• November 27, 2020

Is CBD A Safe Treatment for Dogs?

 Is CBD A Safe Treatment for Dogs?

Initial studies show promise for giving pets CBD. Photo of Nashville-based band Desert Noises’ unofficial mascot, by Lizzy Oakley (the pupper’s momma)

There seems to be good news for your puppies: Initial studies show promise for using CBD for pets. 

CBD has entered plenty of markets — from medicine to wellness — but it’s still not clear if this same cannabinoid can be used to treat people’s pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association (or AVMA) sought to answer that question in a recent report on the clinical use of CBD for pets, which examined product quality and the possible consequences these products can have on pets.

CBD, which is the main ingredient in many cannabis pet products, has potential to be a pain treatment for dogs, according to studies cited in the AVMA’s report. 

Researchers found a high correlation between CBD and seizure reduction, according to a Colorado State University study. Another pain-management study found dogs had a significant reduction in pain and increase in activity after taking CBD oil. Although there’s just a sparse amount of studies right now and more research must be done, the studies in the AVMA report show promising results.

While CBD could be a clinical treatment in the future, owners should be careful about another compound in cannabis: THC. That’s the compound associated with the psychoactive effects of marijuana, which is commonly found in edibles. It’s poisonous to dogs and can induce THC toxicosis. Symptoms include impaired coordination and lethargy, vomiting, excessive drooling, and a slowed heart rate. In some rarer THC toxicosis cases, dogs can also become aggressive and agitated. However, while THC toxicosis has a high rate of symptoms, it has a low rate of death, according to the AVMA report.

The lack of regulations on the CBD product market extends to pet products. And that makes it harder to trust the overall safety and efficacy of these products that are already being sold to consumers. 

Studies have also shown the actual content of products often don’t match what’s written on their labels. One study from 2019 examined 13 CBD oils for animals found that most of the labels were inaccurate compared to the oils’ actual chemical makeup. About half of the labels said there were higher levels of CBD than what was actually in the products. 

The AVMA report states that because of financial incentives laboratories are jumping at new business opportunities, which means rigorous research standards are sometimes being brushed aside in this chase for profits. The report also stressed the importance and urgency of accurate CBD product analyses.

Despite the fact that many CBD products are still untested and unregulated, there are some with certificates of analysis, and owners should be on the look-out for those if they want to try using CBD products for their pets. Or even on themselves!

Gabrielle Lewis

Gabrielle Lewis

Gabrielle Lewis is a journalist at the University of Maryland College Park. She has written and edited for the school's flagship newspaper, The Diamondback, as well as other campus publications. You can find her on Twitter @gabrielleslewis.

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