The Benefits and Side Effects of Giving Your Pet Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil or Tablets
CBD (Cannabidiol)—a compound found in hemp and cannabis—has stirred up a lot of talk surrounding the medical and health benefits it provides not only for humans, but for our pets as well. Research indicates that cannabis helps dogs and cats in similar ways that it can help humans suffering from a variety of medical and health related conditions ranging from cancer to anxiety.
If you have a pet that’s suffering from any type of medical or health related condition, you’re most likely researching the different types of treatment methods. When it comes to the more holistic approach to treatment, CBD is a safe, effective option used by many pet owners. But before you make the best decision for your pet, continue reading to learn more about the benefits and side effects of CBDs for cats and dogs.
What is CBD and How Does it Differ from THC?
As mentioned above, CBD is the medical compound found in hemp and cannabis (marijuana). CBD is different from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound. Both are found in hemp and cannabis, along with 80 different cannabinoids, but it’s THC that is responsible for giving users a “high” feeling. CBDs provide the medical and health benefits of hemp and cannabis without any of the high from the THC. It’s common for these CBD’s to be derived from hemp.
CBDs & Common Medical Conditions
Like in the human medical world, CBDs can be used as alternative medicine for dogs and cats. They have been proven to help with the following diseases and symptoms:
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Anxiety and stress (like separation anxiety)
- Bowel (gastrointestinal) issues
- Nausea and decreased appetite
- End of Life care
How CBDs Work for Dogs and Cats
Cannabinoids found in cannabis or hemp interact with the dog and cat’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a series of receptors in the brain, organs, central nervous system and immune system that regulate pain, nausea, etc. Latest research reveals that the ECS is ubiquitous in vertebrates and has been discovered in over 50% of invertebrates. CBDs work more safely than some prescription medications, since – when given at proper dosage – they have no side effects that put your pet’s life at risk. On the other hand, certain prescription medications can damage your pet’s kidneys, liver or gastrointestinal tract. And, CBDs derived from hemp, do not make our pets high or sedate when dosed correctly.
Make sure you purchase your CBD products from a reputable source to ensure purity and concentration. Ask for a copy of their Certificate of Analysis (COA). Also, ensure your product is processed using CO2 and ice water as they leave no residue. Avoid those products that use hydrocarbons like butane and methane since those residues are not safe for small body sizes like cats and dogs. As an aside, the extraction process kills microbes so most COAs performed on liquid extracts do not have a microbial analysis, but solid products should have a microbial analysis to ensure they do not contain pathogenic organisms.
The correct amount for dosing depends on the dog or cat’s weight and the type of CBD product you use. Dosage guidelines will be found on the packaging. The product we carry in the store, Canna Companion, comes in capsules (dry matter) in regular strength and extra strength. It is also available in oil. Dosing is a little more accurate in the dry form, but the oil is good for really small pets or for those who won’t accept a capsule.
As mentioned above, the capsules we carry come in regular strength and extra strength. The formulations for regular strength have 3:1-4:1 CBD: THC ratios; while the extra strength formulations have a 5:1-6:1 CBD: THC ratios and a different terpene profile.
The Canna Companion oil formulations have 3.5:1-5.5:1 CBD: THC ratios and is not available in extra strength. Because dosing is not as precise with the oil, you may have to increase dosing to achieve results.
It’s also important to mention that the Canna Companion product is actually made up of many parts of the hemp plant and contains combinations of phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. All three components work to maximize the desired physiologic effect.
It’s advisable to start with the regular strength and move up to the extra strength if required. You should start to see results in as little 3 – 5 days, with significant effect in 10 – 14 days. The delay in response has to do with the individual variation for the creation and activation of cannabis receptors.
A word of caution about dosing: be familiar with the signs of CBD overdose. Even though CBD’s are a natural supplement, there is always a chance of overdose with accidental ingestion. Too much CBD product can cause your pet to become lethargic or uncoordinated for hours. There are no known long-term effects. Please contact your veterinarian if you have concerns about a possible overdose.
CBD Interactions and Risks
When considering giving a CBD supplement to a dog or cat with serious illness, such as cancer, talk to your veterinarian first. He or she can give you the right information to make the best choice for your dog. There are very few known, if any, risks because CBDs derived from hemp contain very low levels of THC, (0.3 percent or less). In fact, there is some early research that indicates CBDs have a synergistic benefit, helping pets better tolerate prescription medications similar to humans using medical marijuana to ease nausea and increase appetite during chemotherapy.
The Future of CBDs
Research continues to uncover the many benefits of cannabinoid compounds. The amount and scope of research is heating up in Europe, Canada, Jerusalem and some Asian countries. Even here in the US, where for too long we had a moratorium on cannabis research,(including hemp) an awareness is beginning to emerge on the health benefits of CBDs. Remember, hemp is not marijuana and it is legal to possess hemp in this country. What a wonderful way to support your pet’s heath!