Dogs & Marijuana: 15 Must-Know Facts About CBD Oil For Dogs
As more states legalize marijuana for humans, more pet owners are giving their furry companions cannabis-based extracts, ointments and edibles marketed to treat everything from arthritis and anxiety to seizures and cancer.
While we cannot predict whether your dog will be excited about the legalization of pot, we can help you better understand the possible list of items to think through before administering it to your canine companion.
To help you, we’ve thoroughly reviewed cannabis research literature and compiled a list of the top 15 most common questions and concerns dog owners have surrounding the use of CBD Oil for their family pet.
1. What Is CBD?
CBD is one of 104 cannabinoids naturally found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. CBD is extracted from the stems, the leaves and the flowers of this plant. The full name of CBD is Cannabidiol. The medicinal effects of cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants are defined in the US Cannabis Patent #6630507. CBD can be sourced from hemp grown in Europe, the United States and other countries as well.
2. Is CBD Good for Dogs?
In the medical literature there are over 1400 studies about cannabis and its effects on disease. The range of illness, injury and toxic organ exposure studied is huge with the benefits being universal and the adverse reactions non-existent.
So with the science of discovery being our basis of interpretation, CBD can, in fact, be very helpful for dogs with certain health challenges. Certainly the beneficial outcomes from CBD do not always indicate a cure but science can consistently demonstrate a protection of organ functions, improved survival rates and better overall health.
The reason for the broad spectrum of benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) may lie in the fact that it parallels the body’s own Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Discovered in 1991 the ECS acts as a master hormone and metabolic regulatory system about which at present only a few healthcare providers and veterinarians are familiar.
Research on this topic has been expanding at an exponential pace. And, the details are proving to be extremely complex and integrated into all body systems; both human and canine. So there is a scientific basis for supposing that CBD can play a leading role in healing your pet’s medical conditions.
3. What are the Effects of Marijuana on Dogs?
In human studies CBD has been shown to be effective in epilepsy and schizophrenia. Many people have reported help with chronic pain, neuropathy, migraines, anxiety, arthritis, inflammatory bowel and insomnia. For other conditions studies have shown improvements in animal models of diabetes, kidney, heart, vascular disease, and cancer.
In humans and in dogs the broadest benefits seem to be related to controlling the body’s inflammatory response.
Many modern civilization conditions, like pain, arthritis and neuropathy, appear to be closely associated with the general process of inflammation. CBD addresses all of the major constituents in this cellular reactionary process. CBD attenuates inflammatory cell migration & infiltration and the production of inflammatory mediators. CBD suppresses pro-inflammatory signaling. In essence, balancing the natural response to cell damage, trauma or disease from getting out-of-hand.
Therefore, based on the ability of CBD to reduce inflammatory markers in several experimental models and the fact that all mammals have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS), there is a bio-equivalent crossover that CBD will help canines with conditions of an inflammatory nature.
4. Can Dogs ‘Get-High’ from CBD?
CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties. The two major cannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD. In contrast to THC, CBD has no psychoactive component. In most states THC is illegal but CBD is widely available and unrestricted because it comes from industrial hemp, a subspecies of cannabis, that contains only trace amounts of THC.
5. Are CBD Products for Pets Regulated?
Although medical marijuana is legal in 30 states, it remains illegal under federal law, so there has been relatively little research into its potential medical benefits for animals. Most of the pet products that are marketed to contain CBD (cannabidiol) are NOT regulated as nutritional supplements even though they contain little or no tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (the cannabis compound known for its psychoactive effects).
6. Can Veterinarians Prescribe Medical Marijuana?
While physicians in states where medical marijuana is sanctioned are legally allowed to recommend marijuana, that’s not true of veterinarians. Veterinarians in the United States are legally barred from prescribing or recommending cannabis to animal owners. They risk losing their veterinary licenses if they do.
But many vets still advise ‘use them at their own risk’. Conventional wisdom of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is that more studies directly relating the therapeutic benefits of using cannabis are needed before cannabinoid therapy is an accepted medical practice.
Still, some vets have come out in favor of using CBD medicinally as an alternative to watching animals wasting away in pain, inflammation or the agony of end-of-life health issues.
7. Is There Scientific Evidence CBD is An Effective Treatment?
Despite the lack of veterinary guidance or canine specific scientific proof, many pet owners are convinced cannabis has improved their animals’ health and well-being based on their own personal observations.
Empirical evidence abounds with stories of pet owners who see a real difference in their dog’s spirit. A dog who is no longer in pain, is eating & sleeping better, is back to being physically active just seems like a happier dog–like they have a new lease on life.
For some pet parents, having their dog back to optimum health is all the proof they need.
8. What’s the Best Way to Give My Dog CBD?
CBD products are available in many forms from sublingual, oral, topical and even for inhalation. Purified isolate products are also available but because current products are processed from whole hemp plant extracts, pharmaceutical grade injectables are not considered a viable delivery system.
The preferred way to administer CBD oil is taking it sublingually, under-the-tongue. You can also drip it on your hand and then have your dog lick it but some dogs do not find the taste pleasing. In this case you can also drip the CBD oil on a piece of bread or favorite pet treat.
However, more recent research has shown that only a small percentage (<10%) of CBD taken orally in food or edible treats ever gets through the GI tract into the blood stream. This is cause for concern when you are using small-scale amounts and every drop counts. Notwithstanding, the ineffective gut absorption of orally ingested treats can be a huge waste of your money!
