CBD is a non psychoactive extract of the hemp or marijuana plant. In humans, CBD can be used to treat anxiety from mental disorders, pain from chronic conditions such as arthritis, and reduce seizures in people with epilepsy. Some studies suggest that CBD can also slow the progress of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease. There is also ongoing research about using cannabinoids to treat a variety of other conditions from cancer to post traumatic stress. CBD is not to be confused with THC, the compound in marijuana that causes the “high” feeling.
How can CBD Help Dogs?
“While there are some differences in how cannabis affects pets compared to humans, they can benefit in many of the same ways people do,” says Dr. Gary Richter, the Holistic Veterinary Care of Oakland and Montclair Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Richter has been a vet for 20 years and is active in promoting legislation that will allow veterinarians to research more applications for using CBD to help dogs and other animals.
Pet owners are finding that CBD products are very helpful for the relief of pain from arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other joint aches that can reduce the quality of life in aging dogs. It’s also extremely useful to calm anxiety that may cause stress scratching and compulsive licking, barking at loud noises, and issues with separation. CBD has also been shown to be effective in treating issues with loss of appetite or nausea in dogs who suffer from cancer or other diseases.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
CBD is safe for dogs to consume in doses appropriate to the size of the dog, but it’s important to know that THC can be dangerous for your pup. Dogs have more of the receptors that respond to cannabis, so it’s easy for dogs to ingest too much THC, and an overdose can cause serious health issues such as breathing problems, lowered heart rate, and low blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Rather than using marijuana, tinctures of CBD or specially made dog treats, shampoos, and lotions for dogs can be purchased that will offer an appropriate dose that will offer some relief for Rover. It’s important to treat your dog with small amounts of cannabis at first and monitor their behavior for side effects like vomiting or itchiness, which might be a sign that cannabinoids aren’t right for your dog. The most common side effect for most dogs is drowsiness.
It’s also very important to avoid any tinctures that contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is extremely toxic to dogs.
“There is an impression that cannabis is 100 percent safe,” he said. “This is not true, especially in pets. … An overdose of cannabis can lead to loss of balance, loss of appetite and sometimes collapse. In rare cases, an overdose of cannabis can be fatal.” Dr. Richter explains.
If you would be interested in treating your dog’s symptoms with CBD, it’s important to talk to your vet about it- in many states, your vet might not be legally allowed to prescribe cannabinoids for your dog, but in most states they are able to discuss legal over the counter supplements with you.