Cannabinoids– the new health kick for pets?
With the cannabis plant dominating the news lately, it’s not unreasonable for your brain to immediately jump to stoners and state rights.
But did you know that there’s another part of the plant species that has encouraging health implications for humans and their domesticated animals alike? Non-psychoactive compounds found in the cannabis plant–called cannabinoids or CBDs– have been clinically shown to help with everything from anxiety to pain management to disease prevention.
We sat down with Steve Smith, president of the Englewood-based Pet Releaf company that makes cannabinoid treats and concentrates aimed at dogs, cats and other pets.
“This is the biggest medical discovery in decades,” he says (and actually he means “rediscovery,” as the medical benefits of the plant have been dated back to ancient times). “All mammals have an endocannabinoid system that doesn’t work until you introduce CBDs into the body, opening receptors that allow our bodies to have a conversation with our brains.”
Usually this “conversation” is one-sided as the brain sends signals to parts of the body without a response. Ever heard of phantom limb? It’s the sensation that amputees sometimes experience when the brain assumes a missing limb is still attached the body and working normally. That’s an example of the brain sending messages to a limb, but without the limb–or lack thereof– being able to respond back.
“CBDs allow for a two-way communication between the body and the brain,” Steve says, “and introducing these compounds are literally the only way our bodies have that capability.”
A medicine for all mammals
One of the most useful benefits of CBD oils that Steve has witnessed relates to pain and inflammation management, and this is especially relevant for pet owners with aging animals. According to a peer-reviewed journal, recent studies indicate that cannabinoids are “very effective against chronic pain of both neuropathic and inflammatory origin.”
Steve and company are not fans of doped-up dogs, and that’s why they see real value in pain management alternatives.
“Pain management is a huge area with cannabinoids, and they don’t have the side effects of other pain meds,” he says. “We are on a mission to change what is healthy for pets.”
Pet Releaf is on the front lines of the CDB movement for pets, which may be about to burgeon with increased public interest relating to state legislatures allowing the growth of more and more cannabis plants–namely marijuana (CBD use is currently legal in all 50 states when produced from hemp and not the federally illegal marijuana plant).
And while Pet Releaf uses a CO2 extraction method to draw their CBD oil from organic European-grown hemp– giving their tinctures the highest efficacy possible– other companies may be cutting corners by adding ingredients that act as fillers- or that render benefits of CBDs less potent.
CBD products that cut their purity with compounds like isopropyl alcohol are only deactivating a percentage of the useful medicine that could be helping an ailing body more, and it seems like companies engaged in these practices are concerned more with profit margins than producing a quality product. If isopropyl alcohol is used for things like cleaning, sterilizing and killing, why would you mix that into perfectly good oil? That’s like microwaving your probiotics.
“The number one thing we stress is knowing exactly where your CBD is sourced,” Steve says. “Hemp is being grown in China with no oversight, in dangerous levels of industrial and water pollution.”