With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill hemp became legal is it was removed from the DEA’s Schedule 1 classification and the Controlled Substances Act. As a result hemp based CBD oil has been popping up in stores all over leading to people wondering just what is it and how it can help.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is one of many compounds found in the cannabis plant. When talking about cannabis plants most people think of marijuana however CBD is NOT marijuana. The least processed form of the cannabis plant is hemp and hemp contains most of the CBD that is used for medicinal purposes.
Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant however the two are very different.
Marijuana contains CBD but also contains THC. The psychoactive properties that are found in marijuana come from the THC compound. Marijuana typically contains anywhere from 5%-35% THC.
Hemp has low THC levels (less than 0.3%) and therefore it does not have the psychoactive properties of marijuana. CBD Oil (or cannabidiol) is a liquid that is derived from hemp.
How does CBD Oil work
Humans and dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is responsible for maintaining the balance of a huge variety of process in the body. The system regulates everything from blood pressure to your immune system. As dogs and humans share the same system research has found that they have had similar results when exposed to CBD Oil.
CBD oil interacts with the ECS in a number of different ways. Some examples are as follows:
- CBD oil binds to the Vanilloid receptor which plays a role in pain perception, body temperature and inflammation responses. As it binds with this receptor it is believed it can be used as a treatment for some pain and inflammation.
- CBD oil also interacts with the 5-HT1A
receptor which plays a role in mood. The interaction of CBD oil and this receptor has exhibited rapid anti-depressant effects in a number of studies.
- CBD has also been found to be an antagonist to the GPR55 receptor. This receptor has been implicated in the aggressive spread of certain cancers and is related to bone health. This antagonistic relationship, although still being more fully researched, is believed CBD can be used in treatments for degenerative bone disease and cancer.
How can CBD Oil help your dog
Dr. Edward Bassingthwaighte, a holistic vet in Uki, New South Wales, Australia, posted an article in January 2018 stating the many benefits he has witnessed while treating a number of his furry patients with CBD Oil. He stated he has seen improvements in dogs with arthritis, doggy dementia, anxiety, allergies and epilepsy. He even had improvement in one dog with congestive heart failure and has seen help in dogs with cancer – most of this has been palliative however he stated there was one case where the dog was cured.
- One example was an old Jack Russel who had become very stiff with arthritis and no longer wanted to take walks. After a week on cold processed extract he was eager to go for long walks again and appeared much happier. Additionally, to Dr. Bassingthwaighte’s surprise, the dogs congestive heart failure improved so much that after a month they were able to take him off of prescription medications.
The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine conducted a study on CBD Oil and dogs in regard to pain. Per the press release on the findings (dated February 2018) the study found that CBD Oil for dogs is “efficacious for pain in dogs with osteoarthritis, chronic joint pain and geriatric pain and soreness; with dramatic beneficial effects in our more geriatric patients.” They found that over 80% of the dogs that used the CBD product saw a significant or dramatic improvement.
Research is continuing into all the possible benefits CBD Oil can provide for your dog however CBD has been reported to help with the following issues:
- Noise phobias
- Loss of appetite
Possible Side Effects
With proper dosage there are no life-threatening side effects for dogs. Per Dr. Tim Shu, founder and CEO of a pet cannabis company in California, “ It doesn’t damage the kidney, liver or GI tract. The dogs are not high or sedated.”
Although life-threatening side effects are unlikely there are some potential side effects including:
- Dry mouth – Research has shown the CBD Oil can decrease the production of saliva. This would manifest as an increased thirst for your dog.
- Drowsiness – CBD has been used to treat anxiety in dogs as it can have a calming effect. This can lead to slight drowsiness, especially if higher doses are used.
- Lowered Blood Pressure – High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure which may create a brief feeling of light-headedness. This is typically brief and is mostly associated with higher dosages.
What to look for
Not all CBD Oils and products are the same. You want to ensure you purchase a good, high-quality CBD Oil in order achieve the best results. Some things to look for:
- Organic: You want to make sure what you are purchasing is organic to ensure it does not contain pesticides, fungicides or solvents.
- Quality may cost more: CBD Oils with the best quality and purity are likely to cost more. You want to make sure what you are purchasing is free of toxic substances (as mentioned in organic) and additives which can overly dilute the product. Check the ingredients and the amount of CBD.
- Get the analysis: The manufacturer should be able to provide you with a certificate that tells you the amount of CBD in the product. Many oils actually only contain a small amount of CBD so you will want to review this to ensure you have a good amount of CBD and to ensure there is little to no THC in the product.
- Buy CBD as an oil (in a liquid form): At least in the beginning it is best to purchase an oil of the CBD rather than treats as this will allow you to start with a smaller dose that you can adjust more easily.
You want to start your dog off slowly with small doses and then you can gradually move up the dose until you see the desired effect. Many products provide recommended dosages and you should start with the smallest and can work up the dosage from there being careful to not to give your dog too much (if you do the most likely effect will be that your dog will spend a few hours sleeping). If you decide to use CBD treats for your dog break them apart and give your dog a quarter or a half at first for a few days before you give them the whole treat. As with human sometimes they may only need a quarter or half of the treat and they may not need the whole treat.
Things to keep in mind
Keep the CBD oil and any CBD treats separate from other treats to ensure your dog is only getting the CBD as recommended and is not getting too much.
Keep an eye on your dog for the possible side effects and make sure to contact your vet as soon as possible if you notice anything concerning. Although many vets are still not able to specifically prescribe CBD products you can also talk to your vet ahead of time to get their thoughts for your dog.
CBD Oil for dogs has shown some very promising benefits and the medical profession is continuing to research all the benefits of this product for your furry friends.
If you have any questions, comments, insights or stories to share please leave a comment below.