Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis, and medical research has revealed some fascinating discoveries about CBD. For one, it can counteract the intoxicating effects of THC, so marijuana strains containing both compounds will not provide the same high as one rich in THC alone.
Another thing to note is that CBD has an array of potential medical benefits. For example, it is used in medications for children with epilepsy to reduce symptoms, and studies have also found that it can reduce anxiety, and relieve chronic pain.
What is especially interesting is that some CBD sellers have products specifically for pets. Incredibly, dog owners, in particular, are investing in their best friend’s health by purchasing CBD oil and treats. We know that CBD helps humans, but studies suggest it can also help your faithful canine companion.
Is CBD Safe for My Dog?
In a word, yes! The vast majority of companies that sell CBD products for dogs derive the compound from hemp rather than marijuana. Hemp oil is legal across the United States because it contains little to no THC.
As long as consumers purchase organic CBD oil with no solvents, THC, pesticides, or fungicides, it should have minimal side effects. It is also wise to begin with the smallest possible dose before increasing it until it shows positive effects for your pooch.
Responsible pet owners still have to ensure that CBD doesn’t cause any issues, so it is essential to carefully monitor the dog and discontinue cannabidiol usage if they display any of the following:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
Although hemp-derived CBD that contains no more than 0.3% THC is legal according to federal law, a vet is highly unlikely to prescribe it because they can be held liable for prescribing any form of medical cannabis or CBD for pets.
How Can CBD Help Dogs?
CBD may be able to help address the symptoms of most of the same maladies that afflict humans. This is because we have the same endogenous cannabinoid system as canines. CBD works by targeting receptors located in the organs, central nervous system, brain, and immune system. As a consequence, CBD is used to address the following issues in dogs:
- Poor appetite
- Chronic pain and arthritis
- Autoimmune diseases
The final condition on the list yielded some pretty astonishing findings, with the promise of more to come.
Can CBD Reduce Seizures in Dogs?
The most famous CBD-related story of all time is about a young girl named Charlotte Figi, who had Dravet’s Syndrome and suffered dozens of seizures a day. After using oil extracted from a CBD-rich strain, the number of seizures was reduced to just a couple a month, and they usually occurred when Charlotte was asleep. The Stanley Brothers of Colorado developed this strain, and they renamed it Charlotte’s Web in her honor.
It seems as if dogs with epilepsy could also benefit from CBD, at least according to research by Colorado State University’s (CSU) Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Dr. Stephanie McGrath works there as an assistant professor and veterinarian, specializing in neurology and neurosurgery. At present, McGrath and her colleagues use drugs such as potassium bromide and phenobarbital as treatments for canines with epilepsy. However, these drugs come with debilitating side effects.
Dr. McGrath has been attempting to answer questions about CBD’s possible benefits for pets since it became legal for medicinal use in Colorado in 2012. Unfortunately, a lot of pet owners showed a lack of patience and began feeding cannabis edibles to their pets. Given that these homemade products were for human consumption, many people made their pets even more ill.
McGrath was also extremely skeptical about what was in the products sold in pet stores. At that time, there had been no qualified peer-reviewed scientific studies on CBD products for pets. One of the primary issues is the federally illegal status of marijuana, which makes it tough for scientists to receive funding and permission for new CBD research.
Research on the Use of CBD for Dogs with Epilepsy
In March 2016, McGrath was part of a CSU team determined to research the effects of CBD on epileptic dogs. The study involved the use of CBD oil created by Applied Basic Science, a well-respected Colorado-based organization.
The firm was already selling its pet oil, which was proving to be extremely popular. The study involved giving 30 beagles high doses of CBD oil. The team used three dosing methods; transdermal cream, tincture, and capsule, and found that the tincture was the safest.
There were some mild side effects, including elevated liver enzymes and diarrhea. However, McGrath said there were no abnormalities severe enough to cause the removal of a dog from the study, and the results were positive enough for CSU to permit further clinical trials.
The first trial involved McGrath testing CBD on epileptic dogs in a double-blind study. Dogs in the CBD group showed a significant reduction in seizure frequency.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Dogs & Pets
As long as the complicated political and legal landscape keeps getting in the way, it will be hard to conduct double-blind studies on CBD’s effects on dogs.
One of the major areas that need to be investigated regarding CBD in animals is the dose required to achieve a beneficial response, along with the best method of administering it. Hopefully, such research will take place in the near future, and we’ll have even more knowledge of how this cannabinoid can help our furry friends.
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