Even our furry friends are now enjoying the benefits of CBD. CBD for dogs is becoming more and more common as people discover the number of benefits it can provide, not only for us but for our pets as well. This article provides veterinarian advice on the pro and cons of using CBD oil. What's the latest on CBD oil for dogs? For your dog's health and happiness, get the facts, pros, and cons about CBD for dogs from Dr. Buzby.
The Pros (and Con) of CBD for Pets
Cannabis contains hundreds of cannabinoids. Of all these compounds, the most important are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The former is known for its psychoactive effects, while the latter is known for its numerous health benefits. Throughout the years, CBD has risen to become a formidable health and wellness product for people. Now, people are using it to change the lives of their pets.
Potential Benefits of CBD for Pets
CBD is a wonderful supplement for cats, dogs, and other animals. The compound can prevent convulsions, inflammation, stress, cancer, and more. Most of these effects are felt by humans as well. Perhaps the most important benefit that animals could get from CBD is that it helps them relax easier. The compound will help them get through stressful periods that could otherwise have adverse effects on their health.
Every fur parent knows how horrible it is to see our pets suffer through thunderstorms and the loud noises made by fireworks during New Year’s Eve. This distress could result in abnormal breathing and heart rate, a suppressed immune system, and more.
With its benefits aside, is CBD really safe to use in dogs, cats, and other animals? Many dog owners seem to believe so, and they are standing by their decision to incorporate CBD into their pet’s life.
Potential Side Effects
While the benefits may be enticing, CBD users should understand that there are a few side effects worth knowing about first. A study published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Journal reveals that humans can feel tiredness, diarrhea, and even appetite loss when consuming CBD. The good thing is that animals don’t suffer the same side effects. In fact, the only drawback they might experience is slight drowsiness.
The Rally Behind CBD Use for Pets
Those who rally behind the use of CBD for animals are pushing to share the compound’s benefits with their pets. Those who stand against it, on the other hand, are still on the fence about CBD’s effects on animals, and they are simply waiting for more scientific research to back up the many claims. Once more research is done, the CBD pet product industry will be able to fully reach its capacity.
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The good greatly outweighs the bad in this case, so it should not be surprising to see a growing demand for CBD products that are tailor-made for our furry friends.
Getting the Best CBD Products
Now that there is a clear market for CBD pet products, many companies are willing to expand their product line with animal-friendly items. One brand that has been there to support pet owners from the beginning is PotNetwork Holdings, Inc. (POTN).
Types of Products Available
POTN distributes a wide selection of products through its wholly owned subsidiary, Diamond CBD, Inc., including creams, dabs, flavored oils, and more. Diamond CBD offers a growing line of CBD pet products which includes treats, capsules, and oils. Aside from coming in packed with the miracle compound, these products are made palatable for cats’ and dogs’ taste buds.
A bestseller from the category is Pet CBD Food Bacon Flavor. The oil can be added to a pet’s food or water 1–2 times a day. Since it comes in a flavor that dogs know and love, they will not hesitate to eat or drink it instantly. Another best seller is the MediPets CBD Beef Wrap Dog Treats. One jar of the product contains chewy treats that have 3mg of CBD per piece. It serves as a great reward for good boys to keep their tails wagging.
POTN’s products are nothing short of being high-quality. All the hemp plants used in CBD production are carefully handpicked to guarantee each plant used surpasses standards. As an added measure, POTN manually inspects all products before giving them the go signal for distribution.
The company’s dedication to creating quality products has resulted in major revenue growth. During the first half of 2018, POTN was able to yield more than $12 million in revenue, which is more than double its earnings when compared year-over-year.
CBD Is a Growing Industry for People and Pets
The CBD industry is able to touch many users thanks to its versatility and benefits. It is not only humans that deserve a dose of the miracle compound, as our lovable pet friends should have access to these too. As more studies about CBD use on animals are being conducted, we can expect more companies to pitch in the growing market which will make it more accessible to pet owners.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
CBD for Dogs: A Vet Explains the Pros and Cons
In the past few years, CBD products have been gaining popularity in both people and animals. Marijuana and other hemp products have been studied to determine their effects on people and animals. The studies show that CBD for dogs and other hemp products are beneficial.
What is CBD for dogs?
