All animals with a spinal column have an endocannabinoid system, or ECS, in their body. Many scientists believe the system evolved around 600 million years ago and continues to exist to this day. This primordial system was first discovered in the 60s after several pieces of research were carried out to determine how cannabis affects the body. In summary, the ECS is largely responsible for the body to “relax, sleep, eat, forget, and protect.”
CBD for Dogs: The Science
The system does this by maintaining the body’s homeostasis- state of equilibrium – through a network of receptors spread out around the body and predominantly present in the immune system and central nervous system. Cannabinoids are the messengers that relay the instructions of the ECS to the rest of the body by binding to certain receptors to either activate it or prevent it from activating.
Most studies done about CBD primarily focused on its effects on humans rather than animals. Although animal models have been used in the research, the results of the studies are mainly in the context of CBD’s effect on humans. But the tide seems to be turning. We are seeing an explosion of studies that aim to explore CBD’s effects on animals, pets in particular.
- A study in 2016 by Dr. Stephanie McGrath involving dogs with poorly managed epilepsy and osteoarthritis revealed that 89% of dogs that were given CBD saw a reduction in the frequency of their seizures.
- A study led by Dr. Joe Wakshlag, an associate professor and section chief nutrition at Cornell University, determined the efficacy of CBD oil in managing pain in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.
- Dr. Dawn Boothe of Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine is currently exploring CBD as a treatment for epilepsy in dogs.
All these studies, among others, all suggest that CBD could be a potential treatment for the various ailments that dogs suffer from. But without clinical research support, establishing dosing and effectiveness will remain elusive and out of reach.
Still, many dog-owners still advocate that CBD products – like cbd oil, tincture, and pills – provide benefit to their four-legged companions. Dispensaries around the world have started marketing certain CBD products as safe for use on animals.
When giving CBD for dogs, the dosing can depend on their size. There are different oils that have different concentrations of CBD and it’s important that a vet is consulted before giving one to a pet dog.
Choosing the best method to administer CBD to your dog depends largely on your pet’s temperament, eating habits, as well as their illness. An important factor to consider is that a dose of CBD oil is not the same dose you would give to a child. A common recommendation would be to start with the smallest dose possible and observe how your dog reacts to it. You can slowly increase the dosage every 3 to five days until you achieve the desired results.
CBD for Dogs Risk Factors
Like all medications, CBD oil has a myriad of risk factors that dog owners should be aware of in medicating their pets. For one thing, most experts recommend giving dogs CBD without any THC. Things to look out for include:
- Abundant saliva
- Abnormal behavior