WILL CBD HELP MY DOG OR CAT?
By Keith Mansur
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has become a widely used product for treating an ever growing variety of ailments and problems, not just for people, but also for pets! A molecule found in cannabis, CBD has become the major component hemp growers are looking to extract from their crops. With the Hemp industry booming, it is now available widely both online and in most states over the counter.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the molecule in cannabis that makes you high, CBD has no psychotropic effect. In recent years, research has found CBD to be an effective medication for people. It gained popularity for treating seizures, as CNN featured in WEED, a series on cannabis hosted by Sanjay Gupta M.D.
Much as with humans, pets are believed to benefit from pain relief from CBD. It is known to prevent seizures and it has also been used by many to reduce anxiety, like the stress caused by fireworks for dogs or car rides for cats.
If you go online and do a search on “CBD for pets” you will find a lot of products available for purchase. Thousands of products from all over the world are available to choose from. The information is hard to digest. It can be overwhelming and the information can confusing and hard to manage.
How do you know what to buy and from who? How do you know if it’s safe? What dosage should be used and for what ailments will it work? These are all good questions, and you likely have others. Lets provide you some simple ideas to help guide you.
Knowledge Is Power
There is one major problem with using CBD as medication for your pet. Since most Veterinarians either wont, don’t, or aren’t legally allowed to discuss cannabis products for your pet, you will need to arm yourself with the knowledge by doing some research. There is a lot of bad information out there but there is a lot of good information, as well.
It’s okay, you can do this! The internet is a powerful tool when used correctly. Just be smart and check sources. You can probably trust the ASPCA or PetMD, but they will have limited information on cannabis for treatment (but plenty for cannabis THC overdoses). However, you probably should not give a lot of credence to an article that claims CBD is a “cure” for an ailment. And what if the article is also hosted on a CBD company website and, on top of that, promoting the use of their product in the article? Not a good choice for gathering factual information.
But, not all articles on websites that are hosted by CBD companies are biased. Though no reputable company would claim that CBD cures anything, if a company offers well researched articles that have bona-fide links and quality information, it may be quite helpful and useful to the reader (like this article).
Will It Help?
Start with the ailment or reason you are considering CBD cannabis treatment for your pet. Is it for treating anxiety? Pain? Seizures? Search the web for information regarding treatment and look for reputable articles specific to your pets needs.
You can find information from Consumer Reports, the ASPCA and other articles written or sponsored by a CBD company, which are not always reliable, but can sometimes offer anecdotes of specific results that could be helpful with your pets situation.
There are not a lot of studies yet using cannabis on animals, especially CBD, so anecdotal evidence will be a lot of what you find. However, there is a study being conducted by the AKC and ColoradoState University to study CBD for use on treatment-resistant epileptic dogs.
How Much Do I Give?
Dosage guidelines will vary a lot. You will need to check to find out what people are giving their pets and what effects it has. A very small pet will need less than a very large one. There are also potency differences between products.
“The dosing guidelines can vary widely because the concentration of CBD varies [in the products],” Caninejournal.com explains on their website. “The dosage can also differ depending on the condition you’re trying to treat.”
Typically, clinicians advise patients, whether dogs or cats, to start with a very low dose and increase it slowly until the desired effect is achieved. A good starting point, as is recommended by a number of veterinarians, is 0.2 mg of CBD per pound of weight, or 1 mg per 5 pounds. Products may provide supporting charts and recommendations, but be cautious as you begin.
Where Do You Get It?
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, Hemp products are considered legal and are being shipped to every state in the country, and even overseas. Years ago, most CBD products were imported and contained very low amounts of CBD derived from hemp stalks and leaves. Since Hemp has started to take off in the United States it has be grown for flower almost exclusively, not fiber or seed, and the CBD levels has improved. Older industrial hemp cultivars, such as finola, have lower CBD levels below 10%, but new strains can be over 20%.
Make Your Own Oil.
If you can get high quality hemp flower from a reputable grower or supplier, you can make your own oil and save a lot that way. The process of making your own CBD oil from flower is pretty simple. The big advantage is you will know where the flower came from and can be assured its of high quality and pesticide and mold free. Many companies sell oil and extracts made from moldy cannabis, so look for fully tested flowers for potency, pesticides and mold.
Many low quality products are around, make from stalks and leaves, so research your sources. A few tips for your search:
Try to buy product produced in legal US cannabis markets. They have more developed markets and growers producing a lot of hemp flower. If you in legal states, shop there!
Check reviews online and on social media. Extremely low reviews could spell problems with product or service. If the company takes the time to answer reviews, both good and bad, that can show a responsive company concerned about their product.
Look for Organic. If you find a product that is organic, that is good. Unfortunately, organic designation on cannabis is not well defined. Get a pesticide readout on it if you can.
You get what you pay for. Basically true, in life and in cannabis. Remember, cheap CBD Oil is usually low quality CBD Oil.
Grain Free CBD Dog Treats
• 1 1/2 cup coconut flour or almond flour
• 1/2 cup natural peanut butter or nut butter of choice•
4 organic eggs• 1/2 cup CBD infused oil (see recipe here)
• 1 cup + 2 tbsp pure pumpkin puree
• 1/3 cup shredded carrots
• Preheat oven to 350
• In a mixing bowl: combine all ingredients and form dough into a ball
• Roll out dough in between two sheets of parchment paper
• Gently use your desired cookie cutters to cut and lift cookies into ideal shape
• Transfer to a lined baking sheet
• Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are hard
• Let cool completely before serving
*If dough is dry, add an additional egg
Studies have shown that CBD is safe at low dose in humans but is not well studied in dogs and cats. There are other cannabinoids, including CBC, CBG and THC found in industrial hemp. These are just at small amounts so they are not considered a major factor, and the THC level is below .3%. But, all pets are different and the products are diverse, so be cautious when administering it.
CBD is also found in high THC cannabis (over .3%), or “marijuana”. If the CBD used was derived from high THC marijuana, it will likely have higher amounts of THC. Dogs and Cats are especially susceptible to THC poisoning so even a very low dose can be detrimental and higher doses can be fatal. You can find more on marijuana toxicity in pets here.
If your pet seems to have a negative reaction to any cannabis product or medicine, discontinue use immediately and contact your veterinarian right away.