In recent years, a growing body of scientific work has noted the effectiveness of CBD therapy for treating a wide range of ailments in humans, including seizures, pain, anxiety, and arthritis. But does it also work on dogs?
While there are no formal studies on how CBD affects dogs, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence from pet owners suggesting CBD oil can treat similar conditions in dogs.
Just like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system that controls the body's metabolic processes and regulates pain, appetite, sleep, inflammation, and cell metabolism. CBD positively interacts with the endocannabinoid system and brings a host of benefits.
The compound is most promising for treating epileptic dogs. An estimated 5% of all dogs are believed to have epilepsy. These dogs have usually prescribed Phenobarbital as treatment, but the drug carries some serious side effects, including lethargy, long-term liver damage, dizziness, and confusion.
Dog owners wary of the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs are turning to CBD as an alternative treatment option. However, treatment regimens that use CBD are still in their infancy and such therapies are considered radical by many veterinarians.
Is CBD oil Safe for Dogs?
CBD oil is extracted from hemp, which contains very small amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a euphoric “high.” CBD is generally considered safe in small doses and has minimal side effects.
Side effects of CBD use include:
- Low blood pressure – High doses of CBD are known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure, which can make your dog feel dizzy and light-headed.
- Drowsiness – The calming effect CBD has on the body can also cause drowsiness, especially in large doses.
- Dry mouth – CBD can lower the production of saliva in the mouth. Your pup may become unusually thirsty.
How Much is a Safe Amount For your Dog?
Determining an effective dose for your dog depends on a variety of factors, including the weight of your dog, breed, and severity of the disease you are trying to treat. You should always start with a low dose and gradually increase it over time.
To find that sweet spot, keep a journal of your dog's behavior on CBD. Consistently note down the dosage and any changes you notice in your dog's activity level and general quality of life. Be vigilant of even subtle changes. Finding the optimum dose that gives your dog long-lasting relief will take trial and error.
Things to Consider Before buying CBD oil
Before you go out and get your dog CBD oil, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure it's legal in your state– As of December 2018, CBD products are still illegal under U.S. federal law, but 46 states have passed laws legalizing its use for medical purposes. The four states where marijuana-derived CBD is completely illegal are South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Idaho.
- Use reputable vendors – Research a vendor's production methods before purchasing any CBD oil. Talk to a customer service representative if you have to. A 2017 study that tested products bought from 31 different CBD product vendors found that roughly 7 out of 10 products had levels of CBD that didn't match the label.
- Ask for lab results – Reputable CBD vendors provide third-party lab results showing the amount of CBD and THC in their product. The THC levels should not exceed more than 0.3 percent.
- Don't price shop – The better the quality and purity, the higher the cost. Don't skimp on quality if you want the best results for your dog.
- Buy an oral tincture – Orally ingesting CBD oil is best for dogs. It's the fastest way for the compound to get absorbed and it makes it easy to adjust your dog's dosage.
CBD oil may sound like another passing health fad, but there are enough reports on its effectiveness for treating conditions like anxiety disorders, seizures, and inflammation that make it worth trying. CBD products are generally considered safe for humans and animals because they don't contain any THC, the compound that makes you high.
There are a few possible side effects, but most of them won't drastically affect your dog's quality of life. Remember, always start with a low dose and note down any changes in your dog's behavior. Speak to your vet if any of the aforementioned symptoms worsen or if you have any concerns.