Another form of CBD, nano-emulsified liquid hemp, is more readily absorbed sublingually through the dog’s oral mucosa and is therefore a much more bio-active form of CBD. Liposomal Encapsulation (link) of compounds similar to hemp extract have been shown to increase absorption five- to ten-fold.
Because liposomes are smaller, more stable, single-layer phospholipid spheres they can bond more easily with cell membranes in the mouth to facilitate intracellular delivery and bypass the digestive processes that normally degrades or limits CBD absorption.
The advanced technology behind this groundbreaking liquid delivery method makes for faster, more precise, more effective dosing with the added benefit of immediate therapeutic effects. It takes only a small amount given under the tongue to achieve a medically effective dose.
9. Can I Use CBD Instead of Traditional Vet Prescription Medications?
When it comes to your beloved pet there is no better source of medical care knowledge than a local veterinarian.
However, many pet owners are choosing to use alternative, adjunctive treatment therapies like CBD that are not available or currently acceptable to them through their personal vet.
What we find is a lot of dog owners are turning to CBD when there are no other options and pharmaceuticals haven’t worked for their pet. They’ve tried traditional medicine with little to no appeasement of their furry friends condition.
Sometimes, with end-of-life comfort, non-traditional care is a last resort and CBD is really good for those types of situations. CBD can help treat pain, anxiety and digestive problems in canines as well as aid in the treatment of allergic skin conditions, bone healing and cancer therapies.
It is always recommended you have regular check-ups and vet visits but know that there is a loving, supportive community of pet parents who use and swear by the medicinal benefits of using CBD to heal their dog.
10. What Types of Conditions Can I Use CBD For?
The secrets of CBD’s method of action are still being discovered because cannabidiol is unlike any pharmaceuticals that have previously been explored. Science knows some of the details behind the healing powers of CBD products but more remain to be elucidated.
In general, there are 4 major therapeutic areas that CBD modulates. The therapeutic implications of CBD are broad because almost all noninfectious diseases seem to fall into one of these four categories:
• Immune modulation
• Neuro-endocrine modulation
• Cellular Preservation / Anti-tumor
The medical application of CBD Oil for dogs is an ever expanding horizon that extends from anti-aging to degenerative diseases and everything in between. Common canine health challenges include pain, arthritis, neuropathy, anxiety and sleep disorders, bone healing and cancer and CBD has been shown to be supportive for many of these common canine conditions.
11. Are There Side Effects / Adverse Reactions of Giving My Dog CBD?
Despite the wide range of CBD delivery formats and potential treatment protocols–no significant adverse reactions have been reported in any test subjects.
There are no known side effects with normal use of CBD oil but there is serious repercussions if your dog consumes too much THC from accidentally consuming human products or pet parents giving cannabis to their dog. An over-dose of THC can result in dangerous Static Ataxia with symptoms like;
– Breathing problems
– Lower blood pressure
– Abnormal heart rhythms
– Loss of balance
– Urinary incontinence
– Coma or death
12. How Much CBD Should I Give My Dog?
Due to a lack of specific canine research, it’s unclear the exact clinical dosage amounts of CBD for dogs–but pet owners are seeing exceptional responses at relatively low doses.
Administering CBD yourself comes with a learning-curve of testing and experimenting. But the lack of exact dosing information should not deter you from starting small daily dose and adjusting your dog’s regimen to find the best possible dosage to support their specific health challenges.
CBD has provided dogs relief for arthritis and cancer, but it is still not approved by the AVMA, ASPCA or any other organization so determining the amount of CBD to give your dog means establishing a baseline treatment timeline and making adjustments to find the “sweet-spot” for effective relief. Go-low & go-slow!
13. Is Cannabis Oil the Same as CBD Oil?
Cannabis oil is not a CBD oil and is therefore not the same thing. Buying cannabis oil is actually like buying THC oil. It is under strict supervision to ensure that sellers do not break the opium legislation. The opium law is broken, for example, when more then 0.3 % THC is present in the products.
CBD oil for sale is made from hemp and contains little or no THC. THC oil is made from cannabis and contains lots of THC and usually very little CBD. THC oil is is illegal in the most parts of the world because of the high concentration of THC.
14. How Fast Does CBD Oil Work?
How quick CBD works depends on a lot of factors; the dose, the general health of your dog, the method of delivery and even your expectations. Some pet owners notice the calming and relaxing effect of the CBD on their dog within minutes when administered orally under the tongue. If you use CBD for other reasons, the medical effect may take longer. Some chronic conditions take longer to notice the true healing effects (30-60 days).
The nano-emulsified delivery system mentioned above has shown immediate results after administering–important when you want to alleviate intermittent pain from long hikes or intense exercise with your dog.
Keep in mind that the effect of CBD is to balance and moderate the biochemistry of your pet–so a long term evaluation of alleviating symptoms is a more realistic expectation.
15. How Should I Store CBD Oil?
CBD oil is an unstable product and should best stored in a dark, cool place. CBD oil is sensitive to light and air, so the bottle of CBD oil should be fitted well and sealed completely after use. The oil is suitable for daily use, so it is easiest to reach if placed in an easily accessible place. Most people simply place the oil in their kitchens.
NOTE: another benefit of CBD products manufactured using the Nano-emulsified technology are more stable and have a shelf-life of over three years without refrigeration.