CBD, THC, Medical Marijuana, Hemp, and the 2018 Farm Bill have all been making headlines lately. From the local news, to the national news and even the Wall Street Journal hemp is making headlines.
What is it? What do I need to know? And, can it really help my pet?
Hemp is a cannabis plant. Yes, the same one that produces marijuana or pot. The difference between marijuana and hemp is the amount of THC present in the plant. THC is the compound in marijuana that provides the psychoactive attributes or gets you high. Hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively made all cannabis plants illegal and the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 formally made all cannabis illegal.
The 2018 Farm Bill ensures that cannabinoids derived from hemp will be legal if the hemp is produced in a manner consistent with the Farm Bill, associated federal regulations, associated state regulations, and by a licensed grower. All other cannabinoids, produced in any other setting remain illegal.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are a diverse class of chemical compounds that occur naturally in the human body and within all mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. Cannabinoids found naturally in the body are call endocannabinoids and those found in plants are phytocannabinoids. Over 100 cannabinoids have been identified. THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids play an important role in the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is also referred to as ECS. The ECS is a collection of cell receptors and molecules located throughout the body – brain, organs, connective tissue, glands and immune cells – with the goal of maintaining homeostasis, or optimal balance.
Didn’t learn about the endocannabinoid system in school? That’s because this system wasn’t discovered until the 1990’s by researchers trying to understand the effects of marijuana and THC on the body.
Cannabinoids and their receptors work like a lock and key. The locks are the receptors CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are abundant in the central nervous system – the brain and nerves of the spinal cord. The CB2 receptors are found in immune cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the peripheral nervous system.
Cannabinoid receptors play a significant role in regulating many bodily functions such as:
- Appetite, Digestion and Hunger
- Motor control
- Immune Function
- Reproduction and Fertility
- Pleasure and Reward
- Temperature regulation
- Inflammation, including neuroinflammation
The keys to these locks, or receptors, are endocannabinoids. They tell your body when to start and stop these processes. Disruption of the system causes disfunction in some or all the functions above.
The body does produce some endocannabinoids, but they primarily come through food, especially omega-3 fatty acids.
Along with the locks (receptors CB1 and CB2) and keys (endocannabinoids) enzymes play a big role in ECS function. Enzymes are the clean-up crew of the system. They breakdown leftover cannabinoids that haven’t found a receptor to bind with.
What is the difference between THC and CBD?
THC, the phytocannabinoid found in marijuana, attaches to the same receptor as anandamide. Anandamide, found naturally in the body, has a calming effect, but is not psychoactive. The FAAH enzyme breaks down anandamide and other endocannabinoids. It works quickly on your body’s own endocannabinoids but can’t break down THC. So, THC binds to the same receptor, remains around longer and therefore a greater effect on your body.
CBD, also found in marijuana and hemp, does not have the same psychoactive properties as THC. CBD works differently in the body than THC. In the brain, CBD stops the FAAH enzyme from breaking down anandamide, so the anandamide works longer and has more of an impact on the body. This could be why CBD can help treat anxiety disorders.
Can my dog get high?
Yes, dogs can get high if they consume marijuana. While a human will understand what they signed up for when they ingest marijuana, a dog does not understand the psychoactive effects and can become very sick. If your pet does ingest marijuana and experiences any adverse effects, please seek veterinarian help immediately.
Will CBD oil make my pet sick?
No, CBD is safe and non-toxic for your dog. It is the THC in marijuana that has the psychoactive effects. CBD, by its nature is extremely low in THC. If you chose to give CBD to your pet, look for one that is THC free. The team at PetAlive is currently developing new CBD products that will be available in April.
What can CBD do for my pet?
While research on CBD is in its infancy, the endocannabinoid system does play a role in most bodily systems and CBD could help your pet obtain homeostasis within these systems.
BY MARY ELLEN KOSANKE