Cannabidiol or CBD is found in hemp plants. Unlike what many people believe CBD does not contain THC. THC is the compound found in marijuana responsible for the euphoric state. In recent years CBD has been explored for potential medical uses with success in both human and veterinary medicine.
Is CBD safe for dogs?
CBD oil is very safe for dogs. Many dogs show improvement with their condition after taking CBD for a few weeks. Many people have reported that using CBD for dogs or cat has significantly reduced or eliminated pain from arthritis or helped with seizures and other neurological problems.
Benefits of using CBD for dogs
Colorado State University Veterinary School has published studies showing the benefits of CBD oil in reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis. The information that we have regarding the use of cannabis in veterinary medicine has come from recent studies done on laboratory rodents (mice, rats, and guinea pigs). Studied on laboratory animals has shown benefits for disorders of the cardiovascular system, cancer, pain, disorders of the respiratory system, or metabolic disorders. There has been very little published studied on cannabis in dogs and cats. Most of the studies in companion and large animal medicine are on the toxic levels, effects, and treatment rather than therapeutic applications. Currently, some of the most frequent studies of cannabis in veterinary medicine are for the treatment of glaucoma, pain, skin disorders, and cancer.
Cannabis has been shown to have a wide variety of beneficial effects on the body in laboratory and companion animals. Most cannabis has psychotropic properties, which can cause behavior effects in animals and can become addictive. However, many other medications have these same effects and are used for medical purposes today because the benefits are much greater than the side effects. Pet owners have reported the successful use of CBD with their pets for both large and small animals. Studies are being performed to prove the benefits of cannabis in animals as well as products being produced that limit the THC content to help decrease the potential for toxicity.
Symptoms treated by CBD for Dogs
There are many different problems that CBD products can help treat, such as:
- Anxiety: CBD has been shown to help decreases stress and help with anxiety. Many people will use CBD around thunderstorms or fireworks. CBD products will help keep your dog calm
- Arthritis: One of the primary uses of CBD is for pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Colorado State Veterinary School has published studies on the effects of CBD in arthritic patients. The study showed that CBD does help decrease the pain and inflammation associated with this disease.
- Cancer: CBD may help decrease the size of your pet’s tumor. Also, if your pet is undergoing chemotherapy and feels nauseated, CBD products can help reduce nausea and even help increase their appetites.
- Seizures: A recent study has shown that CBD products can help decrease the number of seizures that your dog has. In the study, 89 percent of dogs who took CBD products saw a decrease in the number of seizures. CBD products are suitable for those dogs who do not respond to traditional medication or who cannot take conventional medicines due to the side effects or other diseases.
- Skin disorders : CBD has been shown to help repair a healthy skin barrier. When this barrier is disrupted, allergies, bacteria, and yeast are allowed to invade the skin causing all the skin disease that we see. CBD will help repair this layer and help your pet to feel much better.
Potential risks and side effects of CBD for dogs
There are studies published that show that CBD given to dog over a long period of time at very high dosages have little to no side effects. Some of the dogs taking the medication long term did show a slight increase in a liver enzyme (ALT). While most other medications used to treat dogs can have a large list of unwanted side effects. This makes CBD a great option, especially for those pets with chronic pain or other medical conditions that prevent them from taking traditional medications.
Types of CBD products for dogs
There are many different types of CBD products for dogs. These are the typical type of products that contain CBD:
CBD Oil for Dogs: Facts, Benefits, Concerns 
What are the benefits of CBD oil for dogs? What are the concerns about CBD and dogs? CBD oil has become an increasingly hot topic in human medicine and veterinary medicine. Integrative veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby breaks down the pros and cons. Get the latest facts, concerns, and benefits that dog parents need to know.
CBD oil for dogs: a rapidly changing landscape
In 2018, the FDA approved the first naturally derived CBD product, Epidiolex®, for controlling severe seizures in children. The research behind CBD oil for veterinary use is slowly growing, but the legal aspects remain complicated and messy.
Our veterinary team at Dr. Buzby’s—The Senior Dog Company has been researching CBD oil for dogs. For years, we’ve been discussing up-to-date information with veterinary colleagues, interviewing experts in the field, and attending lectures at veterinary conferences. At the state and federal level, information changes frequently. So much so, that it feels like it’s almost daily.
This impacts veterinarians’ ability to recommend CBD for their canine patients and discuss it with clients. Though the landscape is rapidly changing, we’re proud to share what we currently know regarding CBD and dogs.
