With more and more dog owners turning to holistic medicinal alternatives rather than chemically-based, conventional medications, the conversation surrounding the cannabis plant is rapidly growing. As we all know, with more talk comes more misunderstandings. In this article, we hope to clear up some uncertainties surrounding both the marijuana plant as well as the hemp plant by discussing all things related to phytocannabinoids!
What are Phytocannabinoids
In order to fully understand the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant, it is important to have basic knowledge of what exactly it is made up of. We're talking about phytocannabinoids.
Phytocannabinoids are the naturally occurring cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. Phytocannabinoids vary from other chemical compounds in that they occur naturally whereas synthetic cannabinoids are artificially manufactured. They also vary from endocannabinoids which are, in fact, cannabinoid receptors that exist within the body.
We want to mention that the term 'phyto' is defined as pertaining to derived from plants. However, most people refer to phytocannabinoids simply as cannabinoids. While there are minimal differences between the two terms, experts typically use them interchangeably.
What is a Cannabinoid
Just to reiterate, the vast majority of people abbreviate the term phytocannabinoid simply to cannabinoid. In this article, we will use both terms so that our readers become accustomed to seeing it both ways. Therefore, a cannabinoid is a naturally occurring compound that interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Whether the cannabinoid is an endocannabinoid or phytocannabinoid dictates where it occurs, either in the human body or in the cannabis plant. Additionally, as we previously mentioned, cannabinoids can be manufactured artificially.
The most well-known cannabinoid is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC). It is widely known for its psychoactive properties, giving its users the euphoric effects that are typically associated with the 'stoner' stereotype. (More on THC in a moment). The second most well-known cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD) which is quickly rising in terms of its medicinal properties. This is not to say that THC doesn't have medicinal benefits. It certainly does. However, there is still a negative stigma surrounding the cannabinoid.
Classes of Cannabinoids
While most people are familiar with THC and CBD, they are only 2 of 113 cannabinoids that scientists have identified. These cannabinoids are split into subcategories including the following:
- Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC)
- Cannabigerols (CBG)
- Cannabichromenes (CBC)
- Cannabidiols (CBD)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabinodiol (CBDL)
- Cannabicyclol (CBL)
- Cannabielsoin (CBE)
- Cannabitriol (CBT)
- Cannabivarin (CBV)
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
- Cannabichromevarin (CBCV)
- Cannabigerovarin (CBGV)
- Cannabigerol Monoethyl Ether (CBGM)
What is a Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Scientists report that there are over one hundred cannabinoids in existence. However, THC is certainly the most widely known. Unfortunately, oftentimes THC has a pretty negative reputation. Many people only think of THC for its psychoactive effects. Think That 70's Show. You smoke THC, get high, turn into a couch potato, ruin your life... you get it. Yet, it should be noted that tetrahydrocannabinol has incredible medicinal properties that so many people don't know about. Interestingly enough, medicinal uses of THC date back to 16th century B.C. by the Egyptians.
Benefits of Marijuana | THC Benefits
The benefits of marijuana, specifically the THC cannabinoid, are undeniable. Let's take a look at all of the ways THC is helping patients every day.
Chemotherapy & AIDS Patients
Today, many doctors recommend THC to reduce nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss in chemotherapy patients. Many AIDS patients have also seen the cannabinoids benefits first hand as it lessens the associated side effects of their medications.
Boosting Cardiovascular Health
Additionally, studies show that THC can also benefit cardiovascular health. While the stereotype of THC use often involves junk food and an unhealthy lifestyle, when THC is used in conjunction with a healthy day-to-day routine, it can actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Reducing Cancer Cell Development
Additionally, in-depth testing on lab mice shows substantial evidence proving that THC can help reduce the development and spreading of cancer cells. Remarkably, cancerous cells of brain cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer all showed signs of reduction with the use of THC treatment.
Experts also recognize THC for its powerful ability to reduce pain. It does so by potentiating the glycine receptor, including and even helps to relieve neuropathic pain. Additionally, studies show that THC can be incredibly beneficial for individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). The use of THC was able to lessen their symptoms and improve their overall condition.
THC is also an effective appetite stimulant. Some people may be aware with the negative connotations surrounding this benefit as smoking THC can lead to "the munchies." However, we cannot forget how important this benefit is for individuals undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
THC for Insomnia
Additionally, THC is widely used for its ability to improve symptoms of insomnia. It also helps reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
Reducing Seizure Activity
The medicinal properties of THC also help to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in individuals suffering from epilepsy. Remarkably, in a rat model, the use of THC completely eliminated seizure activity altogether.
Increasing Insulin Sensitivity
Furthermore, the medicinal properties of THC also prove to increase insulin sensitivity in individuals.
The THC Molecule Can Improve Brain Function
Finally, experts are continuing to prove THC's benefits on the brain. In a study with rats, ongoing THC exposure increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This study has lead to experts studying the effects of THC on individuals with Alzheimer's Disease.
