Cannabidiol (CBD) is a household name at this point. Ever since the 2018 Farm Bill passed, which essentially legalized the farming and manufacturing of the hemp plant (with exceptions in some states), CBD has become a major source of potential relief for a multitude of ailments. Based on personal accounts and budding research is viewed as an all-purpose daily aid. One area in particular that CBD has risen to the top of is pet care. Whether it’s your dog, cat, or even horse, CBD has something to offer.
But this article is not for felines-fans and equestrians. Rather, we will be exploring exactly what CBD may do for your canine companions. Before we get into the nitty gritty of CBD’s potential benefits for your pup-pals, let’s get some background information on the compound in question.
What is CBD?
CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in plants in the cannabis genus. It is one of over 113 cannabinoids found in the plant. These are compounds that interact with our brain producing a meaningful effect. Another well-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). For many years CBD was associated with THC, and therefore remained illegal on a federal level. This all changed when the aforementioned 2018 Farm Bill factored into account one major difference between the two cannabinoids. That is, the way in which they interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in our brain.
Endocannabinoid receptors expressed by cells in our brain that can communicate with cannabinoids, causing our brain to release varying signals, resulting in equally varying effects. THC binds strongly with these receptors and produces a “high,” while CBD binds weakly with the receptors and does not result in such an intoxication. To put it simply, THC is psychoactive, and CBD is not. That being said, just because CBD doesn’t get you high doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own effects. As promised, though, we will not be getting into all the wonderful benefits CBD may offer humans. Rather, we’re going to focus on our furry friends.
What Might CBD Do for Dogs?
Much like our own brains, dogs also have endocannabinoid receptors. This means that they too could reap the rewards of CBD. While there is no scientific data that definitively proves CBD can completely treat any ailment, there is promising research in the area suggesting possible benefits.
In particular, CBD has shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. To translate this into how it may be useful for pup-parents, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may offer relief to your dog’s discomfort related to inflammation. Many owners prefer to avoid the serious and potentially harmful side effects that come with many pain medications. CBD, as an alternative supplement, comes with very little risk and may be quite effective in comforting and relieving your dog of tension and discomfort associated with inflammation. In one study, CBD oil was given to dogs with arthritis. Researchers found that there was a “significant decrease in pain and increase in activity” in the dogs, and “no observable side effects.”
Feelings of nervousness in their dogs is another issue that more and more pet owners are turning to CBD for. While our furry friends cannot communicate how they’re feeling to us, there are behaviors that suggest what they may be experiencing. Plus—and let’s be honest—it can sometimes feel like we’re more in tune to our dogs’ feelings than our closest friends! Dogs, just like humans, can suffer from a number of disorders, including PTSD, separation anxiety, and situational anxiety (think fireworks, vet visits, and traveling in a car). Common signs that may suggest feelings of anxiety in dogs include reduced appetite, excessive barking, frantic running, aggression, and restlessness. According to research, CBD may help with some of these behaviors. It may increase appetite, and have a relaxing, calming effect on your dog, thus reducing behaviors like excessive barking, aggression and frantic behavior.
Lastly, CBD research has shown that the cannabinoid may significantly reduce treatment-resistant seizures in both humans and dogs. While there is much more research on CBD for epilepsy and seizures in humans, there is promising research for its efficacy in dogs as well. A small clinical study at Colorado University found that of the dogs with epilepsy who received CBD, 89% showed a reduction in the frequency of seizures.
What Are the Risks?
As mentioned earlier, there is little risk with CBD. Given that CBD is a naturally occurring, plant-derived compound, the safety of it is relatively good compared to many pharmaceutical medications. Some possible side effects of CBD in dogs includes dry mouth or an increase in thirst, drowsiness, and a reduction in blood pressure. Some of these side effects increase or decrease depending on the dosage given to your dog. As well, you may have noticed that the side effects are related to some of the behaviors the CBD may be attempting to relieve. For instance, the “drowsiness” may be associated with the relaxing effect CBD has shown to have on dogs demonstrating feelings of anxiety. The increase in thirst may also relate to the attempt to stimulate your dog’s appetite and water intake. Overall, the list of potential side effects is a small one, and a significantly less dangerous one compared to many other options.
How Do I Give My Dog CBD?
There are a multitude of products out there, specifically catered to meet the needs of your dog. While there are CBD edible treats designed to meet your pup’s flavor pallet, many owners prefer to simply add the CBD oil to their dog’s daily food or treat. Panacea Life Sciences offers Canine CBD Oil Drops, which can be used to do exactly that. The instructions for proper doggy-dosage are right there on the bottle to make it easy for owners. Panacea also offers Canine CBD Soft Gels, which are pre-packaged into the appropriate dosages, making it that much easier! Our favorite way to feed our furry friends their daily CBD is by wedging in between a little bread and peanut butter… how will you get your dog drooling over their very own CBD supplements?