Many Benditos are familiar with "runner's high," the feeling of euphoria that people experience after intense exercise. Runner's high is caused by the brain releasing endocannabinoids into the blood stream. That six-syllable term is a portmanteau of "endogenous," meaning "coming from within" and "cannabanoids," meaning "chemical compounds of the cannabis plant."
Yes, the human brain actually makes some of the same chemicals that are in cannabis and that cause the "high" experienced from smoking or eating marijuana. This may also help Benditos understand why the same crazy dudes who get such a rush from shredding Bachelor are also smoking bowls at the top of their run.
Now research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology shows that man's best friend not only has endocannabanoid receptors in her little doggie brain, but she also experiences the same elevated levels of endocannabanoids after exercise. In other words, it is possible to get high with your dog—and all those folks running the trails with their canine companions are doing just that. That blinking, panting smile your dog gives you after you return from the dog park? Yes, your dog is blissing out on some sweet endogenous cannabanoids.
But you must never give your dog (or cat) the stuff you bought at the dispensary! The exogenous (external) cannabanoids sold in smokable or edible forms are simply not appropriate for dogs. One local veterinarian told Smoke Signals that visits to the doggie ER are up for chow hounds who have accidentally ingested cannabis, usually by eating edibles left out by their irresponsible humans.
What's worse is that people are often reluctant to admit the probable cause of the problem to their vet, and the symptoms of eating too much cannabis mirror the effects of other, more serious doggie health problems. These are all good reasons to make sure the only cannabinoids your dog gets are the kind he gets naturally from running and playing.
That said, there may be another amazing cannabis-related similarity between dogs and humans: Research has shown that a cannabidoil known as "CBD" may be effective at treating epilepsy, chronic pain, and other illnesses in humans. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that it does not cause a "high." And just as many desperately ill people have turned to CBD when nothing else worked, people are now giving CBD to their dogs (and cats) and reporting the same positive results.
For example, local pet supply store Bend Pet Express sells CBD treats and oil made by a company called Pet Releaf. Senior Manager Kim McCohan says they did a great deal of research to find a safe and effective product that can be used with both dogs and cats. Pet Releaf says its CBD oil is made from organically-grown hemp and is extracted with CO2 to ensure high bioavailability. And McCohan says that dog and cat owners who have tried the Pet Releaf products for pain control, seizure relief, and some other conditions, have overwhelmingly reported improvements in their pets' conditions.
But the state of CBD science with dogs and cats is even worse than with humans, also suffering from the federal government's ban on cannabis-related research. Most people will do almost anything to help their kitties and dog-friends in distress, but it may be a good idea to consult with your vet before giving them anything you hope will treat a medical problem.