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CBD Might Affect Pets and Humans in the Same Way

Photo: Courtesy of Krista Mangulsone

Steve Smith

Co-founder and President, Pet Releaf

Should you give CBD oil to your pets?

By now, everyone has heard of the benefits CBD oil has for human beings. CBD can help ease stress, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. And anyone who considers their pets as part of the family has probably wondered if it can ease anxiety and pain for them as well. 

Apparently, it might. 

Steve Smith, co-founder and president of PetReleaf, said in an interview that CBD can actually provide much of the same benefits to dogs and animals as it does for humans. 

Smith said part of the reason he began his company was watching a beloved family dog, Maddie, suffer from old age. “We all start breaking down when we get older. But unfortunately for dogs and cats, the holistic-type choices or the less-impactful choices are scarce. The drugs available all carry some level of side effects. Some are worse than others,” Smith said. As she started getting a little bit worse, the steroidal, anti-inflammatories were not doing enough, so they then graduated to opiate-based painkillers. She just jumped up and fell into a blob on the floor. It was just crushing.”

In her honor

Some studies have suggested that CBD or CBD oils can help with pain relief in humans as they age, such as with rheumatoid arthritis. As Smith began researching more holistic treatments for his pets, he wondered if CBD could help dogs in the same way it does humans. 

“There are thousands of clinical studies proving that there are medicinal qualities to the cannabis plant. You don’t have to be high to receive the health benefits.” Smith says. 

Soon after, he and his family moved from Florida to Colorado to start this new business in Maddie’s honor. “Because we lost her before we could find [a holistic solution],” Smith said. “Hopefully, less animals will have to suffer like that through their last couple years.” 

It works

PetReleaf focuses its offerings on dogs because they are generally a little less picky than cats. 

“Everything we have on the market is pretty much geared toward dogs. We’ve got one product that is also cat friendly,” Smith said. “Cats are the most finicky of our pets.”

You should check with a veterinarian before you give your pet any medical or medical-adjacent substance. But Smith emphasizes that just like in humans, no study has shown any negative effect of CBD in dogs’ health. It is, after all, impossible to overdose on marijuana. 

At the end of the day, treating animals like family may have more benefits than you might think. 

“All mammals have an endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors throughout your body. It’s particularly prevalent in the immune system, the digestive system, and the cardiovascular system. It’s present in every one of your biological systems within your body.” And just as the cannabis plant can help the human endocannabinoid system, it can help those of dogs as well. In fact, maybe even more so. 

“We’re seeing a more successful impact in dogs compared to humans: 70% for dogs versus 50% for humans.”

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