What is CBD?
Let’s start with the basics. There are over 113 different naturally occurring compounds that can be derived from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The two most well-known compounds are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Different strains of the same hemp plant can have different levels of THC and CBD. Interestingly, the body (human and animal) has different receptors for both THC and CBD.
THC is the compound we associate with marijuana. It is responsible for the psychoactive effect, or “high” feeling after an individual smokes or cooks the marijuana plant. THC binds to CBD1 receptors in the brain that are associated with emotions, coordination, movement, memories, appetite, and pain. CBD1 receptors also are present throughout the body. THC products can be toxic to dogs in high enough doses.
CBD, on the other hand, does not have the same effects on the brain as THC. The majority of the receptors for CBD (CBD2 receptors) are associated with the immune system. When CBD binds to these receptors, it can help decrease pain and inflammation as well as trigger the body to produce its own cannabinoids, which can decrease pain.
Limiting the amount of THC in hemp
The Farm Bill, signed on December 20, 2018, legalized the production of the hemp plant as long as it contains less than or equal to 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. This means that hemp with less than 0.3% THC is no longer considered a controlled substance.
Additionally, the USDA published the final rule regulating the production of hemp in the U.S. in January 2021. The final rule established requirements for licensing and testing THC concentrations in hemp. The goal is to encourage growing hemp of known chemical concentrations to stabilize CBD and THC concentrations in CBD products.
Keep in mind that legality varies at the state level. As you’re probably aware, state laws regarding marijuana are changing all the time.
What are the potential health benefits and uses of CBD oil in canine patients?
What are the pros or potential health benefits of CBD oil for dogs? Let’s discuss.
First of all, in human medicine, CBD oil is being studied and used for chronic pain management, epilepsy, cancer, anxiety, and many other uses. Regarding chronic pain, a study done in mice and rats showed that CBD oil helped reduce inflammation. Also, in a study done on humans, CBD oil reduced the use of opioids (oxycodone, for example) by 64%.
Preliminary research done in cancer cells shows that CBD may be involved in blocking the signals for reproduction in cancer cells. Finally, CBD may have benefits for patients with anxiety disorders by increasing dopamine. (It is worth noting that THC has the potential to make anxiety worse by increasing paranoia.)
The following two benefits have studies to back them up:
1. Research study on CBD and dogs shows it may help manage seizures.
In dogs, two studies have recently been published regarding CBD use for seizures and pain management.
A study by Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine showed an 89% reduction in seizures in dogs with seizure disorders. The study itself was very small—only nine dogs in the treatment group and seven dogs in the placebo group. However, it does demonstrate that CBD oil may help manage seizures in dogs. Colorado State University is currently conducting a larger study to more thoroughly evaluate CBD use in seizure dogs.
2. Research study shows improvement for dogs with arthritis.
Pet parents who have used CBD oil in their pets have reported improvements in gait, sleep, and appetite. Researchers at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine evaluated the use of CBD oil in dogs using the gold standard double-blind study. This means both the researchers and the dog owners did not know which treatment the dog was getting. Theoretically, the results are more accurate from a scientific basis.
Of the 22 dogs with arthritis enrolled in the study, 16 dogs ultimately finished the trial. Dogs received either CBD oil or a placebo oil (olive oil mixed with anise and peppermint oil to have the same scent as the CBD oil) for four weeks, followed by a two-week washout period, then the opposite treatment for four more weeks. In this manner, all dogs were given both CBD oil and “sham” oil for one month each.
Dogs were evaluated based on owner questionnaires, veterinary physical exams, Canine Brief Pain Inventory score, Hudson activity score, and blood work (CBC and biochemical profile).
It is important to note that the dogs included in the study were allowed to stay on current medications such as NSAIDs (examples include Rimadyl, Meloxicam, Deramaxx, etc.), fish oil supplements and/or glucosamine/chondroitin supplements—as long as there were no changes made within the four weeks up to the study or during the ten weeks of the study. However, dogs were taken off Tramadol for dogs and/or Gabapentin for dogs two weeks prior to starting the research.
The study yielded two key pieces of information:
- First, dogs on CBD oil showed an improvement in their arthritis symptoms compared to dogs on the placebo oil.
- Second, CBD oil was safely used concurrently with traditional arthritis management medications such as anti-inflammatory medications.
