It was only natural that people who use cannabis as medicine for humans began to question if it could also be used for our furry friends.
Several states are looking to ensure that pets are covered under compassionate-use cannabis laws. California has already passed AB 2215, which allows for veterinarians to discuss cannabis use for pets with their owners. Nevada and New York are looking to pass similar statutes.
Unfortunately, some states have yet to recognize the possible benefits of cannabis for pets and many have laws against veterinarians recommending it.
Can Pets Benefit from CBD Oil?
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system, meaning that cannabinoids are beneficial to the health of our pets. Unfortunately, there have been few clinical studies that focus on the benefits of cannabinoids for dogs. However, we do know that THC can be toxic to dogs.
That means that CBD for dogs must be sourced from hemp, which generally contains only trace amounts of THC.
According to several studies there hasn’t been much research done on the benefits and effects of cannabidiol on pets, likely due to the restrictions on access to the drug until the past few years. But there have been a few studies.
For example, one 2018 study took a look at the efficacy of cannabidiol in dogs with osteoarthritis pain. The results were inspiring. A decrease in pain and an increase in mobility was noted in subjects who were treated with CBD oil. Even better, pet owners reported no side effects from their animals.
In January 2018, Dr. Stephanie McGrath of Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science began a three-year crossover study on CBD for epilepsy in dogs. The American Kennel Club funded the study with a $350,000 grant.
What Ailments Can CBD Help Treat?
CBD oil or treats infused with CBD oil can be used to help a wide range of conditions from which your pet may suffer from either occasionally or chronically. These conditions include:
- Anxiety and stress – If your dog gets anxious around loud noises or has separation anxiety, then CBD oil may help to calm your dog. CBD oil or treats could also help calm a dog anxious about thunderstorms or fireworks.
- Joint pain – A study noted below found that CBD oil helped dogs suffering from osteoarthritis pain
- Digestive problems – Animal studies indicate that CBD can help to restore normal gut motility in those with inflammatory bowel disease.
- Seizures – Veterinarian Dr. Stephanie McGrath is currently researching the efficacy of CBD in seizures for dogs, but since CBD is used to treat epilepsy in humans, it may prove helpful in dogs as well.
- Arthritis – CBD oil has shown to be helpful in treating dogs and cats with arthritis
- Chronic inflammation – Cannabidiol is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties
- Moderate to severe pain – CBD has shown in animal studies to be effective in decreasing pain levels of those experiencing moderate to severe chronic pain.
Since many of the properties of CBD oil and the symptoms and conditions it can treat have been noted and studied in humans, logic dictates that the same should apply to our canine friends.
The upper dose limit for CBD products is 1 mg/kg orally once per day. It is recommended that if you wish to begin treating your dog with CBD to start out with a much smaller dose, such as .05 mg/kg and gradually increase the dosage by 0.05 mg/week until the desired effects are seen.
Because we know about the side effects of CBD oil in humans, we can speculate on possible side effects of CBD in dogs. More study will be needed to discover the full range of side effects. These side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Lowered blood pressure
What to Look for in a CBD Oil?
One of the first things is to be aware that old adage of “if it sounds too good to be true” applies when it comes to supplements, even for dogs. A recent study found that when it came to CBD supplements for humans, many of the products didn’t contain the amount of CBD that its label claimed, did not use “whole plant” CBD, and even contained higher-than-allowed levels of THC, which should be less than .3% in a hemp-derived CBD oil.
Other Tips for Purchasing & Giving CBD to Your Dog:
The American Kennel Club has these recommendations for choosing a CBD oil for your dog:
- Go Organic – Organic ensures that you’re not getting pesticides, fungicides, or solvents in your CBD oil.
- Don’t Shop for the Cheapest – The higher the quality of the CBD oil, the more it’s going to cost. Make sure that the oil you choose is free of additives and has the advertised amount of CBD.
- Get an Analysis – A reputable CBD oil company will gladly provide a certificate stating how much CBD their product contains. You can go even further and ask where it was sourced and the extraction process. If your supplier can’t answer these questions, go elsewhere.
- Get the Tincture – CBD is available infused into treats, but using a tincture allows you to cater the dose drop by drop to your pet’s exact needs.
Preventive Vet offers this additional suggestion if you decide to purchase CBD infused treats for your pet: Keep your CBD treats separate from your other treats. This way, an overzealous child or visitor doesn’t inadvertently give your dog too many CBD treats.
We all want our pets to live long, happy lives. With all the fervor that CBD is gaining these days and the anecdotal evidence in both humans and animals, it is hard to overlook the possibilities. If your dog is healthy, giving CBD should not be an issue. However, if your dog has any medical condition for which it is receiving medication or treatment from a vet, speak to the veterinarian before adding CBD as a supplement.