In 2013, researchers conducted a study at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. It was found that owners who gave their dogs cannabis to treat chronic pain saw a significant reduction in the frequency and intensity of seizures compared with untreated dogs.
Medical Marijuana & CBD for Dogs: Uses, Dosages, Side Effects & Safety
Anecdotal reports from the 1970s suggest that medical marijuana to treat epilepsy is not a new phenomenon. However, scientific research has been slow to catch up.
In June of 2015, the American Academy of Veterinary Neurology released a report on medical marijuana in dogs with seizures. Its findings showed potential benefits from CBD and THC-A extracts for treating refractory epilepsy in dogs.
AAN doesn’t officially recommend marijuana & cbd use in dogs
There is currently no legal means for veterinarians to prescribe medical marijuana. The AAN doesn’t officially recommend its use in dogs. Veterinarians can recommend cannabis oil treatment that includes low-THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis), hemp extract (CBD), or full-spectrum preparations with higher concentrations of THC.
But what is the difference?
But what is the difference between CBD, full-spectrum cannabis oil, and hemp extract? And how can you know which one to give your dog?
Let’s look at these standard options for using medical marijuana with dogs.
The primary active compound in cannabis that gives it its psychoactive effects is THC. However, this compound is beneficial to your dog in some cases. It’s best to start with a strain that has been bred for maximum CBD content.
In non-psychoactive strains of cannabis, CBD can serve as an antioxidant and neuroprotectant. This means it may help prevent damage from free radicals, reduce inflammation in the brain, and protect existing neurons from damage.
Think of it as putting a coat on an electrical wire that’s about to be struck by lightning. The coating protects the inner metal core of the wire and keeps it from shorting out or catching fire.
Unfortunately, these non-psychoactive strains tend to be higher CBD than THC. For this reason, many people choose to extract the non-psychoactive CBD compound from industrial hemp using CO2 or ethanol solvent extracts. This allows them to create oil products high in CBD and low in THC.
These types of extracts include:
A non-psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD has interestingly medicinal and is also known to suppress appetite.
CBD-A (acidic cannabinoids):
These are CBD compounds pre-treated with heat (decarboxylated). All raw forms of THC found in cannabis are THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid). It’s the heat from smoking or cooking that turns these compounds into THC.
Some argue that because CBD-A has been decarboxylated, it should not be considered a CBD product. Yet, others report benefit from using products high in CBD-A and pure CBD oil products to treat epilepsy in dogs.
If you live in a state where cannabis is legal
If your veterinarian recommends it for your dog, consider both CBD-A oils or full-spectrum oil products derived from industrial hemp grown legally within the United States. Look for products that contain Closer to Zero THC (less than 0.3%) coming from organic, non-GMO hemp. That way, you know you are getting the benefits of CBD without the risk of side effects from THC.
How much does it cost?
You can expect to pay around $45 – $60 per half-teaspoon. The dosage will depend on your dog’s weight and size, so always ask your veterinarian for guidance before starting any new medication or treatment.
Suppose you choose to go the CBD route. In that case, products like Canna-Pet® (use coupon code CanineJournal for 10% off your order) are recommended by board-certified veterinary neurologists. They can be given daily along with other medications your dog is currently taking. Without fear of negative interactions.
Ask your vetrinarian about interactions
If your dog is on NSAIDs like Rimadyl or Deramaxx, then you should talk to your vet before adding a new medication to the mix. Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs may increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding when combined with CBD products. Always ask your veterinarian before giving any new medications or supplements to your dog.
What are the side effects?
Some dogs may become more lethargic when taking CBD products, especially on other medications like pain killers or anti-anxiety drugs. This does not mean the medication is not working; it can be an unexpected side effect you need to watch for during treatment. If the lethargy becomes unmanageable or your dog seems not to be himself, then make sure you are slowly introducing the CBD oil while reducing the dosages of other medications. This will facilitate any negative interactions between medications and allow your dog’s body time to adjust to the CBD treatment before becoming overwhelmed with his current drug regimen.
Detoxing is not a word you will hear in conjunction with CBD. There is no need for your dog to detox from existing medications when starting on CBD products. Doctors and veterinarians recommend against it. It can be dangerous to add new supplements while giving other medicines because the interaction of ingredients may cause side effects or even an overdose. You should always consult with your veterinarian before giving any new supplements to your dog.
Some dogs may react differently
Keep in mind that some dogs may not benefit from CBD oil products either, just as some humans do not respond well to certain prescription medications or dietary changes. It takes patience and trial and error, but the positive results that some pet owners have seen with CBD can be life-changing for your dog.
By understanding the difference between CBD oil, CBD-A oil, and full-spectrum hemp oils, you will have a better idea of best treating your dog’s condition with cannabis without exposing him to more toxins or side effects than necessary.
Remember that this is only the first step in the process
You should consult with your veterinarian before using any CBD supplement, no matter the form you choose. Your vet will be able to assess your dog’s condition and determine the appropriate dosage of CBD oil. This will be based on his weight, breed, and current medication. And always use caution when giving a new supplement or medication – start slow and watch for unwanted side effects.
Remember, CBD oil for dogs is still a supplement and not meant to replace any of your dog’s current medications or treatments. Always consult with his vet first!