While the legal bureaucracies can be a bit of a complicated minefield to navigate, the 2018 Farm Bill was monumental in that it legalizes the regulated production of hemp, opening the doors for hemp-derived CBD products to become more available on a widespread level so long as they are compliant with associated federal and state regulations. As such, there has been an influx of products available for sale throughout the United States, with ample companies emerging that focus on catering to consumers with canine-specific needs.
The healing benefits associated with CBDare not subjected to humans only, and because humans and dogs suffer from similar ailments such as anxiety, seizure disorders and arthritis, many are incorporating plant-based products into their pets' daily routine. Due to the historically complex legality of CBD—stemming from its proximity to the intoxicating cannabinoid THC and the cannabis plant's subsequent classification as a Schedule 1 drug—studies surrounding the medicinal benefits of CBD are few and far between. However, while it is currently exceptionally difficult to draw definite conclusions of the benefits of CBD because of this, the clinical research that has been conducted shows great promise when it comes to the effects that CBD can have.
The healing benefits associated with CBD are not subjected to humans only, and because humans and dogs suffer from similar ailments such as anxiety, seizure disorders and arthritis, many are incorporating plant-based products into their pets' daily routine.
Similar to the human body, dogs (and all vertebrates and invertebrates) have an endocannabinoid system, meaning that their bodies are naturally designed to react to cannabinoids. The ECS, which helps promote homeostasis throughout the body, showcases the biological reasoning behind why consuming cannabinoids can have a therapeutic effect. With dogs specifically, their ECS is a bit different from that of humans. For example, a dog can still experience the psychoactive effects of THC but will do so much more intensely than humans. Research shows that dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans do, and if they are exposed to THC, it may yield a distressing and possibly dangerous experience as a result (depending on the amount and other factors, such as the animal's body weight). However, administering CBD, which is not psychoactive, to dogs in the form of specialized treats or oil is becoming increasingly popular even though the veterinary scientific research is in its infancy stages.
One small study—conducted by Cornell University in 2018, focused on if CBD could help dogs who were experiencing pain from osteoarthritis—found that over 80% of the participating dogs that took CBD oil showed "significant improvement in pain levels and quality of life." Other anecdotal evidence shows that CBD may help dogs experiencing a variety of ailments, such as anxiety, pain, noise phobia, inflammation and epilepsy, to name a few.
(One small study) found that over 80% of the participating dogs that took CBD oil showed "significant improvement in pain levels and quality of life."
If you do decide to give your pet CBD, it is encouraged to keep in mind that research regarding the efficacy and safety of the cannabinoid is in the beginning stages. Because of this, it is helpful to seek out other customer reviews and seek out as much background information on the company supplying the CBD-infused products as possible.
Due to the lack of conclusive information available regarding how CBD effects dogs, it is recommended to shop for a pet-specific product as this will help ensure that the concentration is appropriate for your dog. Another course of action to take is to be mindful of tracking your dog's behavior, sleeping patterns or energy level to note any significant or subtle differences when first administering CBD. For example, CBD should yield more of a calming effect than a greatly lethargic one, which is why it is important to pay attention to how your dog responds. Above all, it is important to be transparent with your veterinarian about your pet's specific issues, behaviors and routine.