How Pet CBD Restores Emotional Balance
Fall is a time for balance, where the days are filled with sunny warmth and the evenings chilly starry skylines. It’s also a time when emotional stress can be high amongst humans, and that can trickle down into our pets. CBD can assist with anxiousness and other emotional imbalance behaviors but how it does so can be a mystery. Let’s unravel that mystery so we can help your pet return to emotional balance no matter the season.
We need to understand a few things about the endocannabinoids system (ECS), the body’s natural cannabis receptor system. The ECS is the system that CBD primarily interacts with, and it’s integral to normal development in utero, during puppy and kittenhood, into adulthood then senior and geriatric years. Receptors are found in nearly every type of cell within the body with higher concentration of receptors found within distressed tissues. Lastly and most importantly, the ECS has only one function within the body: listen to and correct cellular stress.
The ECS is made up of receptors, compounds that interact with receptors and the pathways in between them. Receptors move compounds into and out of cells, causing a cascade of events leading to soothing chemical release for the nearby cells and tissues. The main compounds moved are CBD and THC but receptors like balance, and minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBN and CBC are also utilized. Ratios between these compounds helps receptors remain balanced and offers the ECS the ideal mix of compounds for its tasks.
The pathways carrying CBD and other compounds to signaling receptors can be moved according to what the body needs, and often intertwine with other receptor systems. This interconnectedness of ECS pathways with other systems is highly beneficial for emotional balance, though the ECS functions the same in joint tissues as it does in other bodily systems like gastrointestinal & urinary tracts and cardiovascular & neurological systems. For a more detailed explanation of the ECS, see our blog about CBD works in the neurological system.
The Balanced Emotional System
The balanced emotional system is highly dynamic and able to quickly respond according to stimuli, and equally as quickly relaxing back to a resting, relaxed state. Let’s take package delivery — another common occurrence this time of year — as our stimulus and a balanced dog hanging out around the house. During the relaxed state, the pupils are highly responsive and dilate or contract quickly, the blood vessels are flexible and easily allow blood to all parts of the body, breathing and heart rates are steady and unhurried, and the muscles and fur are relaxed. When the intruding delivery person is heard, the body goes into a state of high emotional output. Pupils dilate and are slow to contract; blood vessels are taught and shuttle blood to exterior muscles; breathing and heart rates raise significantly, and tense muscles are ready to back up raised hackles should the intruder make their way inside. Once the stimulus (aka the intruder, aka delivery person) has left the premises, the emotionally balanced dog goes back to hanging out knowing their job was well done.
A Poorly Balanced Emotional System
When pets are having emotional instability including anxiousness and reactivity, it’s often due to an excessive emotional response to a given stimulus. In this example a best-buddy duo of dog & cat may associate Fall decorations with an influx of strange humans in the home. While it’s understandable for either of them to be upset while strangers are present, an excessive response is weeks or months of anxiousness simply because pumpkins were placed out. During such a response, muscles remain tense to some degree during all waking hours, often resulting in nervous body postures and facial expressions. Pupils may be more dilated than not and increased breathing rates at rest are common. Blood vessels aren’t as supple causing the heart to work just a little bit harder. Internal hormonal systems like adrenal glands become tired and can’t do their jobs efficiently. Appetites are altered as the body directs resources for the upcoming perceived fight or flight. While the ECS is attempting to address all of these stressed areas, it simply cannot keep up. Here’s where CBD supplementation can have a big impact.
CBD Helps Restore Emotional Balance
All those cells in a hyper-alert, stressed state are sending out chemical signals the ECS pathways pick up. The pathways respond by increasing in number and sensitivity (called upregulation) in anticipation of an influx of CBD and other compounds. Once those compounds are on hand, the ECS uses them singly and in combination with each other to kickstart calming events.
Each set of events is unique to the cell type and compounds involved. To calm a scared heart rate and relax super tight blood vessels, the ECS may utilize CBD, CBG, & CBC and the terpenes linalool (think lavender) and limonene (citrus smells). In the brain, where cells are firing at high speeds awaiting the dreaded holiday guests, the ECS will pull larger amounts of CBD, CBN, CBG, humulene (hops), and linalool to soothe the cells down and ease the body into a calmer state.
Dogs and cats often respond differently to these compounds, both in efficacy and potential side effects like sedation. Larger dogs with anxiousness or reactivity respond exceptionally well to higher CBD:THC and the use of terpenes like g-terpinene (herby citrus). These combinations can cause sedation in smaller patients whose ECS prefer gentler handling. Cats respond similarly to smaller dogs in terms of CBD and THC amounts, but tend to respond better to different terpenes like a-bisabolol (warm floral) and geraniol (geranium).
Using Canna Companion CBD Formulations for Emotional Health
If your pet has mild emotional imbalances, only seen during specific events like holiday dinners, then a CBD oil specific for your pet is usually all that’s needed to boost the ECS, but you may want to give 2x the labeled amount for your pet’s weight about 60-90 min before the festivities begin.
For pets with more substantial emotional imbalances, we typically see best results with a combination of therapies: a baseline CBD capsule administration and strategic CBD oil dosing. These pets live in a mild to moderate state of anxiousness nearly all the time and their ECS needs compound trickled into the bloodstream over several hours each day.
- Cats with mild emotional imbalances do well with Neurological Support 1 cap/PM so they get a good night’s rest.
- Dogs with mild imbalances may also do well with 1 cap/PM Neurological Support, while those with more moderate or severe concerns should take 1 cap twice daily.
In addition to CBD neuro supportive capsules, many pets need CBD oil prior to a known trigger – anything that amps up their baseline levels of anxiousness or reactivity. In addition to their baseline CBD capsules, give 1-3x the labeled dose for their weight. Use higher doses for more severe imbalances. Mild sedation is possible with higher doses but may not be a bad thing. Sedation can sometimes be a good thing which is why ultra-calming CBD:THC are used in our Neurological Support CBD capsules. That sedation triggers ECS and non-ECS relaxing receptor systems, causing the relaxation of vessels & airways, tense muscles and overly stiff joints. This process brings more oxygen into the nervous system which adds further calming effects and provides energy for the brain to reset itself and the body.
(For details regarding use of Canna Companion products, click here.)
Over time, pets with anxiousness and reactivity are often able to see a reduction in their CBD. A cat who needed neuro supportive capsules + oil for the last year may phase off the capsules and continue to use CBD oil for known triggers. This is because as the ECS calms the brain and its negatively wired pathways creating anxiousness and reactivity, the brain learns new healthier pathways to manage stressful situations … and the ECS is there helping the entire way. The end result is a happier, emotionally balanced pet!