6th November 2020

Disclaimer:
The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease for your pet. All information found here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from your veterinarian or ongoing medical treatment that your pet receives. Consult with your veterinarian before using medical cannabis.

 

With the increasing popularity of CBD in Australia as an effective alternative treatment option for humans, the focus is now slowly shifting to man’s best friend. Though several clinical studies have been conducted to see the effectiveness of CBD for animal use, the market is currently filled with medicinal CBD products specially made for dogs and other pets.

Understanding CBD and its use for dogs and other domestic pets would start from getting to know the basics about cannabidiol and what this potent substance is all about. Its effectiveness in humans as an alternative treatment for several chronic medical conditions can help shed light on how effective it might be for mankind’s loyal best friend. Though it is known that further research and more clinical studies are needed to prove that it is safe and effective for dogs, its promising results in studies made with actual humans and real human health conditions cannot deny its possible efficiency in treating dogs as well.

 

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, also commonly referred to as CBD, is one of the many active chemical compounds that can be found in the cannabis plant. As a naturally occurring substance, CBD is extracted for its various health benefits using methods which allow for only the purest and cleanest form of CBD to be harvested from the cannabis plant parts. There are several studies currently being done to further explore what CBD can do for the human body and now it also extends for man’s furry best friend.

As complex as the human body is, the brain has its natural cannabinoids that provide the body with its therapeutic value and CBD functions similarly. CBD is proven to be potent against nausea, effective in relaxing muscles, and beneficial in inducing sleep among patients with insomnia and sleeping problems. It is also seen as a powerful antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-epileptic.

 

How does CBD work?

Whether CBD is taken through its various forms and the different routes of administration, CBD reacts with the human body’s endocannabinoid system and pain reception. [ 1 ] As the body’s endocannabinoid system or ECS is responsible for regulating the body’s sleep-wake cycle, immune response, CBD is seen as an inhibitor or activator of other compounds in the ECS. [ 2 ]

While the ECS is the brain’s biggest neurotransmitter system, it can be easily affected by external or exogenous cannabinoids and internal or endogenous cannabinoids. The intake of medicinal CBD can directly affect the ECS’s ability to effectively do its regular functions, especially for patients with problems concerning the nervous system. [ 3 ]

 

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

Both CBD and THC are naturally existing in the cannabis plant and both are believed to have potent qualities that can be beneficial to the body. CBD stands for cannabidiol and it can be extracted from the hemp plant similar to THC, which is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol.CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical compound that is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant. As a naturally occurring substance, the administration of CBD gives a relaxing and calming feeling. Because of this effect, CBD is seen as a relaxant for muscles and even as a potent anxiety medication for patients with chronic conditions. [ 4 ] On the other hand, THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol hails from the same origin as CBD and can be considered to be from the same family. THC, however, comes with a strong psychoactive side effect when taken as it induces euphoria, commonly referred to as “the marijuana high”. It is due to this psychoactive effect that THC is listed as a controlled substance and is considered illegal in many countries all over the globe.Without the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC, CBD is seen as a promising substance to be used to battle several chronic medical conditions. As it retains the cannabis plant’s beneficial aspects, CBD is proven to be non-psychoactive and it does not alter the patient’s mental alertness even when taken in large doses. [ 5 ]

 

What are the health benefits of using CBD for humans?

For decades, the study pertaining to CBD and its health benefits for both humans and animals have continuously been promising and it seems that each study opens more possibilities into the substance’s beneficial aspects. The health benefits of using medical CBD has continued to grow ever since it was seen to be an effective natural alternative to other potent drugs in the market, especially for chronic conditions in humans.As evidenced by clinical trials and research studies, CBD has been proven to be effective in the following conditions:

  • CBD as an alternative treatment for patients suffering from seizures disorders or with frequent epileptic episodes. In clinical studies at the University of Alabama, CBD has remarkable effects in improving the frequency and the severity of seizures, both for adults and pediatric patients suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy or TRE. [ 6 ]
  • CBD as an effective analgesic, specifically for patients clinically diagnosed with chronic neuropathic pain. As the University Hospital of Bonn in Germany has studied the positive effects of cannabis-based medicine administered to patients who experience chronic pain, CBD has proven to be a possible alternative to the conventional pain medications prescribed as it is effective in managing pain without imparting any adverse effects. [ 7 ]
  • CBD used to significantly reduce anxiety, specifically Social Anxiety Disorder or SAD. In a study conducted by the Department of Neuroscience and Behavior of the School of Medicine in Ribeirao Preto in Brazil, there was a significant reduction of the patient’s anxiety as they were administered with a single dose of CBD. These patients were said to be diagnosed with generalised SAD and the results of the said study proved to be remarkable. [ 8 ]

There is a great number of clinical studies made with CBD to test its effectiveness given the different chronic conditions common with humans and its promising benefits to become a potent natural alternative to synthetically-produced medications that are prescribed for long term use. However, this scientific research on CBD is still not enough to thoroughly prove that cannabidiol is indeed safe and effective as a commercial drug to be sold out in the mass market. Especially for other health conditions, such as cancer, tumours, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes, CBD has undergone several clinical trials to prove its beneficial effect for the said disease and ailments but all evidence is still needing more studies and further research.

