It’s a time for cook-outs, pool parties and the most anticipated event of the year, fireworks! And each year our pets freak out, run away, or pee the floor from fireworks anxiety, but they aren’t the only ones who suffer.
Veterans who have served and have come back home are left to deal. What does that mean? They have encountered violence we only see in movies. They have experienced the bombing and gun fire that we are only told about. Now imagine sitting at home, in a dark place, surrounded with fireworks going off. Just that sentence is enough to set some vets off.
Through research we are understanding the benefits that CBD has to offer to pets and humans during these traumatic events. Let’s take a look at some of the information available now.
Hands down, one of the most common conditions that veterans develop is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Not everyone who goes to combat will return with PTSD, but for many it’s an all too common reality and not something many seek treatment for.
While PTSD statistics can become a bit blurred, it’s estimated that 50% of veterans that do have PTSD won’t seek treatment whatsoever.
CBD, while not considered a “treatment” per say, is something that has shown to benefit CBD. Not only is it widely available, but it’s something vets can take without “seeking treatment.”
According to research, current therapies for PTSD don’t work as well as intended and come with considerable side effects.
Research has discovered that individuals with PTSD have lower levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid responsible for feelings of wellbeing, memory, motivation, and more, than those who don’t suffer from PTSD. This has led experts to speculate that PTSD is associated with a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system.
CB1 receptors, found in the brain and central nervous system, are known to mediate several functions throughout the body. Some of these include adapting to stress, emotional learning, and the eradication of fear. It’s been established that “normal” CB1 function helps to switch off traumatic memories and allows us to forget these distressing situations.
While CBD doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors directly, it does have a powerful effect in increasing anandamide levels. It works by inhibiting the FAAH enzyme that breaks down anandamide in the body. When there is less FAAH, degradation of anandamide is inhibited. Decreased FAAH means an increase in anandamide.
Preclinical studies in animal models have found that CBD not only eradicate aversive memories but can also block them from returning. And while research on CBD in human trials has been limited, there are human trials that show promise for CBD in the treatment of PTSD.
A 2016 report, for example, found that a 10-year-old girl with PTSD took at least 25mg of CBD daily for 5 months and maintained a decrease in anxiety and a notable improvement in sleep quality and quantity.
For a 2014 study, 80 patients were given medical cannabis for PTSD. Results of the study found a 75% reduction in their overall symptoms.
A 2018 review that looked at current animal and human studies of CBD for PTSD concluded that CBD could offer several therapeutic benefits for disorders that are related to traumatic memories. Authors of the study noted that “the effects of CBD on the different stages of aversive memory processing make this compound a candidate pharmacological adjunct to psychological therapies for PTSD.”
CBD for Pet Thunderstorm and Firework Anxiety
If your four-legged friend has thunderstorm anxiety, he (or she) is certainly not alone.
It’s estimated that at least 40% of dogs experience noise anxiety, which occurs with more frequency in the summer months. Did you know that busiest days for runaway dogs showing up at animal shelters is July 5?
According to Associate Professor of Clinical Animal Behavior at the University of California Davis, Dr. Melissa Bain, “It’s very serious. It’s a true panic disorder with a compete flight response.”
Why, though, are some dogs so afraid of loud noises associated with things like thunderstorms and fireworks?
It’s simple, even if it doesn’t seem like it when your dog starts going crazy as the thunder rolls.
Many dogs are afraid of thunderstorms because they don’t understand what it is or what’s going on. The extremely loud noise can be perceived as a threat, which can in turn manifest as anxiety.
The loud unfamiliar noise, however, isn’t the only reason why dogs can become so anxious in thunderstorms. There’s research, for example, that suggests the feeling of static electricity in the air from the thunderstorm is what’s so disturbing to some dogs.
This is because the atmospheric changes can cause static electricity to build up in a dog’s coat, which can feel very similar to a painful, electric shock.
According to Director of the Animal Behavior Department at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, dogs can experience several shocks from static electricity during a thunderstorm.
Do thunderstorms have your dog running towards grounded spaces like the basement or bathtub? The buildup of static electricity in their coat could be why.
In case you haven’t heard, humans aren’t the only species benefiting from CBD.
More and more pet owners than ever have started using CBD for their furry friends. Pet parents are touting the benefits of CBD for their dogs and cats, claiming that it helps everything from seizures and pain to anxiety and appetite. Sounds similar to the benefits associated with humans, no?
This is because, just like humans, dogs (and other animals) have their own endocannabinoid system.
And while there’s little research (yet) to back up the claims that have changed the lives of so many pets (and their owners), CBD has become one of the most popular pet products that have hit the market in a while.
Despite the lack of clinical research that’s been conducted on pets and CBD, personal accounts from pet owners themselves have made a serious impact in sales. There’s anecdotal evidence all over the internet about ways CBD has helped people’s pets.
Here’s the thing. CBD could be exactly what your dog needs to help eradicate that thunderstorm anxiety.
But before you rush out and buy all the latest CBD products for pets, it’s vital you talk to your vet. Starting your dog out on anything new (regardless if it’s natural or not), should always be discussed with your dog’s doc beforehand.
We want everyone, human and animal, to enjoy each celebration without fear.
While the research is continuing to build, we look towards the testimonies of those who have turned to CBD for help through difficult situations.
We’d like to thank CBD School for some awesome insight into CBD benefits for vets and animal anxiety.