CBD is a product that has taken the wellbeing world by storm. CBD has been around a while - it was first isolated in 1940 by a chemist from the United States, Roger Adams. Eighty years later, CBD can now be found in a variety of products, and as a medication or supplement.
The discovery of CBD would eventually lead to the discovery of the ‘endocannabinoid system’ - an internal system like the cardiovascular system or the digestive system - but this system appears to regulate communication between our other internal systems, and uses cannabinoid like molecules to do it - hence, ‘endo’ meaning ‘internal’ and ‘cannabinoid’ meaning ‘cannabis-like’.
Interestingly enough, humans aren’t the only animal that has an endocannabinoid system. In fact, nearly all animals have an endocannabinoid system, so it is logical to think that animals might benefit from CBD in a similar fashion to humans.
WHAT IS CBD OIL
CBD is short for ‘cannabidiol’ and is a non-psychoactive component in the cannabis plant; it is also the second most abundant after ‘THC’ or tetrahydrocannabinol - the psychoactive component in the cannabis plant. CBD is most often derived from hemp plants, and these are cannabis plants with low levels of THC - less than 0.3% to be precise.
CBD oil is cannabidiol that has been dissolved into a carrier oil - this is typically made from palm or coconut oil, but is essentially an oil containing medium chain triglycerides (fats) that CBD can dissolve in.
With a variety of terms abound, it’s easy to get a bit confused - you may have seen products containing hemp oils, and this could mean CBD oil, it could also mean hemp seed oil. The difference is quite important - one contains CBD, while the other does not. Hemp seed oil contains a lot of good nutrients and active ingredients, but as CBD isn’t found in hemp seeds, it isn’t found in hemp seed oil.
If you are looking at a product and you can’t work out whether it is hemp seed oil or a CBD oil product, check out the company’s website and see if you can find any evidence of third party lab tests - this should indicate if the product contains CBD.
CBD Oil can be added to food, or dropped on the tongue, and can even be manufactured into a vaping mixture!
WHY IS CBD OIL GIVEN TO ANIMALS?
Due to the way CBD interacts with certain receptors in our brain, it can have a range of health benefits when included in your diet. As it does this via the endocannabinoid system, it is reasonable to extrapolate that CBD may have similar benefits for a dog’s health.
In humans, there is some evidence for the use of CBD to treat epilepsy and seizures - in fact, the only FDA approved CBD medication is Epidiolex, which is used to treat rare forms of epilepsy. Did you know that our canine friends can also suffer from epilepsy and seizures?
One study applied CBD to dogs suffering from seizures and found that, compared with the placebo group, there was a 33% drop in the frequency of seizures. There are other anecdotal reports of dog owners giving their dogs CBD, including one woman who uses CBD to calm her dog for landing and take-off when she flies.
HOW DOES CBD OIL AFFECT DOGS?
The endocannabinoid system in humans and dogs is very similar, but one major difference appears to be the higher number of CB1 (cannabinoid-1) receptors in dogs, in the lower rear quadrant of the brain known as the hindbrain.
CBD appears to be well tolerated in dogs, though more clinical studies need to be carried out in order to establish good guidelines for giving your dog CBD. In one study, two out of nine dogs included in the CBD group were withdrawn as the CBD treatment induced static ataxia - this is a coordination problem where a dog will stand rigidly but rock back and forth as if trying to move but can’t.
Dogs can experience a few side effects from CBD, some of these are shared with us! Dry mouth is a potential side effect that we share; a dog is likely to drink more water when this happens, so the symptom will appear to be increased thirst.
Lethargy is another potential side effect, this will appear as drowsiness or laziness in canines. It could be down to a dose that is too large, so trying a smaller dose may rectify this.
Dizziness could also be induced by CBD, this will manifest in dogs as having trouble standing and having difficulty staying on their feet. This could be a result of impurities in the CBD product, like additives or preservatives, or higher levels of THC - THC is toxic to dogs, so make sure to choose products without THC if you are planning on feeding it to your dog.
