In certain states, medical marijuana is an option for people seeking relief from ailments like seizures, pain, anxiety, and cancer. Pet parents and veterinarians alike are naturally wondering whether CBD for dogs. CBD is now popular in products as CBD oil for dogs or CBD dog treats, can provide the same benefits.
Here’s everything you need to know about CBD for dogs.
THC vs. CBD for Dogs
One of over 80 different chemical compounds called “cannabinoids” is CBD. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), perhaps the most famous cannabinoid, CBD is not psychoactive. Instead, CBD shares important metabolic pathways with a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and Rimadyl. These pathways control many processes in the body, from inflammatory responses to blood clotting.
Do not give dogs straight marijuana or any product containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. There is simply not enough research to justify the use.
CBD-based products, however, may help improve your dog’s quality of life when used in conjunction with other therapies.
Why Use CBD for Dogs?
CBD is a useful therapy for a variety of conditions, including pain management, arthritis, anxiety, seizures, and even cancer. Currently, there are varying levels of scientific evidence for each scenario.
Because CBD shares metabolic pathways with anti-inflammatory drugs. Most think it would help with certain inflammatory condition.
Studies show, one in four dogs, will be diagnosed with arthritis. Other estimates, infer that it could be as high as 60%
Research has shown that CBD can provide substantial pain relief in dogs with arthritis when given twice daily at appropriate doses.
In theory, the anti-inflammatory benefit seen in arthritic dogs. Can also be seen in dogs with other types of inflammatory pain. Most likely back pain from intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
Preliminary studies in people shown that combo products containing both CBD and THC are more beneficial. In Dogs this appears to be the same.
Seizures are probably the most-studied application of CBD in people, but limited research exists for pets. With regards to idiopathic epilepsy specifically, there is some research that suggests that CBD could be useful in reducing seizure frequency in these dogs.
In people, CBD has been studied for possible use in cancer patients, both to treat the tumor(s) directly, as well as to treat the secondary symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy. Like seizures, the term “cancer” is an umbrella term that refers to an extremely diverse set of specific diseases, each with their own set of beneficial treatments.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that CBD is useful in managing a dog’s anxiety. In theory, it is possible that CBD, by reducing pain and inflammation, could indirectly reduce anxiety caused by pain or inflammation.
But because CBD is not psychoactive, it is unlikely that CBD has the ability to directly treat canine anxiety in the way that Prozac and other medications do. The use of CBD for anxiety in dogs, as with most conditions, requires substantially more research.
Potential Risks of CBD for Dogs
Overall, CBD itself seems to be incredibly safe in dogs and cats. However, numerous scientific papers have found that when given at the recommended doses, CBD does cause an elevation in an important liver value on bloodwork called alkaline phosphatase (ALP).
We are not yet sure whether the elevation of this liver value has any medical significance. It could signify that CBD causes irritation or damage to the liver. Alternatively, it could be an artificial finding in which the drug interferes with the way the lab measures the liver value.
Anecdotal reports do exist of dogs becoming somewhat sleepy or sedate if they receive extremely large doses of CBD, but those effects appear to resolve on their own with time. Because there is a theoretical risk of drug interaction, as with any medication, you should consult your veterinarian first before treating your dog with CBD.
THC Dangers for Dogs
Unlike CBD, THC ingestion can cause serious problems for your pet.
“The most significant [issue] is THC toxicity, meaning, essentially, they are high,” says Dr. Gary Richter, owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California. If you suspect THC toxicity, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.
Overall, life-threatening risks for dogs from cannabis are “exceedingly rare,” Dr. Richter says. There is no documented lethal dose for THC in dogs. In fact, a dose of THC 1,000 times greater than the dose needed for a dog to feel “high” is still not lethal.
THC toxicity more often occurs when a pet has eaten a product that also contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins. “Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients,” says Dr. Richter.
How Much CBD Can You Give Dogs?
Typically administered orally to dogs, CBD oil is “As is the case with any medication, success has everything to do with dosing,” Dr. Richter says.
Studies on using CBD for dogs with arthritis or seizures generally use a dose between 2-8 mg/kg, with most papers erring on the lower side of that estimate (roughly 1-2 milligrams per pound of body weight), twice daily..
One complication in attempting to properly dose dogs with CBD is that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that many CBD products actually contain little, if any, CBD.
There are a lot of pets needlessly suffering.
CBD, like all the other cannabinoids, has been waiting on paperwork from the US department of Agriculture. Industrial hemp for many uses and benefits are is still waiting in Washington DC for the paperwork. U.S. veterinarians cannot encourage or instruct clients to purchase CBD products,
U.S. veterinarians are free to talk to you about CBD
Most veterinarians will still help you work out a treatment plan. Helping you review the potential risks and benefits of that plan. If you are considering giving CBD to your dog. First speak a veterinarian who has experience with CBD.