In September of 2018 California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2215 into law, making it legal now for California veterinarians to DISCUSS cannabis for pets with their clients. They still can’t explicitly recommend or prescribe it, but they can at least discuss its use. Read more about why veterinarians can’t talk about CBD and what you can do to change that.
The simple story about CBD is that there is no simple story about CBD. Though CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical derived from cannabis or hemp that won’t get people or animals high like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it still falls into both a medical and bureaucratic black hole where it can be nearly impossible to extract definitive information.
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There is still a lot we don’t know about CBD. More accurately, we know pretty much nothing definitive about CBD because of the bureaucratic minefield that is the U.S. drug classification system. Under federal law, marijuana is a schedule 1 drug — putting it on the same level as LSD, ecstasy, and heroin. So it’s amazingly difficult to even study marijuana, and the THC and CBD it contains, for medical use. Cannabis-derived CBD is still technically illegal under federal law.
It’s understandable that many people are frustrated by the ambiguity surrounding CBD and dogs. It often results in pet owners who go with their gut, especially when they think A) an existing medication isn’t working, or B) there are better, “more natural” alternatives. And this is equally frustrating for vets who can’t definitively say anything about it.
Because of its cloudy classification and constantly shifting political winds, CBD creates a legal quagmire for anybody who wants to study or recommend its effectiveness as a medicine for animals. Luckily, there are a few ongoing studies being done at a few different veterinary colleges. The results of some of the clinical studies have now been published, and the results are looking quite encouraging. See the links added below, but note that the studies were done using very specific formulations of CBD and since not all CBD oils/chews/etc. are created the same, it doesn’t mean you should just run out and get any old (or even the cheapest) CBD product for your pets. Below the new links, we’re also including links to the companies whose CBD products were used in the university clinical trials. This is not an endorsement or recommendation for these products, but just to help point you in the right direction to start your research, should you decide to try CBD with your pets.
“But can’t someone just buy CBD products?” you might wonder to yourself.
One word of caution: because it appears to be metabolized in the liver – similarly to humans – some vets caution against giving CBD to dogs with known liver issues.
You may be wondering – if I can receive these benefits, can the same be said for my pet? In this article, we’ll cover what CBD is, the benefits for dogs, and how to safely give CBD to your dog if you choose.
These days, it can seem as though there’s a new health trend popping up every day. One of the latest hot topics is that of CBD – otherwise known as cannabidiol.
Benefits of CBD
This is where CBD oil starts to become a larger, stand-out player.
See below for a handy CBD serving size chart for your dog:
Some of the benefits of CBD for dogs are said to be:
CBD oil can help reduce anxiety in dogs – especially separation anxiety or a noise phobia (think thunderstorms or fireworks). It can also help reduce pain and inflammation – giving a dog suffering from arthritis a better quality of life.
But, much like the use of CBD in humans, not a lot is known about how CBD oil for dogs works – and if it actually works. According to the American Kennel Club, there have been no formal studies in how it affects dogs, and our expert backed that up.
Essentially, CBD is non-psychoactive but has a number of the same medical benefits as THC. This means you can take advantage of the therapeutic benefits for your pet without being concerned they will have the “stoned” feeling that goes with THC – which obviously would be very upsetting for a dog.
Verdino had some words of advice if you choose to give your dog CBD, saying, “I recommend people use a pet-specific product just so that they know that the concentration is appropriate, that there’s nothing else in it to. because look, this is a fairly unregulated industry.” Products include tinctures with a dropper that are easy to use to fill a pill pouch, such as Elevate for dogs. There are also treats available like MediPets CBD Treats, Hemp My Pet biscuits and King Kalm Crunch CBD treats.
Could there be risks? At the moment, we don’t know. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD for use in dogs (or humans) and has not issued dosing recommendations, and any medication or supplement carries the potential risk of reaction, so it’s important to try a small dose first and monitor how your dog reacts to it.
“Does it actually help with pain, or does it just make them not care? We don’t know, but they seem to be less reactive to low level pain stimuli, for example arthritis and things like that, when they take the product,” explains Mark Verdino, MD, senior vice president and chief of veterinary staff at North Shore Animal League America. “And certain anxieties, they seem less reactive to certain things.”