Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil for Dogs
Since the legalization of marijuana in many states, there is much interest in marijuana as well as in CBD oil. We will review what is CBD oil, how it differs from marijuana, discuss the benefits of CBD oil, and answer the question about what’s the right dosage of CBD oil for dogs.
How Does CBD Oil Differ From Marijuana
Marijuana is a drug derived from the Cannabis plant and is classified as a psychoactive drug. As marijuana has been researched and explored for the medical benefits, much interest has been placed on the Cannabis plant. Because of the availability of marijuana, there has been in increase in exposures and toxicity of marijuana to pets. Learn more about Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs and Is Marijuana Toxic to Cats?
The Cannabis plant has been around for thousands of years and is known to contain over 450 chemicals and over 80 cannabinoids. A cannabinoid is a class of chemicals isolated from Cannabis that can cause various effects on the body. The amount and concentration of each cannabinoid varies with the different plant and strain of plant.
The two most studied and available cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most potent and psychogenic cannabinoid. It is used medically to treat nausea, muscle spasms, seizures, pain, anxiety as well as other medical problems. Learn more about the ingestion and toxicity of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Cannabidiol (CBD) is has limited or no psychotropic properties. CBD is thought to decrease anxiety, decrease nausea and vomiting, decrease seizure activity, and have anti-inflammatory properties. It is increasingly being used in both human and dogs. Hemp is a type of Cannabis plant that is known to have more CBD than THC. CBD is often extracted from the plant and sold as an “oil”.
How CBD Oil for Dogs Works
Cannabinoids bind with very specific membrane-bound receptors called the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2). Cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) are found in the brain and (CB2) receptors are found in the immune system such as the spleen. Cannabidiol (CBD) has little affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors and is thought to work by altering the updated of adenosine which may promote sleep and relaxation.
Can CBD Oil Help Your Dog?
CBD oil is used and prescribed for a variety of uses in dogs. The most common uses of CBD in dogs include:
- Anxiety and fear problems including noise phobia and separation anxiety
- Appetite stimulation for a decreased appetite
- Canine cognitive dysfunction
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Immune system stimulation
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Nausea associated with side effects to drug therapy such as chemotherapy
- Pain relief from arthritis or joint inflammation
- Treatment of cancer as some CBD is thought to have an anti-tumor properties
- Treatment of seizure disorders such as epilepsy
Side Effects of CBD Oil in Dogs
Side effects can occur with any drug or supplement. However, CBD is not psychotropic which means it does not cause the symptoms noted with THC such as lethargy, listlessness, stumbling, glazed over eyes, and urinary incontinence. The overall toxicity of CBD oil in dogs appears to be limited.
In people, the most common side effects of CBD oil include a dry mouth, drowsiness and some experience slight drop in blood pressure. In dogs, this is more difficult to determine and few side effects have been documented. However, some products that are not pure can contain THC and cause psychotropic effects.
The Controversy Over CBD Oil for Dogs
There are substantial differences in the quality and purity of CBD products.
Before we discuss dosing of CBD in dogs, consider the following:
- We don’t know if CBD really works for most medical conditions in dogs. Research is underway to determine its effect on pain and seizures.
- Safe dosages of CBD oil in dogs have not been established.
- It is unknown how CBD interacts with other treatments or medications. There may be undocumented drug interactions that are yet to be determined.
- There is poor quality control over CBD products. CBD is unregulated by the Federal Government. This means that no agency is looking at the purity, concentration, quality, or if it meets label declarations. There are substantial differences in the quality, presence of preservatives, insecticides, additives, and the actual concentrations of CBD in the various products. In fact, some products have been shown to have little or actually no CBD oil in the product.
- Impure products may contain various amount of THC which can cause unwanted side effects to your dog.
- Poor quality products have the potential to be harmful.
In general, it is recommended to obtain a high quality product that is organic, free of preservatives, and additives. Ideally it should be clear that the product has been tested and free of THC.
What is the Dose for CBD Oil in Dogs?
The dose of CBD oil may vary. Please see your veterinarian for recommendations for the best quality and safest product as well as the dose appropriate for your dog and the condition you are trying to treat. Many products indicate dosage recommendations on their labels. The amount you give will be dependent on the concentration of CBD in the product.
You can buy CBD in treats or as an oil. CBD in dogs can be applied topically but is more commonly given orally. Most prefer the oil as you can better regulate the amount your dog is receiving. The dose recommended varies with the product and how much CBD is in that particular product. Work with your veterinarian to determine the best dose for your dog.
CBD oil for dogs is most often dosed by body weight and given every 8 to 12 hours as needed. It is recommended to start slow and work up the amount of CBD you are giving your dog to acquire the desired effects.
Dosage recommendations for CBD oil in dogs vary. A common recommendation is 0.1 to 0.2 mg/kilogram of body weight (0.05 to 0.1 mg/pound) once to twice daily.
For example, starting doses may include:
- Dogs 5 pounds to 10 pounds – approximately 0.25 mg to 1 mg per dog per day.
- Dogs 11 to 20 pounds – approximately 0.5 mg to 2 mg per dog per day.
- Dogs 21 to 40 pounds – approximately 1 mg to 4 mg per dog per day.
- Dogs 41 to 60 pounds – approximately 2 mg to 6 mg per dog per day.
- Dogs 61 to 80 pounds – approximately 3 mg to 8 mg per dog per day.
- Dogs 81 to 100 pounds – approximately 4 mg to 10 mg per dog per day.
- Dogs 101 to 120 pounds – approximately 5 mg to 12 mg per dog per day.
- Dog > 121 pounds – use a combination of the above
Some CBD oil for dogs dosage recommendations may be as high as 0.5 mg/kg (0.25 mg/pound) every 12 hours.
It is important to determine the mg of CBD per unit of the product to calculate this dose.
IMPORTANT: PLEASE – see your veterinarian to determine the best quality and safest product as well as the dose most appropriate for your dog and the condition you are trying to treat.
It is recommended to obtain a good quality product and start slowly with the approval of your veterinarian. It is also most commonly used in conjunction with traditional treatments.
Additional Articles that May be of Interest About CBD Oil For Dogs
- Understanding CBD Oil for Cats
- Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs
- Is Marijuana Toxic to Cats?
- What Veterinarians Do When Pets Get Into Illegal Drugs
- Illicit Drug Exposure (Marijuana and Cocaine) in Dogs
- How to Induce Vomiting in Dogs
- Legalize It? How Marijuana Affects Pets
- Dog Marijuana Controversy – Pot for Dogs
- High Times for Cannabis Research
- A sign of the times: Medical marijuana use and veterinary medicine. AVMA. July 15, 2013.