that is when phytocannabinoids can help pick up some of the slack.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
Hemp and Marijuana are from the same plant, but marijuana is selectively grown to have more tetrahydrocannibinoid (THC). THC is what gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. You cannot get “high" on hemp, because it does not contain enough THC. Hemp may contain a minimal amount of THC (less than 1%), but marijuana contains much higher levels (around 18% on average). In fact, there are hemp products available that contain absolutely zero THC, and those are the products I have personal experience with.
Should I Use CBD?
It’s a loaded question. Do you need sufficient sleep, less stress, less inflammation, and safer pain management? If yes, then you may benefit from using a high-quality, guaranteed CBD product. If you are perfect and have zero issues, stop reading this and return to your home planet, because you obviously aren’t human and you probably don’t even have an ECS.
Should I Use CBD For My Pets?
Another loaded question. Does your pet have pain, inflammation, a chronic illness, immunity/allergy problems, or anxiety? If not, awesome! Keep doing whatever you’re doing. If you can answer yes to any of those, your pet may benefit from using a high-quality, guaranteed CBD product.
Because the FDA has not approved its use in pets, veterinarians cannot prescribe or even recommend CBD (at least not recommend on paper - many vets are pro-CBD because they want their patients to have the best chance at a better quality of life). This creates several issues. 1.) Vets may feel obligated to prescribe something for pain management, and their options are somewhat limited to pharmaceuticals and supplements. Nutraceuticals are a little harder to come by, especially if there is limited/no formal research. 2.) Pet owners may be nervous about trying it because of the lack of endorsement by veterinarians, and it may lead them to think of CBD as a last resort when everything else (including pharmaceuticals) has failed.
Why wait until EVERYTHING is imbalanced when you can start balancing smaller issues before they become huge issues? Fear of the unknown is a common reason. Another reason is that many people think CBD is illegal, probably because they confuse hemp with marijuana. To be fair, it is confusing, and the fear of getting arrested by the feds because you’re trying an alternative approach can be scary. Trust me, the feds have way more to worry about than you using a perfectly legal, misunderstood product.
My Personal Experience With CBD
I have been taking CBD with melatonin for about two weeks to help with intermittent insomnia. I frequently tossed and turned, and I would wake up around 2am for no known reason, but was unable to fall back asleep. I couldn’t get comfortable, despite keeping the room cool and dark and maintaining a near-perfect sleep hygiene routine before bed. After two nights of use, I started waking up feeling more refreshed. I didn’t have a crook in my neck every morning, and my lower back pain completely disappeared.
My dog, Sophie, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma a few months ago, and after having one of her toes amputated, I decided to give CBD a try. Sophie is unable to take Tramadol for pain relief because it causes some neuro issues for her. She would chatter her teeth and she seemed paranoid, even on a very low dose. We were able to take her off of pain meds completely (including Rimadyl, which is an NSAID) after we began a CBD regimen. She gets a relatively higher dose twice a day, and she is feeling like a brand-new dog. I honestly have been shocked with how effective CBD has been for her, and she stands in front of the desk her CBD treats and tincture are on every night before bed. “Hand ‘em over, ma!”
A high-quality CBD product comes with a price tag, but it has been worth every penny for us. Seeing my beautiful baby running around with her younger fur-brother, Archie, is one of the best things in my life. And getting some solid zzz’s has been incredible for me, especially because of how hectic my days can get. The best part? Neither of us have had any negative effects from using CBD. Zero. Nada.
If you’re thinking about trying CBD for yourself, chat with your doctor or veterinarian first to make sure that it’s a good fit for you. It is always best to consult the professionals first before trying any new supplements or nutraceuticals. I am not a medical doctor nor am I a veterinarian, and I do not intend to give any medical advice. I’m just a crazy dog mom/nerd that really likes to read about stuff, and I thought you’d like to know a little more about the benefits that hemp has to offer.