CBD Oil for Dogs: Is It Safe and Effective?

There is quite a bit of buzz about the therapeutic use of CBD (or cannabidiol) products for pets these days. With the rise of marijuana derivative products for humans, a slew of pet products has since exploded onto the market - but are they safe and effective? Let's look at the current state of this controversial topic for pet owners.

What is CBD Oil and How is it Different than THC?

According to Leaf Science, “Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main ingredients in the marijuana plant. Both CBD and THC belong to a unique class of compounds known as cannabinoids.”

THC is well known to have the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that provides recreational users with a “high”. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce a high and is of wide interest to the medical community due to potential therapeutic benefits.

One of the most popular forms of cannabis for dogs is CBD oil. The cannabis oil is liquid derived from the marijuana plant.

FDA testing has shown that many CBD products contain little, if any, CBD. They state that many products tested "were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain. It is important to note that these products are not approved by FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease. Consumers should beware purchasing and using any such products.”  Because these products are considered supplements, there is little to no regulation or testing requirements.  It's a "buyer beware" situation.

What are the Uses of Cannabis Oil for Dogs?

At the present time, there is anecdotal evidence and testimonials of dog owners using CBD oil for a variety of health issues, including epilepsy, osteoarthritis, cancer, nausea, and arthritis. Unfortunately, without rigorous scientific studies, veterinarians cannot determine the effectiveness of cannabis oil for dogs, nor can we determine safe dosages. Without FDA approval and regulation, it is impossible to determine the potency of these solutions.  

Thankfully, due to recent changes in the way the Hemp plant is classified, it's becoming easier to study the uses of CBD.  There are numerous clinical trials underway currently and some good data to support the use of CBD for treatment of osteoarthritis.

A Professional Veterinary Stance on the Use of Cannabis Oil for Dogs

While we are still waiting to learn more about potential use for CBD in our pets, we do carry a few products that we have researched and feel comfortable recommending.  We currently use and recommend Ellevet's Calm and Comfort Chews for situational anxiety as well as Ellevet's Mobility Formula .  We have used these products for several months now and feel comfortable with their safety and efficacy.

CBD Oil - Marijuana Dangers to Your Pets

What To Do If Your Dog Ingests Marijuana or Marijuana Edibles

With the legalization of marijuana in many states (Maine included!), veterinarians have seen an increase in the number of marijuana toxicity cases.

Marijuana poisoning most commonly occurs as a result of oral ingestion. Dogs especially enjoy the taste of marijuana and will often eat any form they can get their paws on, including buds, plants, joints and even baggies. Of course, this list also includes baked goods containing marijuana, such as cookies or brownies.

While pets suffering from marijuana poisoning may look and act like inebriated humans, it is important to remember that they are not having fun. They are extremely anxious and neurologically impaired. If a pet eats an edible, it is even more imperative to seek medical treatment., as these products often have large amounts of THC which can be fatal in pets.

To reiterate, if your pet has ingested marijuana, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately.

While many pet owners are embarrassed to admit that their dog ate marijuana, it is very important to be upfront about marijuana poisoning as the signs of toxicity so closely resemble many other neurologic conditions. Keep in mind that we cannot effectively help your pet if we do not know what we are treating.

Remember that our priority is your pet's well-being. Veterinarians are not obligated to report cases of marijuana toxicity to the police and have no interest in pursuing any legal action against you.

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