How could my pet benefit from the use of medicinal cannabis?
You may be wondering why on earth your pet may need medicinal cannabis. After all, you have a wonderful veterinarian who has taken the best care of your beloved furbabe for years without it. And you’re right. Your veterinarian undoubtedly treats your dog or cat the best they know how, and probably loves doing so! The fact is, the use of cannabis is much like holistic medicine and herbal therapy. Fewer doctors have the opportunity to specialize in these areas, so it is lesser known and used. But that doesn’t mean these treatments don’t work.
Conditions that are difficult to manage with traditional medicine (without the risk of damaging side effects), can often be tackled with alternative therapies. Does your pet suffer from one or more of these issues?
- Chronic pain
- Limping or lameness
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Extreme fear of loud noises, such as thunder or fireworks
- Restlessness - especially at nighttime
- IBS, poor appetite, vomiting or nausea
- Seizures, convulsions or muscle spasms
- Skin problems
These are some of the most common ailments that turn pets owners to holistic medicine. They are also all treatable, all by cannabis.
Alternative therapies often come into play when traditional ones fall short. Some conditions can be difficult to manage effectively without the risk of dangerous side effects, or powerful pharmaceuticals (see again: side effects). Many modern medications and pharmaceuticals can cause unseen harm. For example, long term use of NSAIDs or pain medications can damage the kidneys and liver.
This is when pet owners start looking for alternatives.
The solution is to forego harmful pharmaceuticals if possible, and instead seek something natural, something that your pet’s body is designed to work with. (*Please don’t get the impression that all medication should be avoided - in some cases, they are absolutely necessary and life saving.*)
Resources for alternative healing come primarily from one source: the earth. Food therapy is an obvious first choice. The food your pet eats can be the strongest medicine out there. There are many foods that help reduce inflammation, promote healing, and simply fuel the body to be strong and healthy. Sometimes, this is not enough.
When your pet’s body gets out of rhythm, herbal therapy can help bring it back to balance. Specific herbs and supplements, when used correctly, can help the body heal and feel better.
Over time, even a strict regimen of combined alternative therapies can become exhausting and expensive. For example, a dog with severe arthritis may require multiple therapies. A therapeutic diet, pain medication, herbal therapy, massage and acupuncture are all common prescriptions for treating the extreme pain and discomfort the pup feels. Talk about a workout.
But what if there was one herb, one plant family, that could do the job of many different therapies single-handedly?
The plant family Cannabis Sativa L includes both marijuana and hemp (more on the difference between the two later), both of which contain an impressive amount of active molecules. These molecules, such as THC and CBD, interact directly with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is directly linked to major functioning systems in the body, including the nervous and immune systems, and the GI tract. This incredible connection to the ECS is what gives cannabis the power of so many functions and purposes.
All of the conditions listed above (and so many more) have the potential to be dramatically improved with the introduction of a specialized cannabis product. Though this is a wide variety of conditions, all stemming from different parts and functions of the body, they all have one thing in common: their connection with the ECS.
While medicinal cannabis is not a miracle that can replace the value of good nutrition (food therapy) or wonders of acupuncture, it does have a somewhat miraculous effect. The pain relief that it could provide our arthritic canine would reduce (or completely eliminate) the need for pain medication. He may require fewer or less frequent acupuncture sessions. The right cannabis formula would improve the efficacy of his therapeutic diet by supporting his GI system, further reducing inflammation.
Finding the right balance of CBD and THC in a pet’s medicinal cannabis prescription is vital to achieving the healing effect. And it’s not quite as easy as you think. Join us again next week when we discuss the different properties of marijuana and hemp, and how various conditions are specifically affected by the use of medical cannabis. The effect it has as a treatment for cancer is amazing!