According to the APPA (American Pet Products Association), in 2019, American consumers spent a staggering $95 billion on their pets, up $5 billion from the year before. What are we spending all that money on? Food and treats primarily ($37 billion), vet care ($29 billion), and supplies like beds, toys, and over the counter medicines ($19 billion). What else are we buying for Fifi the cat and Fido the dog? CBD!
If you have visited a pet store recently, you may have noticed numerous CBD products on their shelves, from tinctures to treats to topical sprays to shampoos. Over the past five years, people have become more curious about CBD and what it can do for our well-being — and with that comes interest in how CBD can impact the well-being of our pets. If taking CBD can leave someone feeling less anxious, does that mean it will work for an anxious animal as well?
PUPPY, MEET PLANT: HOW THE ECS AND CBD INTERACT IN ANIMALS
Similar to humans, animals have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system in the body is responsible for building and sustaining health. Its primary role is to maintain and balance all of the other systems in the body such as the endocrine system, reproductive system, and immune system. The system consists of receptors throughout the body and in the brain, which helps maintain biological balance in reaction to environmental changes. The ECS plays a critical role in regulating a broad range of physiological processes that affect our everyday experience, such as our energy level, mood, and immunity, as well as how we experience stress, pain, and more.
The ECS involves three core components: Endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Endocannabinoids are molecules produced by the body which help keep internal functions running smoothly. Your body produces them as needed, making it difficult to know what typical levels are for each. They’re similar to the phytocannabinoids like CBD produced by the cannabis plants. Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout your body. Endocannabinoids bind to them in order to signal that the ECS needs to take action. The two main receptors are: CB1 which are mostly found in the central nervous system and CB2, which are mostly found in your peripheral nervous system, especially immune cells. Lastly, enzymes are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their function.
Phytocannabinoids are the active chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that interact with a human or animal’s body’s endocannabinoid receptors. CBD is one of over 85 different cannabinoids that reside in the flowers of the cannabis plant. CBD is purported to possess useful medicinal properties, which is why humans are taking it themselves and giving it to their pets.
WHY PEOPLE ARE GIVING CBD TO PETS
In January this year, CBD researchers, Brightfield Group, conducted a survey on the pet CBD marketplace, and some of the results were jaw-dropping. First, the sales of CBD pet products in the United States quadrupled in 2019 to $32 million from $8 million in 2017. Second, 48% of pet CBD buyers reported that they stop using prescriptions for their pets once they try CBD. 74% of current pet CBD consumers have discussed CBD with their veterinarian, and 80% received an enthusiastic response during the conversation with their vet. That said, a vet’s cannot legally prescribe CBD because it has not yet been approved by the FDA. 64% of consumers buy pet CBD to reduce overall levels of anxiety or stress for their pet.
So what explains this growth in interest in CBD for pets? Over the past 30 or so years, pet owners’ awareness of their animals’ health and well-being has changed significantly compared to their parents’ or grandparents’ generations. The 21st century pet parent is looking more carefully at what their animals consume — from the food they eat to the medications they take. Because most consumers are more cognizant of some of the negative side effects of pharmaceutical medications, they are not afraid to turn to natural remedies to treat their pets’ ailments. 30 years ago, Baby Boomers likely wouldn’t have taken their dog to a naturopathic vet for acupuncture treatment, a chiropractic adjustment, or hydrotherapy, but in 2020, these treatments are available. Now more than ever, people see their pets as integral members of their family, and they will do whatever they can to keep them healthy and happy.
A holistic vet in Northern California reported that her clients are typically interested in using CBD for their animals’ general wellness as well as some of the following conditions: Cancer; epilepsy and seizures; stress and anxiety; digestion and nausea; pain and inflammation due to joint problems; aging and degenerative diseases; and skin inflammation and allergies.
Continue reading What You Should Know About CBD For Pets, Part 2.
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