What is CBD oil?
CBD or cannabidiol is the naturally occurring non-psychoactive compound found in Cannabis Sativa plants. It is usually extracted from the hemp variety that is rich in CBD and less than 0.3% THC.
Often this extract needs a carrier oil to deliver the CBD molecules to offer improved bioavailability. MCT oil ( coconut oil), Hemp seed oil, black seed oil, and olive oil are some of the common carrier oils used for this purpose.
CBD and Dogs: what we know so far
This is what we know so far about CBD and dogs:
Clinical tests and published conclusive reports on the subject of cannabis use ( as of now) in veterinary species is limited and under-researched.
There is a spurt in national and economic interest in phytocannabinoids and their application in veterinary medicine. As a result, clinical and academic research findings and publications in this domain are gaining momentum.
Also, anecdotal evidence and video documentations from pet owners and vets in social media are growing and adding value.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is made up of :
- endocannabinoid molecules,
- cannabinoid receptors ( CB1 and CB2),
- and enzymes.
The endocannabinoid molecules and the cannabinoid molecules of cannabis share similarities.
The receptors present themselves in the central nervous and immune systems in all organisms.
And finally, the enzymes are the substances that regulate the rate at which chemical reactions take place in the body.
Therefore, the primary function of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis by controlling and maintaining immune, neurological systems, and other organs. It does this by modulating its interactions with the body’s biological process through receptors and chemical reactions.
When the body loses its natural balance, we tend to become sick with certain conditions. Subsequently, the ECS releases endocannabinoids to help the body restore its balance and make the person healthy again.
Do dogs have an endocannabinoid system?
Several research articles have asserted the universal existence of the ECS in most animals. Including vertebrates and invertebrates.
In short, the ECS exists in all mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, Leech, sea urchins, and even the hydra.
Yes, dogs have an endocannabinoid system.
Is it legal to give my dog CBD oil?
Yes, it is legal to give CBD oil to dogs. The same law that applies to humans, applies to CBD products for dogs. As long as the CBD oil does not contain more than 0.3% THC it is legal to purchase and administer to your dog. However, just like with any new product introduced to the diet of your dog, we suggest you consult with your veterinarian before giving CBD to your four-legged friend.
How does dog CBD oil taste compared to human CBD oil?
There is indeed a difference in taste between the CBD products specifically manufactured for humans, and these for dogs. High quality CBD oil for dogs usually contains natural flavouring, such as chicken or beef. When it comes to CBD for humans, it usually comes free of any additional flavourings – only the natural, earthy flavour of hemp can be tasted.
What to watch out for on CBD market
While administering CBD in the form of treats, check for ingredients. For example traces of chocolate, coffee, or raisins may turn out to be dangerous to dogs. Likewise, ensure to purchase high quality standard CBD products that offer pure and safe products.
Types of CBD products for dogs
The market is flooded with CBD products for dogs in the form of different treats that come in fancy shapes, sizes and flavors.
As a pet owner, your responsibility is to check for quality, source of hemp, its purity, and other ingredients in the product.
Some of the CBD products for dogs are:
- CBD oil for dogs with beef
- CBD oil for dogs with chicken
- Dental sticks for dogs
- Chewable for dogs ( CBD + multivitamin)
Full spectrum, Broad spectrum, OR isolate (crystals) – Which form of CBD is best for dogs?
CBD products come with different ingredients. However the most important requirement to assure their legality under the 2018 farm bill, is that they must be manufactured from industrial hemp and contain less than 0.3% THC. To decide which ingredient combination is best for your dog, you should be familiar with the difference between all 3 types of CBD oil.
Here is an outline:
Broad Spectrum CBD Oil for dogs:
- contains 0.0% Psychoactive THC
- contains a broad range of cannabinoids.
- contains very few residual flavors and aromas.
Full-spectrum CBD Oil for dogs:
- contains less than 0.3% THC and trace amounts of terpenes.
- contains full spectrum of cannabinoids
- It may have a smell and taste (bitter)
CBD Isolate / Crystals for dogs:
- comes in the form of powder
- contains only isolated CBD and no other cannabinoids
Buying CBD for dogs
If you have decided to give CBD to your dog, make sure you do your research before you make a purchase. It is important to pay attention to the quality of the CBD oil you are buying and to make sure it is actually formulated specifically for pets.
• Pay attention to the ingredients – Not all products are manufactured the same way. Look for a company that uses organically cultivated hemp, from which they derive the CBD.
• Ask for lab results – It is always a good sign when a company displays lab results of all their products openly on their website or in store.
• Pet formula- A lot of CBD brands for pets repurpose the same oil they sell for human use. The truth is – CBD oil for dogs is not the same as CBD oil for humans. There is a difference in the ingredients.
How much CBD oil should I give my dog?
1) First things first, when it comes to dosage, there isn’t any ‘one size fits for all’ formula’
Do take into consideration some of the following aspects while administering CBD to your dog.
- Size of dog and weight
- Any drugs administered
- Route of administration of CBD ( transmucosal, oral,)
- Consult your Vet to discuss the expected outcomes after beginning dosage
2) Secondly, in what form do you want to give CBD to your pets?
- CBD for dogs is available in the form of oil, chewable, dental sticks, and more.
- The chewable and dental sticks also come in pet-friendly flavors like beef and chicken.
- All standard CBD supplement products would contain the details of the ingredients and the serving instructions based on the dog’s weight.
- Similarly, CBD oil for dogs comes in different potencies that you need to choose from depending on the CBD goals that you set for your dog.
To give you an idea about how an average dosage could look like, 2.5mg/kg per body weight twice daily for 12 weeks.
As a start, you could begin a CBD routine for your dog with low dosages, and then scaling it up could work best for your pet. Do remember to monitor their reactions.
Risks of using cannabinoids for dogs
So far in this article we focussed on the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD and its applicability to dogs. We have not discussed THC, the psychoactive sister compound of CBD.
THC is not tolerated by dogs, hence they could leave adverse effects on them. Immediate medical intervention may be necessary. Some brands that sell CBD contain much less CBD than what is mentioned in the label. This is why the FDA imposes guidelines for appropriate labelling of CBD products for pets.