Beth Schwartz – Editor
In 2013, a fairly famous op-ed piece ran in the New York Times that declared dogs were people. Authored by Gregory Berns, a professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University and the author of “How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain,” it ignited quite a debate.
Berns and his colleagues had been training dogs to go in an M.R.I. scanner—completely awake and unrestrained with the goal to determine how dogs’ brains work and what they think of humans. After training and scanning a dozen dogs, Berns’ conclusion: dogs are people, too.
Through Berns’ study he found a striking similarity between dogs and humans in both the structure and function of a key brain region: the caudate nucleus. “In humans, the caudate plays a key role in the anticipation of things we enjoy, like food, love and money. Caudate activation is so consistent that under the right circumstances, it can predict our preferences for food, music and even beauty,” wrote Berns in the Times piece.
The neuroeconomics professor goes on to conclude: In dogs, they found that activity in the caudate increased in response to hand signals indicating food. The caudate also activated to the smells of familiar humans. And in preliminary tests, it activated to the return of an owner who had momentarily stepped out of view. Do these findings prove that dogs love us? Not quite. But many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate. Neuroscientists call this a functional homology, and it may be an indication of canine emotions.
It's fascinating to consider, which brings me to my point. If dogs are people, it would make sense that they would react to cannabis much like humans. We already know dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which means their bodies can become out of balance just like ours. This means when their ECS is off or not in homeostasis, they can get sick, anxious or susceptible to ailments and diseases just like we do.
So, to find out dogs may have emotions adds another layer to the debate about giving them cannabis to calm their anxieties when they see their pet parent packing for a trip or when fireworks start inexplicably going off all around them.
In my story, “Calming Canines with Cannabis,” I interviewed Dr. Lukina Burks, owner of Companion Animal Rehab Plus and a relief veterinarian for the Animal Foundation, who treats dogs suffering from social anxiety, separation anxiety, stress, and canine noise aversion using a hemp derivative of CBD or cannabidiol.
“I have my pet patients on CBD in general because I do rehabilitation and physical therapy so a lot of my clients have anxiety or pain. I try to slowly taper them off of Western medicine and try to do more through acupuncture and herbal medication and most are on a hemp derivative of CBD whether it’s for osteoarthritis or for separation or social anxiety,” explains Dr. Burks. “It works so well for stressful situations. I have their pet parent give them a calm and quiet treat 30 minutes before I come and it’s like a brand-new dog. I can do all of my physical therapy, acupuncture, everything I need to do with the animal.”
Hmmmm...that reaction to CBD sounds familiar. Maybe people are more like dogs than I thought.
Educate with a more informed understanding of the benefits of medicinal cannabis
When we decided to start Elevate Nevada it was a result of a wholehearted belief that an instrumental component of the medicinal cannabis debate was missing from the overall discussion. The stigma of cannabis was preventing people, who are/were suffering with major diseases or general illness, from learning about and trying marijuana alternatives that would aid in healing their bodies in an all-natural way.
We believed the market was missing a forum for discovering the positive aspects of medicinal cannabis. We wanted to create this publication to better educate the community about medicinal marijuana as another option to combat pain and illness — specifically an option that is all-natural and removes the toxicity of pharmaceuticals from the equation. In today’s world, doctors prescribe medicinal cannabis as a treatment for everything from sleeping disorders, aches and pains to PTSD and the effects of medical treatments such as chemotherapy.
With Elevate Nevada we endeavor to create a resource that presents the educational aspects of medicinal cannabis — a subject that is rapidly gaining interest in Nevada. This interest stems from the fact that as of this year, state law allows for legal dispensaries as well as the cultivation and testing of cannabis for treating medical conditions.
Our motivation to start Elevate Nevada also came from personal experience. Several of the Elevate team had family members who suffered from diseases and could have experienced great relief if medicinal cannabis had been legal and available to them. When you care about someone and are watching them suffer, every option is on the table and so we wanted to create a forum for people to investigate the option of medicinal cannabis and make informed decisions for the sake of their loved ones.
We hope you leave this site educated and with a more informed understanding of the benefits of medicinal cannabis.
Guy Bertuzzi – Publisher
Socrates so sagely said: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.”
Change is here and I honestly never thought I would see cannabis, marijuana, dope, weed, pot, grass or whatever you like to call it become legal in my lifetime. But here we are Nevada–breaking ground and building the new.
For the people who are still on the fence or on the other side of the fence about the legalization of cannabis, this is your chance to understand, educate yourself, explore and learn the powers of the healing properties of this plant. Even though we use verbiage like recreational and adult-use, cannabis is still preventative medicine. Just in the last few weeks I have experienced its medicinal benefits.
In my recent travels around the state getting to know people in the industry, I was lucky enough to meet Marina and Jackie from CBD for Life, which is a line of cannabidiol (CBD) infused pain management and beauty products. elevate editor Beth Schwartz swears by CBD for Life products, remember the line from our January 2016 cover? Beth was so delighted with the results of CBD her enthusiasm resulted in the headline: “Forget smoking cannabis, we should be smearing it all over our bodies.” It was my turn to try the wonders of CBD topicals and golly gee whiz Beth was onto something. (Editor’s note: Just shaking my head over here.)
I decided to try it for an issue that has plagued me my whole life from when I was 13 years old and chunks of my scalp were falling out. Kids were making fun of me and teasing me that I had lice. I didn’t have lice, it was the beginning of a lifelong battle with psoriasis, which is on several areas of my body including my elbows and hands.
Until recently people would ask me why I had white paint on my elbows, that’s how severe psoriasis affects me. I was telling Jackie about my psoriasis and how it makes me feel a little insecure, and because I had tried everything I was doubtful anything, including CBD, would work. Jackie instructed me to loofah my problem areas and use CBD for Life’s face and body cleanser and lotion several times a day. She was right! My psoriasis looks better than it ever has–well, there’s really not much to see anymore just fresh pink skin. CBD doesn’t cure it, but you cannot see the flaky white skin, or traces of psoriasis on my hands or elbows right now.
Because it was such a transformative experience for me, I just sent my dad some Pure CBD for Life Rub for his arthritis, and he reported back, after being doubtful, that it is indeed helping. So, whatever your feelings are on Nevada’s laws and the legalization of cannabis, keep an open mind. Stop fighting the old and focus on the new because, and I hope you don’t, someday you or someone you love may need the healing benefits of cannabis.