CBD 101 old

What is CBD oil, where does it come from, how does it work and what can it do for your pet?

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is an abbreviation for cannabidiol oil. Cannabidiol is a natural compound (phytocannabinoid) extracted from the flowers, leaves and stalks of the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabidiol interacts with the endocannabinoid system and assists the body in maintaining balance.

Where does CBD oil come from?

CBD comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. The Cannabis sativa plant is classified either as industrial hemp if the level of THC is less than 0.3% or marjiuana if the THC is more than 0.3%. CBD products can be produced from either of these plants however the end product must contain less than 0.3% THC regardless of which plant it originates from.

Cannabis sativa produces primary and secondary compounds

Primary compounds

are essential for the survival of the plant and include - proteins, fiber, cellulose, nutrients made from photosynthesis etc.

Secondary compounds

are those compounds that increase the likelihood of a plant’s survival - cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.

The cannabinoid profile of each cannabis plant is dependent on growing conditions, environmental stressors and genetics. Botanists can selectively breed plants that produce higher quantities of CBD synthase, the enzyme responsible for the production of cannabidiol (CBD).

Cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids are extracted from the hemp plant via a variety of extraction techniques, the most common being hydrocarbon solvent extraction, ethanol solvent extraction and carbon dioxide solvent extraction. As the plant ages different cannabinoids are produced changing the colour and shade of the trichomes. This change guides CBD manufacturers to harvest at the ideal time depending on what cannabinoid profile they are wanting to produce.

How does CBD oil work?

There are three main secondary compounds produced by the Cannabis sativa plant:

1. Cannabinoids

2. Terpenes

3. Flavonoids

All of these compounds carry therapeutic properties and work together in a synergistic manner to enhance each other's effects. A phenomena referred to as the ‘entourage effect’.

1. Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are split into major and minor cannabinoids and because they are plant derived they are referred to as phytocannabinoids

Major and Minor cannabinoids of the Cannabis sativa plant: Broad and Full spectrum CBD products will contain a combination of both major and minor cannabinoids.

2. Terpenes

Terpenes are the compounds that give the aromatic smell to cannabis. These compounds are what differentiates strains of cannabis from one another and the effects they have on the user. Terpenes interact with cannabinoids altering and enhancing their effects (entourage effect).

Cannabis Terpenes: these compounds, along with cannabinoids, are produced in the cannabis flower. The average cannabis flower contains 3 - 4% terpene concentration.

3. Flavonoids

Flavonoids are the compounds which give taste, colour and aroma to plants. These compounds may have antioxidant and antiproliferative properties.

These secondary compounds produced by the Cannabis sativa plant have an effect on the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

is the most extensive receptor system in the body, with receptors being found on every organ system and in every animal studied to date (excluding insects). This system is responsible for maintaining internal homeostasis and keeping balance within the body especially during states of stress, illness and injury.

  • Animals produce natural endogenous cannabinoids referred to as endocannabinoids which bind to the Cannabinoid Receptors (CB receptors). There are two types of CB receptors - CB1 and CB2.
  • Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system which is made up of CB1 and CB2 receptors as well as endocannabinoids.
  • THC and CBD molecules (phytocannabinoids) are very similar in structure to these naturally occurring endocannabinoids and as a result exert a similar effect at these receptors.
  • In addition to working at the CB1 and CB2 receptors endo- and phytocannabinoids also have the ability to bind and interact with other receptors in the body such as the serotonin, vanilloid and dopamine receptors amongst others.
  • The interaction at all these receptors results in modulation of neurotransmitters, down regulation of inflammatory proteins, as well as an increase in naturally occurring endocannabinoids and other feel good molecules.

What can CBD oil do for my pet?

Reported applications of CBD oil include but are not limited to:

  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Improved seizure control
  • Pain control
  • Improvement of mobility in animals with osteoarthritis
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Immune mediated diseases
  • Modulating THC’s intoxicating effects
  • Assisting with sleep quality
  • Nausea reduction
  • Anti-cancer
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Research into CBD in dogs and cats: more and more reliable studies are emerging

CBD’s medicinal properties in humans have been investigated in numerous preclinical studies often involving animal models. Their findings can thus be extrapolated to companion animals to some extent. Due to the legal restrictions with regards to the cannabis plant many preclinical studies were unable to progress into human trials stifling scientific progress. However, with the recent legalization of cannabis in many countries this is changing and more clinical studies are being conducted in the human field as well as within cats and dogs that are showing promising results.

Cannabinoids have been shown to have numerous effects throughout the body in both humans and animals.

It is early days in proving consistent clinical effects of CBD however, many practitioners report good results with their own patients as well as pet owners reporting clinical improvement in their pets.