As you can see, THC has undeniable benefits that are bettering lives of so many individuals every single day. Sadly, the phytocannabinoid is still largely misunderstood and many people have yet to truly see its potential when it comes to an all natural medicinal alternative.
What is a Cannabidiol (CBD)
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most known and studied cannabinoid. Its rise in popularity and notability has really only occurred in the last decade. However, experts have researched the effects of CBD on both people and animals for well over three decades.
Unlike THC, CBD does not give its user any euphoric feeling. In other words, it won't make you or your pet feel the "high" sensation typically associated with THC. For this reason, more people are able to get on board with the idea of CBD more so than THC. Even though THC has several incredibly important benefits, its stereotypical recreational use leaves a bad taste in some peoples' mouths.
Benefits of Hemp & CBD for People & Animals
Luckily, countless studies continue to prove the effectiveness and safety of using CBD in humans and animals alike. When it comes to our furry friends, it is imperative that all CBD products are derived from the hemp plant, not the marijuana plant. Let's briefly look at all of the ways the phytocannabinoid may be able to benefit your day-to-day life.
CBD derived from the hemp plant is also an incredible anti-inflammatory agent. In many of our articles, we talk about how troubling inflammation truly is. In fact, when experts trace the vast majority of ailments back to their root cause, they find they all have one major thing in common: inflammation. From arthritis to cancer, inflammation is often the culprit. Therefore, reducing and preventing inflammation is paramount. That's where CBD comes in. CBD contains all natural anti-inflammatory properties that work to reduce present inflammation and prevent its spreading. In terms of disease prevention, CBD proves to be extremely effective.
Additionally, CBD's ability to reduce inflammation ultimately benefits the entire body. It can prevent inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract while simultaneously lessening joint inflammation. Pretty remarkable if you ask us.
Studies also show that CBD has the ability to reduce and prevent anxiety in both people and animals alike. Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety which can greatly affect their quality of life. By implementing CBD oil, pet owners can help control the stresses in their dog's life and ensure their happiness and well-being.
Additionally, CBD is incredibly effective at reducing pain due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, CBD is so effective that experts are considering it to be a new drug class for the treatment of chronic pain.
Reducing Seizure Activity & Severity
Like THC, CBD also proves to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures in both people and animals alike.
Also comparable to THC are CBD's anti-tumor effects. Of course, we are certainly not negating the absolute need for conventional medications like chemotherapy. However, we find it remarkable that an all natural supplement like CBD oil is continuing to prove its effectiveness in reducing the development of cancer cells in the body.
Understanding the Differences Between Cannabis Plants
We feel that it is important for our readers to understand a few additional facts regarding the cannabis plant, and therefore, phytocannabinoids. Again, the more that we all have a better understanding of the plant and its properties, the more we can all benefit from it.
The easiest way to explain the cannabis plant is by thinking of it as an "umbrella" term for two of its main species. The two species of the Cannabis Sativa L plant (the two species under the cannabis umbrella, if you will) are the hemp plant and the marijuana plant. This is where so many misconceptions originate. People often use the term 'cannabis' freely to describe both the marijuana plant and the hemp plant. Yet, freely using this terminology can confuse some people. They believe that all cannabis is marijuana and that simply isn't the case.
In fact, hemp products may very well be already apart of your day-to-day life. From make-up products to clothing, hemp is everywhere. Yet so many people continue to have very incorrect thoughts about the plant. We hope that this article helps to reverse some of these negative opinions.
CBD for Dogs & Cats: Hemp Plant vs Marijuana Plant
Before we close we want to reiterate a few very important details regarding phytocannabinoids and your four-legged friends. When choosing phytocannabinoids for animals, it is imperative that they are CBD from the hemp plant. It is possible for CBD to be derived from the marijuana plant, but it will contain trace amounts of THC which can be harmful to dogs and cats. For many people, this concern won't be an issue as marijuana is still not legal for purchase. However, if you live in a state where the sale of medicinal marijuana is legal, always make sure that the products you purchase for your pets are hemp derived.
Furthermore, when it comes to our dogs and cats, CBD has virtually zero side effects. You can see why so many pet owners are turning to an all natural remedy like CBD rather than harsh conventional medications.
Phytocannabinoids: The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, we are over the moon that countless studies are proving the effectiveness of all natural medicinal alternatives. When it comes to treating your furry companion, hemp derived CBD products are truly becoming a game changer. Thanks to CBD, gone are the days where conventional medication is the one and only way to alleviate ailments. In terms of its use for people, we hope that this article shed some light on the positive aspects of THC and the marijuana plant. The more pet owners understand the benefits of the cannabis plant, the more we can all benefit.
Phytocannabinoids are truly facinating. Here at Honest Paws, we can't wait for even more information to emerge regarding its powerful effects for our furry companions.