With so many people posting glowing reviews of pet CBD products online, owners are wondering: should I be giving my dog CBD?
Here’s the lowdown on what pet CBD is, how it differs from human cannabis products, whether it’s safe for your pup.
What is CBD for dogs?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of many compounds called cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.
Cannabinoids are able to affect dogs and humans in a variety of ways. For example, the cannabinoids CBN and CBG are known to produce soothing, pain-relieving effects, while the cannabinoid THC is famous for creating a psychoactive high.
CBD offers many of the anti-inflammatory benefits of other cannabinoids, without any of the intoxicating effects. This makes it a great natural supplement for dogs, who get to receive the therapeutic perks of cannabis without the fear of getting high.
What does CBD do for dogs?
The main uses of CBD in dogs are to help treat canine conditions with an inflammatory base. These include things like arthritis, joint pain and swelling, allergies, seizures, stress, and anxiety. Some owners even use CBD to help soothe symptoms of chronic disease and cancer.
Scientific researchers are actually pretty optimistic about CBD’s ability to help with these kinds of conditions, in both humans and other animals. This is because CBD has a powerful recorded effect on a part of the body called the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in triggering pain signals and inflammatory responses.
Ok, but CBD is still cannabis, right?
Yes, CBD is a cannabis product. But not all cannabis products are made in the same way, or cause the same effects.
Cannabis, in general, can be separated into two completely different categories: marijuana and hemp. Marijuana plants are bred to contain strong cocktails of cannabinoids and are often full of THC, which makes them highly potent. Hemp, on the other hand, tends to contain low amounts of any high-causing substance.
Pet CBD is always made from hemp, which means it’s really nothing like the traditional cannabis products seen in dispensaries and stoner movies.
So what’s the main difference between CBD for dogs and CBD for humans?
While all pet CBD is hemp-derived, human CBD can be made from marijuana and contain high amounts of THC (depending upon state laws). This reflects the wider uses of human CBD. Whereas pet CBD is strictly therapeutic, some human CBD products are designed for recreational use.
When shopping for CBD for your dog, always be sure to check that a product is made from hemp, and contains less than 0.3% THC.
So as long as my dog’s CBD is made from hemp, it’s safe?
Not quite. More accurately, any properly processed, hemp-based CBD extract is safe for dogs. It pays to research brands and products to ensure they’re legit, and read the product’s independent lab tests, which should show the presence of any contaminants – such as pesticides or chemicals used to extract the cannabinoids.
If a CBD product doesn’t have a good online reputation, or a brand doesn’t submit its products for independent testing, it’s best to steer clear and try a different retailer.
Have any dogs had side effects from taking CBD?
Yes. While CBD is considered a safe supplement when made correctly, a small number of owners have reported mild side effects in their dogs. The major reported unwanted effects include diarrhea, lethargy, and nausea.
A very small number of cases of confusion and ataxia (lack of coordination) have also been reported. A handful of studies have also shown that taking CBD causes raised levels of enzyme activity in the liver, which may be an issue for dogs with preexisting liver conditions.
Why are some pet CBD products sold as oils and some sold as treats?
There’s no real difference between the CBD contained in oil tincture and treat products. Having the two options allows owners to use the delivery method most convenient for them.
CBD oils are great for accurate dosing and can be dropped onto any dinner or snack – or even directly into a dog’s mouth. CBD treats, on the other hand, provide a ready-to-go solution.
Wait, why do some CBD oils contain other cannabinoids besides CBD?
While all pet CBD products are called ‘CBD’ for convenience, many actually contain a range of beneficial cannabinoids.
Manufacturers produce extracts with CBD as a primary ingredient, alongside a range of secondary ingredients such as CBN, CBC, and CBG. Using a mix of different cannabinoids is thought to produce a stronger, more consistent effect.
To quickly check whether a CBD oil contains more than simply CBD, take a look at the ‘spectrum’ listing. Full-spectrum products contain all the cannabinoids present in the original hemp plant, broad-spectrum products contain a curated selection, and isolate products should contain just CBD alone.