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Evidence has long existed which proves that marijuana provides many useful health benefits to humans. These benefits range from lessening chronic pain and muscle spasms to improving sleep and appetite.
The Cannabis plant has been used for medicinal purposes throughout history dating back thousands of years in many cultures and today, it’s legalized for medical use in 22 countries around the world. In the United States, the legality varies by state.
Marijuana is composed of around 480 different compounds present in the plant and the most well-known are the two cannabinoids THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC is the main psychoactive ingredient which is responsible for providing the feelings of lethargy or dysphoria which are most commonly associated with marijuana consumption. CBD is the cannabis compound which provides medical benefits and actually counteracts the effects of THC.
Related article: What is CBD? Is it legal? And does it get you high?
One common question that many people have is whether medical marijuana is useful for pets such as cats and dogs. Today, we’ll give you 8 potential benefits of sharing bud with your furry friends.
There’s some compelling evidence that THC has the potential ability to kill cancer cells. Studies that were undertaken in the mid-1970s revealed that the size of tumors in mice was significantly reduced when THC was introduced to the bloodstream. Additional experiments were conducted on mice with breast cancer which produced similar effects.
Related article: CBD and Pets: Not All CBD is Created Equal
While it’s apparent that THC is beneficial in combating cancer, a concrete system has not yet been established due to the difficulty with identifying specific cannabis compounds which are effective against specific types of cancer.
Even if your cat’s cancer isn’t cured after a marijuana dosage, it can still certainly help to make it feel better by reducing nausea and lessening pain.
CBD, one of the primary compounds in marijuana, works to directly activate the serotonin receptors in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates a range of critical responses in the body including appetite, sleep, addiction, and anxiety.
While formal studies on the effects of CBD in treating anxiety in cats have not yet begun, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that it’s as equal an effective treatment as it is in humans.
As cats and dogs both have cannabinoid receptors just as humans do, the scientific basis for the idea that medical marijuana can help with the same ailments that we have is already laid out. CBD has long been known to combat epilepsy in humans, reducing seizure and similar symptoms.
Related Article: Here's How You Should Use Cannabinoids On Your Pets
One well-known example which was broadcast on the CNN special “Weed” documents the experiences of a little girl who used cannabis oil and was almost immediately cured of 300 daily seizures.
Although it is still not legal for veterinarians to prescribe cannabis to pets, many owners have taken it upon themselves to administer cannabis oils and hemp; using it as a last resort when conventional treatment methods have failed.
While marijuana might not yet be legal for our pets, CBD certainly is. In fact, there are many commercial products available which are used to provide pain relief from common pet ailments such as arthritis, stress, back pain, cancer symptoms, and gastrointestinal issues. The most common type of product is CBD pet oil which can be mixed with food or administered directly under the pet’s tongue.
CBD is often prescribed by veterinarians to relieve inflammation and joint pain. Multiple scientific studies and have been undertaken to prove this and many pet owners have reported amazing results after only a few days of treatment.
Another one of the many health benefits that medical marijuana has been found to have on cats is its ability to decrease the negative effects of dementia in cats.
Feline dementia occurs when cats reach a certain age and cat gets depressed. It is also characterized by such behavior as disorientation, increased vocalizations, arthritis or other body pain and memory loss. It is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
With the right dosage, a senile feline can benefit greatly from medical marijuana, as many pet owners can attest to. Although it isn’t guaranteed to completely remove the symptoms of dementia, at the very least it is able to provide some comfort and relaxation during its final days.
Much anecdotal evidence exists to support the claims that medical marijuana is extremely beneficial in decreasing nausea and stimulating appetite. Many pet owners swear by the drug as it has helped their dogs and cats with debilitating health issues to fight their ailments.
Scientifically speaking, studies have already proven that CBD is beneficial for the digestive system, helps with loss of appetite, and calms anxiety.
Dogs and cats both experience loss of appetite and nausea for some reasons such as a change in routine, intestinal worms, viral infections, or kidney/liver disease, among many others.
Bronchospasms occur when the muscles that line the airways of a cat or dog's lungs tighten up which reduces airflow. This most frequently occurs in animals with allergies, asthma or chronic bronchitis. The spasms can be quite painful and some of the symptoms which pets experience include coughing, wheezing, constriction of the chest, and a feeling of exhaustion or dizzy spells.
Studies on medical marijuana in treating asthma have proven successful for humans, and scientists believe that there’s no reason why the same positive effects can’t be experienced by pets. Further studies to prove the efficacy of CBD on cats and dogs are currently still underway.
Despite a social stigma which is still associated with the usage of medical marijuana or CBD in treating pet ailments, many dog lovers are using it on their pets to alleviate the symptoms which are caused by food allergies.
Allergies in humans are another condition that is known to be fought off by compounds contained in Cannabis sativa.
While for pets, unfortunately, there hasn’t been all that much peer-reviewed research on the subject, one study conducted by Dr. Joseph Wakshlag of Cornell University saw a remarkable improvement in 80% of the dog test subjects. The dogs were exposed to hemp-based cannabidiol products which resulted in increased mobility and a decrease in allergy-related irritation.
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