I finally took the time to research Cannabidiol oil (CBD) as to its effectiveness, specific to dogs. I have seen numerous claims on the internet (and HEY, if you see it on the internet, it must be true, right?) that it helps with pain, arthritis, cancer, seizures, anxiety, inflammation pain, and more.
I found one article that claimed it did all this, and that it also helps with pancreatitis and kills bacteria in dogs. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, in fact, it is too good to be true. When I inspected the resources listed, I found the bulk of the studies were done in vitro. That means, in essence, cannabidiol oil was used on affected cells in a petri dish in a laboratory and the cells used were mice cells, NOT canine or human cells. It is encouraging that CBD oil may work that way, but there is still a long way to go to have it work orally. Some mice were injected with the oil with some good results, but again, it is via injection, not taken orally.
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Another article stated that CBD oil was effective via injection for seizures, however in dogs, the liver removed all the good properties (first pass) and the anti-seizure property was lost if used alone. It did seem to help if it was given with other anti-seizure traditional seizure medications.
“To date, no report has appeared that states CBD possesses antiepileptic or anticonvulsant activity in humans or animals upon oral administration when it is the only drug administered.”
Another website lists the potential side effects of CBD and recommends that you let your veterinarian know your dog is using CBD if they show any of the following symptoms:
- Dry Mouth:Your dog can’t tell you if they have dry mouth but it’s safe to say they might increase their water intake. Additionally, increased thirst could also be a sign of other serious problems, such as antifreeze or rodenticide poisoning, or conditions like diabetes.
- Tremors:Human patients with Parkinson’s disease have reported increased tremors at high doses of CBD. Tremors of any kind should be cause for concern in a dog.
- Low Blood Pressure:If your vet notices low blood pressure during your next wellness visit, let them know that you have been giving your dog CBD. Until then, check whether your dog seems overly tired or lethargic.
- Lightheadedness:Your dog won’t tell you if they’re feeling lightheaded, but they might seem disoriented or dizzy.
- Drowsiness:Pay attention to your dog’s sleeping patterns to see if there’s any change.
This same website goes on to say this about THC and dogs:
“It’s not that vets think marijuana products, either THC or CBD, are a panacea to all health problems for dogs and other animals. Instead, the lack of solid information about these drugs has created an unregulated environment where many pet owners are simply running the experiments themselves, sometimes with dangerous consequences.
Dr. Diana Thomé is at least one vet who said she has seen more animals with marijuana (THC) toxicity. “Our clients come in almost daily asking us about the use of marijuana,” she explained to congress, “Legally, I can’t tell them anything … other than to say I can’t advise them to use it.”
Without study, vets can’t say whether it’s safe to give any amount of THC or CBD to certain dogs, what it might treat effectively, what the suggested dosage might be, or any other information that could help reduce preventable harm. “
Do NOT give your dog any cannabis products with THC!
“The veterinary community has long known that cannabis — specifically the chemical THC that gives users their high — is toxic to pets. Dogs appear to be even more susceptible, Pawlowski says, because they have more cannabinoid receptors.”
“However, veterinarians and researchers can’t determine the level of toxicity because cannabis still is listed as a Class 1 drug, which restricts its use even by researchers. What they do know is that cannabis can damage the neurological system in pets and can sometimes be fatal, and they fear they are just seeing the start of the problems.”
If you opt to use CBD oil for your pet, make sure IT IS LESS than .03 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
However, this isn’t all bad news. While there has been little research done to date on CBD oil (Hemp oil, WITHOUT THC), Colorado State University has started specific research just for dogs. They are currently accepting dogs that have at least two seizures a month and dogs with canine arthritis. This is excellent news, and hopefully soon we will know what types of CBD oil will work (or not) for dogs and how much to give them.
CSU recently finished their trial on osteoarthritis in dogs, and we are awaiting their results.
They also have a trial going on for Cannabidiol and Epilepsy:
So what you may read on miracles of CBD is only anecdotal to date. Research has not shown it to be the miracle fix, but more research is being explored. PLEASE do your research before trying CBD oil. If you choose to use it, make sure the oil is pure, organic and contains no or VERY LITTLE THC! Be VERY careful not to overdose! I might recommend using the brand CSU is using, as it is tested and safe:
While the research doesn’t support the stories we have heard about the miracle of CBD oil in dogs, I will continue to be optimistic that the research that is being continued will show CBD oil to be helpful in some areas and that maybe they will be able to produce it in a manner that is more specifically helpful to dogs.
Past research with mice and rats does not always transfer over to dogs (or even people), so the results of the trials that are specific to dogs should bring us better answers! If you decide to go ahead and use it, please research it very carefully. Make sure the product is free of THC and let your veterinarian know immediately if your dog shows any of the side effects I listed above.
We are now into May! A great time of the year for fun outdoor activities with your dog. I always recommend long walks daily, and don’t forget to sign up for a Rally class, Nose Work class or the new Trick dog classes! While I always advocate for the best fresh food diet for your dog, don’t forget to exercise their physical bodies, but their brains as well!