 

What are the health benefits of using CBD for dogs?

For dogs, however, CBD has been studied to be effective in several specific health concerns and more clinical research is currently being done to further learn about other potential diseases and health problems which it can treat or improve. Health benefits of using CBD for dogs include:

  • CBD as an alternative treatment option for dogs who suffer from osteoarthritis. In a leading study done by Cornell University led by Joseph Wakshlag, MS, DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVSMR, administering CBD oil has proven to effectively increase comfort and increase activity for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. The study has seen a direct relation to the blood levels of CBD seen present in the dog and the notable decrease in seizures and epileptic episodes for 60 dogs clinically diagnosed with the condition. [ 9 ]
  • CBD to be effective for disorders related to anxiety, cancer, and pain in dogs. Under the same team and the same university from the previous study mentioned above, the clinical study has proceeded to take a look at how CBD can help adult dogs with disorders related to anxiety, cancer, and pain. The clinical trial has proved that CBD-rich pharmaceuticals appear to be safe for use in healthy adult dogs while more studies are still to be considered to say the same for cats.[ 10 ]
  • CBD as a possible anti-seizure drug for dogs. In a recent clinical study conducted by the Colorado State University, dogs clinically diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy who use medicinal CBD have a distinct reduction in seizure episodes. CBD-infused oil was orally administered to the client-owned dogs and approximately 50% decrease in seizure activity were noted by the researchers. Further studies are still to be conducted to find the most effective dosage possible to further decrease or totally eliminate seizure activity with dogs suffering from idiopathic epilepsy. [ 11 ] According to the head of the research team, Dr Stephanie McGrath, the studies’ results and findings are indeed promising. [ 12 ]
  • CBD in pet food and pet treats can be a great source of essential fatty acids and proteins. For pets, essential omega fatty acids are responsible for good skin and fur condition and they also promote good joint function and positive cardiovascular health. Other food sources for essential omega fatty acids for dogs and other pets are vegetable oils and small fatty fish such as anchovies and sardines, yet a great balance between plant-based sources and those from marine sources is ideal for maximum effectiveness.

 

Are there any side effects or risks involved in using CBD oil?

In the past, studies have shown that CBD is considered safe in terms of not affecting the patient’s appetite, not affecting the person’s vital signs and processes, and not affecting the body’s psychological and psychomotor functions. If taken in large doses of up to 1,500 mg/day and for chronic users, studies show that the human body is able to tolerate it well without any adverse effects. [ 13 ]

The said psychoactive effects associated with THC are not present with CBD hence dog owners can be assured that they are not subjecting their pets to the unwanted high sensation, also known as the “marijuana high”, that usually comes with THC.

Can dogs safely use CBD oil?

As of now, there is no clear recommendation as to the efficacy and the safety of medicinal CBD oil as used with canines and other animals. More studies are currently being done to understand the effects CBD may have with dogs, both for short term and long term usage.

On the other hand, the holistic veterinarian and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California said that CBD is generally safe for cats. Dr Gary Richter states, “I think the bigger issue, from a medical perspective, is making sure that animals are dosed appropriately. This means that the CBD oil is having the effect you want it to have and that you are not accidentally overdosing.” [ 14 ]

Dr Richter also adds that pet owners who are looking to give their animals CBD oil should do their due diligence before buying anything on the market. As the number of available brands and products with CBD for pets has increased over the years, the market is seen as a “buyer beware kind of environment. Hence, the consumers are left to closely check products for content and contaminants. [ 15 ]

Other points to consider to ensure the safe and effective administration of CBD oil to dogs are:

  • Always pick an authentic CBD product that is made from high-grade natural medical CBD. Avoid synthetically-produced CBD products as pets are highly sensitive to toxic substances and impurities present in the food they are given, especially when introducing a new type of dog food or treat.
  • For pet owners new to CBD oil use, always start from low doses given at a slow pace or minimal frequency. Most products sold in the market do come with their own prescribed dosage to educate the pet owner of the correct amount they are to give their pet dogs but note that these may simply be just recommended doses without much evidence or research to back up the said dosage given.
  • Human cannabis oil is greatly discouraged to be used on dogs and other animals.

