Here’s what I learned, witnessed, and am thankful for
By Michelle Bilodeau
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His slow, measured movements, accompanied by his lack of spunk and energy were the first signs that something was truly wrong. Carter, my Miniature Pinscher, was walking about like a little old man, in noticeable pain, until we took action and introduced this tincture into his daily regimen. Very quickly we noticed an improvement in the quality of his canine life.
Earlier this year, when I was asked to become a brand ambassador for Leafly.com, an online cannabis portal focused on education and news about people, plants and politics, it was the human aspect of medicinal cannabis and CBD that actually intrigued me more. I have a few close family members and friends who have been using cannabis strains and products medicinally, and have seen it do wonders for each of them—from aiding in pain management to helping suppress the effects of MS, medical cannabis appears to be a miracle and less evasive than prescription medication. I write this knowing that more research needs to be done to substantiate and quantify these claims, but with Canada set to green light legalization vis-à-vis recreational marijuana as of July 2018, I am certain more and more stories will shed light on how cannabis has helped millions of Canadians (and their pets) alleviate pain and take ownership over personal health challenges. What I didn’t realize then was that medical cannabis would soon become a big part of my everyday life, albeit in a totally different way.
One fact that I have known since I was a teenager is that THC (aka “Tetrahydrocannabinol”) is the main active chemical in cannabis that leaves us feeling that high, the one that takes off the edge and in most people acts as a muscle relaxant. What I learned this summer is that CBD (aka “Cannabidiol”) is another molecule compound found in the cannabis plant that does not have any psychoactive attributes, and is currently being tested on children who have epilepsy and suffer from seizures. Additionally, CBD has been known to assist with a range of health issues and has been particularly noted in alleviating and reducing stress and anxiety, aiding individuals with insomnia and sleep deprivation, and more. Cannabinoids, when smoked, ingested or vapourized, interact with receptors in the brain and body to create varying effects.
As I started to talk to more and more people about cannabis openly, I began to discover that many are using it and that the old stigma associating it with the tokers and bud community of my youth were fading (current estimates state that about 4 million Canadians are using cannabis either medicinally or recreationally). It became a topic of many of my conversations over the summer and into the fall of 2017. In September, a friend mentioned to me that her pal had been giving her two dogs CBD oil to help with anxiety and arthritis, and said that it may also work for seizures. This particularly piqued my interest. Back in June 2016, my then 11-year-old Miniature Pinscher, Carter, had his first seizure. It lasted about 30 minutes, and scared me to my core. If you’ve ever been the bystander or witness to seizures elicited by a loved one, then you surely know what I am trying to describe. Since then, he has had about four more episodes, but thankfully these have been less severe. Our vet said we could take him to see a pet neurologist (I can well imagine how pricey this would have been), or we could just wait it out and expect that because of his age, this may just be a natural occurrence that we would have to come to terms with and get used to.
As soon as I heard that CBD oil could help my little man, I reached out to Calyx Wellness Centre, a Toronto-based company with a storefront on Queen Street West that carries oils for humans and pets alike, and is the first CBD boutique in the country. The owner, Danielle, emailed me back with some helpful and insightful information. The next day, funnily enough, I went to our local pet store, That Dog Next Door, and there was the product perched directly in front of me on the counter. It seemed like fate and I just knew I had to buy it. Since my purchase, I have now been giving Carter CBD oil regularly for over two months. He is currently taking 15 drops of Calyx’s Relief CBD Pet Tincture ($54.99/30 mL) twice a day. The label declares that the blend also consists of grape seed oil, cod liver oil and medium chain triglycerides in addition to CBD.
What amazes me most is how much others have noticed an overall change in Carter. I see him every day so I didn’t notice the change as drastically or immediately, but more than a handful of people have commented about the sparkle in his eyes returning, that he appears to move about easier, and that he looks five years younger than he actually is.
I can’t definitively say that the CBD oil has helped with his anxiety—he still barks quite a lot when we try to leave the house, a classic min pin trait—but he has not experienced any further seizures, is getting around a lot easier than before, and is even more willing to frolic than he used to do previously. I am not delusional in thinking that the CBD will extend his life for another 12 years (although I would like to believe he’ll live until he’s 100 in human years!), but if it makes his remaining doggie days even a little more enjoyable, with less of the aches and pains that come with old age, than I am glad that we found a CBD oil that works for him.
NOTE ON CARTER
Sadly, on November 17, 2017, we had to say goodbye to our beloved pal. Even though Carter was very sick, the last few months were seemingly a little more pain free for our little man. I still wholeheartedly stand by CBD oil and its benefits.