You may have noticed a new product on the shelves at your local pet boutique or even at your vet’s office: CBD oil for dogs. In fact, you may have even heard about it from a friend as word of mouth about the success of this natural product to benefit a number of different common issues in our pets is spreading like wildfire.
But is there anything to this Green Rush gone to the dogs or is it just clever marketing hype? Let’s take a closer look.
The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabidiol
Turns out that there is actually a great deal of research that has been done on cannabis in the last few decades. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the early 1990’s began a snowballing of medical research into the properties of compounds found in cannabis, known as cannabinoids.
Turns out, the ECS has been shown to regulate a wide variety of biological systems in mammals.1 For example, research shows it plays a role in helping to regulate mood, sleep, digestion, skin growth and lubrication, pain, inflammation, and more.
It turns out that the ECS, so critical for regulating a variety of the body’s functions, is activated by the many cannabinoids found in hemp, a non-psychoactive subspecies in the cannabis family. Chief among them is cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD oil, which is found in high concentrations in the hemp plant which is now a legal agricultural product in the U.S. thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
A recent clinical trial has shown promise that a full spectrum CBD oil may enhance the treatment of seizures in dogs (see here) with drug resistant forms of epilepsy.2 And, many studies have actually begun to show that CBD may have the ability to enhance traditional cancer treatments because it may have tumor shrinking and immune boosting properties as well as playing a role in disrupting the spread of cancer through complex signaling of the ECS.3 In addition, dozens of scientific studies have repeatedly identified this safe and natural compound may reduce anxiety (see here), improve digestion and skin health, improve mobility in our senior or disabled pets, and help reduce pain and inflammation across a variety of disorders.4-7
Work with Your Veterinarian
More and more vets, particularly holistic veterinarians, are learning about the increasing amount of research available on the various potential health benefits of CBD oil made from hemp for our canine companions. Some see the potential to reduce other medications such as opioids, corticosteroids, and NSAIDs for pain and inflammation. Since these drugs can have serious adverse side effects, even causing renal failure and death in some cases, many vets are keen to find natural solutions to reduce dependency on these commonly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.8
However, it is critical to work with your vet before attempting to diagnose or treat your pet with any natural product, including CBD oil for dogs made from hemp. First, many symptoms such as dry itchy skin or a lack of appetite can be a warning sign for a dangerous underlying condition that needs veterinary diagnosis and a proper treatment protocol. Second, like other natural products, CBD oil can sometimes interfere with how other drugs are metabolized, even blocking their effect in some cases. Third, your vet can help you find the right CBD dosage for dogs depending on the specific condition you are concerned about.
Find the Best CBD Oil for Dogs
If you decide to give CBD oil a try for your dog, then make sure you do a little bit of research to find a high quality, full spectrum, and organic CBD oil to make sure your dog gets the best hemp oil that you can find.
Here is what to check BEFORE you buy:
- Lab Testing: One of the advantages to buying online versus off of the shelf is that many of the top companies these days offer third party lab testing on their website so you can verify the quality of the product before you give it to your pet.
- Full Spectrum: Many researchers of medical cannabis believe there is evidence that the various cannabinoids found in cannabis work better together as found in the natural plant, rather than when CBD is isolated. A full spectrum oil gives your pet the advantage of “The Entourage Effect.”
- Made Just for Dogs: Don’t give any products made for people to your dog! Products made for people may have high levels of THC or flavorings that can actually be toxic to our pets.
- Organic: Pesticides and herbicides can concentrate in extracts. Make sure to purchase a product that starts with organic hemp.
- Money Back Guarantee: Look for a company that offers a no hassle money back guarantee. If the product doesn’t work for your dog, you should be able to get your money back.
- Animal Welfare: Many companies today, such as LolaHemp, which makes a very high quality CBD oil for your dog, also partner with animal rescue organizations to demonstrate a commitment to animal welfare. What a great way to put your money towards a good cause!
- Pacher P, Bátkai S, Kunos G. The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy. Pharmacol Rev. 2006;58(3):389-462.
- CBD clinical trial results on seizure frequency in dogs “encouraging.” ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190521101450.htm. Accessed October 15, 2019.
- Sarfaraz S, Adhami VM, Syed DN, Afaq F, Mukhtar H. Cannabinoids for Cancer Treatment: Progress and Promise. Cancer Res. 2008;68(2):339-342.
- Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836.
- Capasso R, Borrelli F, Aviello G, et al. Cannabidiol, extracted from Cannabis sativa, selectively inhibits inflammatory hypermotility in mice. Br J Pharmacol. 2008;154(5):1001-1008.
- Mounessa JS, Siegel JA, Dunnick CA, Dellavalle RP. The role of cannabinoids in dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017;77(1):188-190.
- The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Eur J Pharmacol. 2007;556(1-3):75-83.
- Monteiro-Steagall BP, Steagall PVM, Lascelles BDX. Systematic review of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced adverse effects in dogs. J Vet Intern Med. 2013;27(5):1011-1019.