 

How to choose the right CBD product in the market?

As Australian veterinarians have the discretion to prescribe cannabis products for pets, note that these products currently available in the market contain very low levels of CBD. It is legally sold in the mass market with very low CBD concentrations to avoid substance abuse and to be safe from toxicity and overdose, as explained by Phil Brain who is a practising veterinarian and a proud member of the Australian Veterinary Association or AVA.  Brain also states that AVA keeps an open mind on the matter but they strongly advocate for products which have been thoroughly tested.

Finding the right CBD product for your pet is to be done diligently, as Dr Gary Richter tells pet owners. The current market holds so many products with CBD, in different formulations and various forms. Pet owners should be responsible for finding the right CBD product that is most suitable for your dog and distinguishing good quality medicinal CBD products from the hundreds available in the market.

When choosing for your pet, make sure to find a CBD product that is specially manufactured and formulated for dogs. Just like other pet treats and edible medication, this can assure pet owners that the product is free from other toxic substances, like chocolates and xylitol, which might cause even more harm. Opting for organic CBD products is safe as well, as it is free from pesticides and solvents. Specially-formulated edible products for animals also take into consideration the pet’s taste and scent preferences, making it easier for the pets to consume the medication or food without any problems.

In terms of quality, CBD products that are made with high-standards would entail more research on the part of the pet owner. As the CBD market is still unregulated, it is up to the buyers to know more about how the CBD content for the product is extracted and how much is included in the formulation of the product. CBD products which underwent CO2 or alcohol extraction are preferred over other methods that can leave toxic chemicals infused along with the extracted CBD.

In the field of medicinal CBD, it is through third-party clinical laboratory tests that CBD products can be tried and reviewed. Choose products which have been tested by certified third-party laboratories to ensure that it is safe, effective, and authentic. A good quality CBD product should always come with a COA or Certificate of Analysis and the laboratory that has tested the product should be a good one as well. To check if a CBD product is of good quality or not, try to check on the manufacturer’s website and get to know about the company’s processes.

Since there are several forms of CBD products and different routes of administration when it comes to these substances, make sure to pick the best kind for you and your pet. CBD oil can be easy to mix into your dog’s drink and food while biscuits and chews with CBD are better for pets who are used to eating treats on a daily basis. CBD capsules, on the other hand, might be a bit difficult for owners to mix or hide into the daily meals of the pets but other dogs can eat their way around it.

When in doubt, the best way to check a certain CBD product is through going onto the manufacturer’s website and through calling the company for any questions you may have. Peer

reviews are also helpful, especially when dealing with specific breeds and special health conditions of your pets.

Can veterinarians prescribe CBD oil for dogs?

Previously, many veterinarian state that there is not enough scientific data to back up CBD use for dogs and all animal pets. They are not yet allowed to discuss CBD usage and CBD effectivity for all canines and they are also not permitted to give our prescriptions for CBD use.

In California, however, legislation has paved the way for legal medicinal use of CBD and this has translated to a more open view of CBD among professionals, including veterinarians. The veterinarians and veterinary technicians practising in the said state are allowed to discuss the use of cannabis in treating dogs and other domestic pets.

On the other hand, Australian veterinarians have the discretion to prescribe human medication for dogs and other pets once they see that it is highly beneficial and effective in improving the animal’s health condition. At the same time, they have been highly advised against the use of THC with animals; its adverse effects, such as death from overdose, greatly outweigh the benefits that the treatment may provide.

 

Where can I buy CBD oil for my dog?

The Australian government introduced legislation to decriminalise the use and sale of medical cannabis in 2016.

ThoughtCloud is a popular seller in Australia for pet CBD. They have over 600 5star reviews from Australian customers.

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  • ThoughtCloud - Local Australian Shipping
  • 100% organic, non-GMO products, no preservatives, full-spectrum CBD
  • Vegan, Reiki infused
  • Third party lab tested

Disclaimer:
The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease for your pet. All information found here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from your veterinarian or ongoing medical treatment that your pet receives. Consult with your veterinarian before using medical cannabis.

 

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32358841
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604191/
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2544377/
[4][5] https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/1439.html
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30100226
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29513392
[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21307846
[9] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full
[10] https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/10/832
[11] https://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/10.2460/javma.254.11.1301
[12] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190521101450.htm
[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129319
[14][15] https://www.petmd.com/cat/care/cbd-oil-cats-what-you-need-know

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