CBD has hit the market big time with millions of people swearing by its numerous benefits. Growing, too, is the use of CBD for pets. But many people are asking “Is it safe?”, “Will it get my pet high?” and “Does it really work?”. Let’s take a look at what science and our furry friends have to say.
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound from the cannabis plant. The plant cannabis sativa has two primary species: hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD, but hemp contains a much higher percentage. Hemp also has very low levels of THC (less than 0.3%) compared to marijuana. That means there is no getting high for humans or animals.
These plant-derived cannabinoids are characterized by their ability to act on the cannabinoid receptors that are part of our endocannabinoid system,or ECS.
The ECS is a biological system that is found in all mammals and manages several biological processes, like sleep, immune response, memory, and more. In short, it consists mainly of two cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) that interact with the cannabinoids naturally produced by the brain.
The receptors can also interact with CBD, a plant-derived cannabinoid. CBD works by stimulating the ECS by either activating or blocking the group of receptors that it contains. It is the same process for humans, dogs, cats, horses, and most other mammals.
While there is no scientific evidence as of yet (due to lack of research), there is reported evidence from dog owners suggesting CBD oil and CBD products produced noticeable and beneficial results when used to treat anxiety, pain, seizures, and overall well being. Some dog owners have reported CBD helped with gastrointestinal issues, nausea, back pain, seizures, anxiety, and stress.
CBD can also help with a compromised immune system, aggression, and arthritis. Studies are also currently underway in terms of the effectiveness of CBD for organ diseases, and cancer.
The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is currently sponsoring a study, through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The study focuses on evaluating the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs. The CHF hopes that this will be the first study to gain scientific data on the use of CBD in dogs with this condition.
Cornell University Study - Completed and submitted for Peer Review 2017
A pharmacokinetic and clinical study completed at Cornell suggests that 2 mg/kg of CBD oil twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis. The results seem to support anecdotal reports of some benefits of CBD. Veterinary assessment showed that CBD oil reduced pain, and the Canine Brief Pain Inventory and Hudson activity scores showed clinically significant reduction in pain and an increase in activity with CBD treatment.
This study’s objectives, headed by Joe Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVSMR, associate professor and section chief of nutrition at Cornell, were to determine basic oral pharmacokinetics, determine safety, and assess the efficacy of CBD oil in managing pain in dogs with osteoarthritis.
Dr. Wakshlag stated that, in addition to this study, his team is completing a pharmacokinetic and safety study in cats. Additionally, there are plans for studies on the efficacy of CBD oil in acute pain management, behavior management, feline pain and concurrent usage with chemotherapy in oncology patients.
According to an article on the American Kennel Club website (Baker, 2018):
“Unfortunately, conversations about veterinary CBD are restricted by law, which poses problems for dog owners.
Dr. Jerry Klein: According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “under current federal and state law, veterinarians may not administer, dispense, prescribe or recommend cannabis or its products for animals.” Laws are changing rapidly, so this may change in some areas of the country.
Lori Kogan, a licensed psychologist and professor of clinical sciences at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences, has been surveying pet owners online to learn who’s giving marijuana or hemp products to their animal companions, why, and how they perceive their pets respond.
In a survey that ran in the U.S. from Sept. 1 to Dec. 15, about 80 percent of 1,068 respondents had bought hemp products for their dogs. Their main reasons for doing so were to treat pain, anxiety or seizures, Kogan said. And they were pleased with the results.
“People report that the stuff works,” Kogan said. “Bottom line, people think it works, and they think it works better than conventional medicine.”
Dr. Jeffrey Judkins at the Animalkind Holistic Vet Clinic in Jacksonville, OR, says CBD is “100% non-toxic. You can’t overdose on CBD. It might make pets sleepy, but there’s no toxicity.”
Studies have shown the effectiveness of CBD and reported that there are no serious side effects associated with the cannabinoid. However a few minor and short-lived side effects have been reported:
● Dry Mouth
● Temporary slight drop in blood pressure
Incorrect doses will likely result in lethargy/drowsiness. In more severe cases, intense nausea and/or vomiting can result. A general rule of thumb when using CBD tincture: start low and work your way up until you reach a point when you notice an obvious improvement.
Start with one drop per 10 lbs of your dog’s weight (i.e. 4 drops of oil if your dog weighs 40 lbs), and administer the oil directly under the tongue once a day. Watch your dog’s health and behavior closely for a week. If you don’t notice any clear improvement in condition, try upping the dosage to twice per day. Remember: Low and Slow!
CBD Salves and Creams
These products are common to treat rashes, skin allergies, arthritis, or other general forms of muscle aches/joint pains. Applied topically to the skin, they are simple and easy methods of bringing fast and effective relief to your pet. Massage has its own benefits so your furry friend will get double-duty treatment and relief!
CBD Dog Treats
Dog treats are another great way to give your pet CBD. Make sure the treats are not loaded with additives and preservatives. Search for treats made with organically grown hemp and natural ingredients.
A word of caution: not all dog treats are made the same. CBD breaks down starting at 250 degrees so by the time treats are baked, the CBD no longer possesses therapeutic benefits, if there is any left at all!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.