Some people still can’t imagine cannabis and dogs going together in one sentence. That’s because they associate cannabis solely with marijuana —but what about hemp, the other species of the cannabis plant family? Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, so it won’t get your dog high. It does, however, carry high concentrations of CBD, the non-psychoactive compound that also comes with a plethora of health benefits. CBD is completely safe for your pet. It’s also legal in most countries, falling into the “food supplement” category. In this article, we discuss the benefits of CBD oil for dogs. We also cover various forms of administration, as well as general dosage guidelines. But first, let’s answer one necessary question.
Does CBD Oil Work for Dogs?Long story short — yes, it does. Similar to humans and other mammals, dogs have endocannabinoid systems (ECS), meaning they can respond to plant-based cannabinoids in the same way we do. CBD is the second-most dominant active ingredient in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, it doesn’t have euphoric or intoxicating properties typically linked to marijuana use. Also, CBD isn’t an agonist of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body and brain — it doesn’t bind directly to their sites. Instead, CBD modulates the activity of these cannabinoid receptors, ensuring higher concentrations of the body’s naturally produced endocannabinoids. The unique relationship between CBD and the endocannabinoid system has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety, inflammation, pain, and controlling neurological disorders — on top of other conditions linked to a poorly functioning endocannabinoid system. Dogs, too, have cannabinoid receptors in their ECS, so if your pet suffers from any ailments that cannabinoids could help with, CBD could be a natural alternative to pharmaceutical treatment.
What Medical Conditions in Dogs Can CBD Relieve?CBD oil for dogs can help with an array of acute and chronic ailments. Unfortunately, the research on the use of CBD oil for pets is in early stages, so a large share of veterinarians remain uncertain about its effectiveness. Nevertheless, reports from pet owners claiming CBD oil has helped their beloved pets and given them a new quality of life indicate that there is huge potential in cannabidiol when it comes to animal illnesses. Dr. Tim Shu, the founder of CEO and VETCBD, says that the interaction of CBD with the endocannabinoid system in dogs can provide in areas similar to humans. Let’s dig deeper into the most common conditions that CBD could alleviate in dogs.
1. AnxietyAs mentioned, CBD is a modulator of the endocannabinoid system. It can enhance the functioning of this network by making the body’s endocannabinoids more available for a longer duration. Similar to humans, dogs produce an endocannabinoid called anandamide. This molecule has an almost identical chemical structure to THC; as such, it’s responsible for many vital functions, such as pain perception, emotion processing, stress response, immune function, mood control, post-exertcise euphoria, hunger, memory, fertility, and body temperature. CBD increases the bottom levels of anandamide, therefore relieving anxiety. In addition, CBD acts on the GABA receptors in the brain, slowing down a hyperactive nervous system and relieving anxious thoughts.
2. InflammationCBD accelerates CB2 receptors, whose highest concentrations are present in the immune cells of the immune system. When CBD is administered, it bolsters the immune response of your body and reduces inflammation. Inflammatory disorders can vary from skin conditions to neuroinflammation.
3. PainA 1997 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology found that there is, indeed, a strong link between the endocannabinoid system and effective pain management. CBD can temporarily stop the reabsorption of anandamide, increasing its levels in the brain. This, in turn, dapens pain signaling in the brain, which can be useful for temporary pain relief. On top of that, CBD oil is also able to reduce painful symptoms caused by acute and chronic inflammation.
4. Neurological DisordersPerhaps the most prominent health benefit of CBD oil for dogs is its ability to control convulsions, spasms, tics, tremors, and epileptic seizures. That’s because CBD is a potent anticonvulsant. CBD has been studied in numerous areas when it comes to seizure activity as well as spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis. Current research also points CBD as a potential aid in Tourette’s syndrome due to its ability to reduce tics and involuntary vocalization in those struggling with this condition. Although it isn’t quite clear how CBD produces its anti-seizure effects, but pet owners are ditching pharmaceuticals in favor of CBD oil because systematic supplementation with CBD relieves their dogs’ symptoms without the nasty side effects of conventional treatment methods.
How to Use CBD Oil With DogsThere are a few ways to administer CBD to your dog. Although not every dog likes the distinct taste of hemp — it’s a far cry from a mouthwatering platter of bacon — smart dog owners know exactly how to smuggle the necessary amount of CBD into their pets’ routine. CBD for dogs comes in three main forms:
- Oil drops (for relatively fast relief from symptoms)
- Topicals (for skin allergies, rashes, localized pain, joint stiffness, and muscle tension)
- Edibles (for long-lasting effects)