CBD for Dogs – A Beginners Guide

CBD products are being talked about more and more. There are many high-quality studies that report enormous benefits to both animals and humans. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of fear around CBD due to its association with cannabis and marijuana. 

This article will give you all the information you need, in order to make an informed decision about whether or not you want to use CBD products for your dog.

CBD For Beginners

The National Institutes of Health clinical trials database shows more than 160 trials involving CBD, that are either active or recruiting. 

Before we can think about using any drug or therapeutic intervention, we must be assured that:

  • These products are legal, safe, and effective for treating medical conditions in humans and animals. 
  • The packaging displays correct information regarding the dosing, component concentrations, potential side-effects, and correct use.

Until the FDA approves CBD for use in medical treatments for humans and animals, there are major concerns around the quality of the products currently being produced and sold to consumers.

That said, many vets are being asked about the benefits of CBD products, and some holistic vets have already used CBD, with good effect.

We need to take a good look at how CBD is produced.

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis, strictly speaking, is a plant, Cannabis Sativa. Cannabis and marijuana are terms that are often used interchangeably. This is incorrect, they are not the same thing. The Cannabis Sativa plant has over 540 substances. Over 100 of these substances are known as Cannabinoids. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the dominant cannabinoids.

THC is the substance in marijuana that causes people to become euphoric and ‘high’.

CBD does not alter a person’s mental state.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana refers to parts of the Cannabis sativa plant that contain substantial amounts of THC. Marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is the part of the plant that contains 0.3% or less THC content by dry weight.

So, marijuana contains much more THC than hemp, while hemp has a lot of CBD.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the two main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. 

CBD is known for having health benefits for humans and is used widely in the field of medicine. There are many research studies being carried out on CBD, both for human use and companion animal use. 

Is CBD Legal?

In December 2018, The Farm Bill was passed. This federally legalized the production of industrial hemp for the extraction of CBD.

Despite this, CBD is not legal in all 50 states. States have different laws at this time, and not all processes of CBD extraction are legal.

Do Vets Recommend CBD For Dogs?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “under current federal and state law, veterinarians may not administer, dispense, prescribe or recommend cannabis or its products for animals.” 

What Is CBD Used For?

Some of the conditions which are known to improve with CBD are; osteoarthritis pain, chronic pain syndromes, anxiety, seizures and epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, inflammatory bowel conditions, and tumor size reduction.

Anxiety in dogs can be caused by many stressors, including;

  • Loud noises
  • Storms, lightning, and thunder
  • Separation anxiety
  • Unfamiliar people and places
  • Other pets 
  • Car rides

Is CBD Regulated?

No, not yet.

Regulation of a therapeutic product is absolutely necessary and takes the guesswork out of whether or not the product is a viable option for you or your dog.

  • How do you know if you are purchasing a good quality product?
  • How do you know if you are giving the correct dose?

More high-quality research is required with appropriate clinical trials before the FDA will approve CBD as a medical therapy. Until that time, these products are not regulated.

Some products currently available on the market are labeled inaccurately with respect to both the identity and amount of active ingredients found within the product.

A 2017 analysis of 84 CBD products sold online found that 26% contained substantially less CBD than the label indicated, and 43% contained substantially more.

Final Thoughts

It’s vital that the research continues into this important issue. It’s the only way to know what doses, frequencies, and concentrations should be administered to our dogs.

Without FDA approval for these products, manufacturers don’t have to comply with any rules and regulations. There are multiple instances throughout human history, where unregulated drugs, foods, and potions have been given, with catastrophic outcomes.

Your vet will certainly know if, and when, this promising natural product is approved for use.

Author Bio: Laura Horton, MSc. is the founder of Hound101.com, a website that helps you to be your dog’s best friend. She is also a registered health professional with many years of experience in diagnostic imaging, teaching, and health research.

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