CBD for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Increasing in popularity is CBD tinctures for dogs and CBD products for pets. Stirring up some confusion in pet owners who were interested. We have provided some info about legal issues, safety, research, and the industry itself.


Treating puppy arthritis with CBD oil


Reports have shown two dog owners who have used CBD with success for their dogs. In both cases, the outcome shocked them.


An owner had a 13-year-old Akita struggling with degenerative arthritis. Even though being treated, the dog had lost interest in going outside, didn't want to move, and was extremely anti-social. The owner had never considered medical marijuana for her pet, nor had she heard of CBD oil for dogs, but after finding a product called Therabis at a Pet Expo, she gave the hemp-based product a try.


The results absolutely stunned the owner. He was back to his old doggy self the very next day. Frolicking around in a playful manner. The next obstacle was the stairs and after overcoming that, he's now able to go out on four to five-mile hikes.


Treating a dog with cancer with CBD oil


An owner with a shepherd-golden mix was only four when diagnosed with cancer. This was devastating, the owner, not wanting the dog to live a painful life, scheduled an appointment to have him put down. After doing so, he started adding CBD oil to the dog's food hoping it would save the dog a little pain.


A dramatic change occurred. A much happier dog, with his appetite coming back, and a brightened attitude, the owner could push the appointment a few weeks back. Not thinking it was a cure, but just wanting to provide an added blanket of comfort.


These are just some of the pet owners who have reported marked improvement after using a cannabis product on their animals. Pet parents seek it out for a diverse array of dog ailments like nausea, pain, arthritis, seizures, and anxiety. In most cases, these products aren't even derived from the marijuana plant. An explanation is offered below.


Main Differences Between Marijuana and Hemp


It's important to understand the differences between marijuana and hemp because they contain varying amounts of chemical compounds that affect your dog completely differently. Marijuana refers to the plant’s buds, leaves, and resin. The rest of the plant is considered hemp, although that's not recognized under federal law.


Marijuana contains CBD and other chemical compounds but is known for its high levels of THC, which is the substance that causes a psychoactive effect in humans and dogs. Small amounts of THC may be helpful for some dogs, but it can be risky due to the fact it's difficult to dose and too much can be toxic.


Hemp contains less than .3% THC but has high amounts of CBD or cannabinol, which is non-toxic.


How does CBD affect your dog?


Similar to humans, dogs have what is called cannabinoid receptors in their bodies. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system. Which works to balance several bodily functions, including mood, appetite, memory, metabolism, sleep, pleasure, movement/coordination, and immune system responses.


As a naturally occurring cannabinoid, CBD is comparable to your dog’s endocannabinoids. When CBD enters your dog’s bloodstream, it binds with receptors to help stimulate and support the endocannabinoid system in bringing balance back to any of the functions if they’re at a whack.


Current Studies in Medical Cannabis for Dogs


As more states pass legalization for both medical and recreational cannabis, veterinarians are finding they need clearer answers for clients seeking cannabis as an alternative treatment for pets.


According to a veterinary doctor, the truth is that not a lot of research has been done. Due to strict legal barriers, but that’s gradually changing as more states pass laws allowing research.


A 2016 survey found that over 64% of dog owners reported hemp products helped their pets either moderately or a great deal. While that's a positive direction. Scientifically controlled research still needs to be done. So medical marijuana for dogs may be effective, but they're not entirely sure.


There are studies looking into the effects of marijuana-based drugs in treating some neurological conditions but nothing has been completed as of today.


Legality concerns in marijuana for dogs


CBD products for pets and humans, being sold even in states where medical marijuana is not legal, is confusing to most. The Drug Enforcement Agency or DEA states that marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. However, this doesn’t include the plant’s stalks under the current definition of marijuana. CBD oil derived from marijuana would be illegal, but CBD oil derived from hemp could not be. Leaving the DEA with no authority over hemp-based products. The Food and Drug Administration currently does not condone or recommend the use of medical marijuana for dogs, and each state’s laws on the subject are different.


Leaving the veterinary field divided on CBD for pets. No state or federal laws that allow veterinarians to discuss medical cannabis usage in animals. Leading to a bill coming up which would allow such consultation to happen.