COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT CANNABINOIDS (AND THE SCIENCE THAT DISPROVES THEM)
*Disclaimer: This article is not meant to serve as a substitute for veterinary advice. Dr.Hempdog believes firmly in the contents of this article because of the thorough research that backs it up and our own experiences with the thousands of dogs that we have helped through the years (including our own). You should always defer to your veterinarian when adding anything to your dog's unique wellness routine.
There are quite a few misconceptions about cannabinoids out there, some of which you might even believe yourself. To help clear things up, we’ve compiled this resource detailing some of the most common cannabinoid myths, followed by the scientific evidence that disproves them. Regardless, here’s one simple truth you should know: countless studies show that the right combinations of cannabinoids can be extremely helpful for dogs (and other animals) who struggle with arthritis, anxiety, and other conditions.
False: Cannabinoids Are Only Found in Cannabis
The words “Cannabinoids” and “Cannabis” sound quite similar, so it isn’t hard to see why people might have this misconception. While it’s true that the Cannabis plant (which includes all hemp varieties) is the richest source of cannabinoids in the world, it doesn’t have a monopoly on these incredible compounds. Cannabinoids can also be found in many other places, such as:
- The bodies of all animals: Studies show that every animal on earth (humans and dogs included) has an endocannabinoid system. That endocannabinoid system produces cannabinoids known as “endocannabinoids” that help the body maintain homeostasis. The two best-known endocannabinoids are Anandamide (AKA the “bliss molecule”) and 2-AG, each of which helps regulate bodily functions in countless ways. If you’d like to learn more, consult our article about anandamide and 2-AG.
A vast array of other plants: Cloves, cacao, and countless other plants contain cannabinoids and cannabinoid-like substances. In particular, “beta-caryophyllene,” a unique hybrid between a terpene and a cannabinoid, is abundantly found in many foods, such as black pepper, rosemary, hops, cinnamon, and more. However, Cannabis is the only known natural source of CBD, THC, and many other well-known cannabinoids, making it a unique source of these fascinating compounds.
- From the British Journal of Pharmacology: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931553/
False: Cannabinoids Only Interact with the Endocannabinoid System
Surface-level explanations of the science behind CBD’s benefits typically start with one key fact: cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system found in all animals to help maintain the body’s health. However, that’s a simplified explanation—in reality, cannabinoids have been shown to act on practically every system in the body, whether directly or indirectly.
CBD, for example, not only has an effect on the endocannabinoid system, but studies further show that it activates a variety of other receptors and systems to help regulate the body’s health.
False: CBD Breaks Down Into THC
Cannabinoids degrade over time, especially when improperly stored and/or exposed to heat and light. This fascinating process is still being studied, but is known to create various breakdown products, including other cannabinoids (for example, THC can degrade into CBN). While CBD can transform into CBE (a lesser-known cannabinoid that studies show to be neuroprotective), it has not been shown to break down into THC, although some scientists do debate these findings.
This myth partly stems from the fact that full-spectrum CBD products (CBD/Cannabinoid products with some amount of THC) can sometimes have very slight changes in THC contents, which is usually due to natural variances in the Cannabis plant or THC degrading into other substances after extraction.
False: THC is Always Intoxicating for Animals
While THC is intoxicating to most animals, numerous studies have demonstrated that it’s entirely safe for dogs (as well as horses, rabbits, cats, birds, and some other animals from what we’ve seen so far) when administered in small, controlled doses (0.3% or less, which is the amount in hemp). Here are just a few of the safety studies that prove this:
A 2020 study by the University of Saskatchewan concluded that small amounts of THC were generally safe, as negative side effects were only seen at much higher doses than those found in Dr.Hempdog.
- From Frontiers in Veterinary Science: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32118071/
A similar 2020 study done by the Complutense University of Madrid demonstrated that a full-spectrum CBD product in dogs induced no side effects.
- From Biomolecules: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32054131/
A 2018 study conducted by Cornell University found that full-spectrum CBD could alleviate pain and increased mobility in arthritic dogs, without causing any side effects.
- From Frontiers in Veterinary Science: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30083539/
Furthermore, safe amounts of THC have actually been shown to be extremely beneficial for the general health of animals as well as for enhancing the effectiveness of CBD. This synergy between cannabinoids is known as “the entourage effect,” and is one of the main reasons why full-spectrum CBD with small amounts of THC has been shown to be incredibly effective.
False: CBD is a Sedative/Sleep-Aid
Studies show that most cannabinoids (CBD included) do not induce sedation or sleep in humans or animals. The idea that CBD is a sleep-aid stems from how frequently people report their dogs having better rests after starting to use full-spectrum CBD. Chronic pain and inflammation can impair sleep quality, so once those conditions are managed, many animals are able to finally relax and get the rest they need.
Of course, studies do show that some cannabinoids can alleviate anxiety and/or promote sleep, but you should be mindful if you shop for these types of products.
For example, some full-spectrum CBD products contain higher levels of CBN, which is known to act as a relaxant. While these types of products can be beneficial to some dogs, they aren’t necessarily the best choices for dogs (particularly senior dogs) who want to be more active. We typically find that CBN is not ideal for senior dogs, unless they really need to relax.
Conversely, THC is known to act as a sedative, but only in higher doses than those found in hemp (above 0.3%), which as we explained earlier, can be toxic to animals. You can easily determine the amount of THC in a full-spectrum CBD product by examining the company’s lab work.
Have Any Other Questions?
We’re always available to answer any and all questions you might have about using cannabinoids to help your animal(s). You can easily schedule a free consultation with our team of experts by visiting our website, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by giving us a call at (720) 773-9595. We’ll connect you to the answers you need to be as successful as possible with our best-in-class CBD/Cannabinoid products.