Seeing your dog scratching a lot more is an uncommon side effect, so if your pooch appears to itch a lot after administering CBD, then lower the dose or stop giving your dog CBD.
Some of the side effects humans share with dogs include lowering of blood pressure, upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhoea, and drug interactions. These are uncommon, but if your dog is currently on medication, then you should consult a vet before giving it CBD.
BENEFITS OF CBD OIL FOR DOGS?
CBD has been shown to address pain from a variety of diseases in humans, and there are promising indications it is capable of playing a similar function in dogs. One study conducted by Cornell University aimed to establish the effect, and safety, of CBD in dogs with osteoarthritis.
The study was a randomised, placebo controlled, blind study, indicating it to be of high quality. In the two measures of pain and activity, CBD treatment decreased pain and increased activity, and no side effects were reported by the pet owners.
According to the American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation, epilepsy is the most common cause of recurrent seizures in dogs, and the foundation recently announced a clinical trial to be carried out to study the effect of CBD on dogs with treatment resistant epilepsy.
WHAT TYPE OF CBD OIL IS SUITABLE FOR DOGS?
When it comes to choosing CBD pet products, there are a few options, much like taking CBD yourself!
You could go with a CBD oil and drop CBD into your dog's mouth - just make sure to clean the dropper to avoid transferring bacteria into the CBD oil, to maintain the high quality product.
Adding a few drops of CBD to a meal is another way to give them the CBD, this could mask the bitter aftertaste that might put your dog off! There are soft gel CBD capsules which could be hidden in a bowl of dog food too!
CBD Dog treats are also an option - a study was even carried out to assess the impact of CBD dog treats on the daily activity of adult dogs! The results showed the treats with the largest dose (5mg of CBD per kilo of bodyweight per day) appeared to reduce the activity of the dogs in the afternoon, when compared to the control group, but the lower doses showed no negative impact.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED DOSAGE?
The study assessing the impact of CBD dog treats indicates CBD doesn’t impact dogs’ daily activity at lower doses (less than 5mg per kilo of bodyweight per day) when applied over two weeks.
In addition, less scratching was observed in the dogs given CBD treats compared to the control group - so if your dog scratches a lot, or has a habit of scratching at a particular patch of skin, a CBD treat might help them scratch less!
The thing to remember about using an edible delivery method is that it takes longer for the CBD to take effect. Hiding a CBD capsule in the food is a sneaky way to get them to eat CBD, and will be a reliable fixed dose.
Dropping CBD oil into your pet’s mouth is a way to deliver CBD quickly, and would be suitable to address any sudden events that could cause your pet to be anxious - like fireworks. Stick to a low dose here, a single drop at 2.5mg may have the desired effect of reducing anxiety.
Just like us, as our dogs age they tend to develop mobility issues, depending on genetics and environmental factors. Dogs with joint or muscular issues might benefit from a Full spectrum CBD oil topical cream - as CBD applied to the skin is absorbed but doesn’t make it into the bloodstream, there is less need to worry about THC content that is found in full spectrum hemp products.
Do make sure to stop your pet from licking the applied area for 15 minutes afterwards, in order to let the active ingredients get absorbed, and prevent the dog from ingesting THC if using a full spectrum CBD product!
CBD OIL FOR DOGS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW: CONCLUSION
As a dog owner, when you have a poorly pup you want to get them back to normal as soon as possible. CBD may be beneficial in a number of these cases, and may help improve the quality of life of some of our more elderly dogs.
When you choose a CBD product for your dog, checking a certificate of analysis ensures the product is third party tested, and contains the right levels of ingredients, and doesn’t include any unwanted compounds or other contaminants, like heavy metals that could make its way into the plant as it grows.
While CBD oil manufactured for human consumption to treat issues like depression should be ok to give to your pet, going for a pet-specific product may help to ensure any extras found in normal CBD oil that could be harmful to our furry friends are removed!
The SMOKO CBD range uses broad spectrum CBD, which includes terpenes and flavonoids from the hemp plant, but with the THC removed - so if you are looking for a quality CBD product, check out SMOKO CBD Soft Gels, CBD oral drops and CBD gummies!
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