What are the concerns regarding CBD oil?
What the cons of CBD oil for dogs? There are five concerns regarding giving your dog CBD oil.
1. All CBD oil is not alike.
Because CBD oil is sold as a supplement, products are not subject to the same tight regulations and standards as pharmaceuticals approved by the FDA. There can be marked discrepancy in the CBD concentration reported on the label versus the CBD concentration in the actual product.
Why is this so important? When the CBD concentration differs from the actual product, a dog is at risk of being under or over dosed .
Three different types of CBD are available: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. Full spectrum hemp products contain THC, so should be avoided for use in dogs.
CBD oil for dogs products may be human grade, contain natural ingredients, be organic, vegan, etc. These factors do not necessarily indicate whether they are good or bad pet products.
2. CBD concentrations may vary significantly from the amount specified on the label.
The FDA issued warnings in 2015-2017 to certain companies for the CBD concentration not matching the labeled amount. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) evaluated different CBD extracts online and allowed for the amount on the label to vary by 10%. 43% of products had a higher concentration than what was on the label and 26% had a lower amount than specified on the label.
3. Arsenic and other toxins may contaminate CBD oils.
Depending on how it is harvested and processed and what additives or preservatives are used, CBD oils are at risk for contamination. This includes:
- Mycotoxins (a deadly toxic substance produced by a fungus)
- Heavy metals including arsenic
However, you can request a Certificate of Analysis from the company. This document should include a cannabinoid profile with test results showing the concentration of cannabinoids in the product, antimicrobial analysis, pesticide analysis, and elemental analysis to screen for lead and arsenic.
If you use a CBD product for your dog, make sure to check the ingredients. CBD oil products should be comprised of cannabanoid oil and a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil.
4. CBD oil is a legal “grey zone” for veterinarians.
CBD oil falls into a legal grey zone with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), federal, and state regulations. Although the 2018 Farm Bill allowed for the production of specific hemp products, some states still ban CBD oil.
In the eyes of the DEA, marijuana and hemp are federally categorized as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, defined as having a high potential for abuse and no medical use. (Also on the list are Heroin and LSD, to give you a frame of reference.) However, state governments are given authority to determine if they will allow marijuana and hemp-based products to be manufactured and sold inside their state borders.
The Schedule I categorization by the DEA makes CBD the elephant in the exam room, so to speak. Many of my veterinary clients with senior canine companions suffering from osteoarthritis in dogs are asking me about pet CBD oil. Yet my hands are theoretically tied in recommending or prescribing the product. Why? Because according to federal law, medical professionals may not write prescriptions for Schedule I substances, and violators are subject to criminal prosecution.
Always make sure the read the label of your CBD product to ensure your pet is getting a quality product.
5. There is no FDA-approved veterinary CBD oil for dogs.
This categorization also makes research more difficult because there are extra hoops for researchers to jump through for Schedule I drugs. Further, there also is no veterinary CBD oil approved by the FDA. So state veterinary licensing boards default to holding veterinarians responsible for the guidelines established by the DEA. As a result, the American Veterinary Medical Association discourages veterinarians from even discussing CBD oil with pet owners due to legal concerns.
Promising results from dog owners
Anecdotally, a couple dozen of my patients are on CBD oil, in every case because their proactive owners heard about the product and decided to try it for their arthritic dogs. The dog owners have acquired CBD oil from a host of interesting sources—online, a relative, and a local lady who recently opened a side business selling CBD.
My veterinary clients pepper me with questions about how much CBD oil to give their dogs, safety concerns of using it along with other drugs their dogs take, and risks of long-term continual dosing. I apologize to my clients and defer their questions. Not because I am under a legal gag order but because I genuinely don’t (yet) have a lot of answers.
What can we hope for in the future regarding CBD oil for dogs?
Laws have significantly relaxed regarding hemp and cannabinoid products over the past several years. As more states change their laws regarding cannabinoids, more doors should hopefully open for veterinary use of these products.
Also, we’ve seen studies published indicating that CBD oil may have benefits in seizure and pain management for dogs. These are huge strides. Hopefully, laws will continue to relax to allow veterinarians to discuss CBD oil with their clients and to allow for more veterinary research.
Finally, we hope there will be more oversight for product quality and control so that consumers know they are getting a pure, safe product.