The hot topic in pet-owning circles these days is the efficacy of CBD in treating dogs with chronic pain, neurologic symptoms or anxiety. It should be noted that we are here to dispense information only gathered from research only, not patient specific CBD recommendations or dosing suggestions. With that said, here is the science and some legalities behind this burning issue.
Why can’t my Veterinarian dispense, prescribe or recommend dosing for my pet?
Your Veterinarian holds a license that is highly regulated from an organization called the Drug Enforcement Agency. The DEA still views cannabis as an illegal substance on the Federal level. Your Veterinarian may hold opinions and views about the science behind the use of cannabis in veterinary medicine; but is not legally allowed to dispense the substance.
Changes to the Law in Ohio:
In July of 2019, the following update was provided by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy“Recent changes to Ohio law (SB 57) removed hemp and hemp products containing no more than three-tenths of a percent THC from the state’s definition of marijuana. Hemp products, including hemp derived CBD (cannabidiol), can now be sold outside of a licensed medical marijuana dispensary.
SB 57 also established a Hemp Cultivation and Processing Program. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is charged with the licensure of hemp cultivators and processors.“
Why would I want to get my dog high?
First of all, your dog should not be getting high from CBD. The chemical THC is responsible for that “high” feeling. Marijuana with high levels of THC can be highly toxic to pets, you should never, ever allow your pets to access any type of marijuana.
Here is a simple breakdown of the science behind CBD (or cannabinoids) and why they may work to alleviate symptoms in our dogs.
Our dogs have receptors in their bodies that receive molecules and react in certain ways. These receptors (the CB1 and CB2 receptors) identify and accept certain chemicals which then help their cells to respond in certain ways… such as relaxing muscles, or deactivating nerves. Dogs have prexisiting endocannabinoids (naturally occurring) within their bodies that may have been “turned off” for some reason (age, trauma, illness). By introducing cannabinoids to our pet’s system in the right way, it is hypothesized that we can help our pet’s bodies switch those endocannabinoids back on. (Reference: vetgirlontherun.com)
The Marijuana or Cannabis Sativa plant contains hundreds of chemicals, including 109 chemicals that fit into the cannabinoid category. The combination and concentration of chemicals will react within the canine body in different ways. The chemical content of any crop can be influenced by several factors; including, species of plant, soil, growing conditions, drought, etc.
These are the chemicals, when used in the correct combination that may provide symptom relief in some pets. (reference: vetgirlontherun.com)
The FDA is primarily concerned with products that use isolated cannabinoids vs. full-spectrum (when you remove one chemical from the group and introduce it into the body it may not respond the same as it would if it arrived with its cohorts). Products with high levels of isolated THC, for instance, can be highly toxic to pets, and can actually turn off the endocannabinoids. For this reason, we encourage you to check FDA’s website to make sure the product you are buying is not on their “hot list”. https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/compliance-actions-and-activities/warning-letters
Everybody’s doing it…
You may have heard from a friend, or read a blog, or seen an Amazon ad pop up on your phone about how your dog can benefit from CBD oil or Hemp chews. Studies are being conducted as you read this to provide more insight into these theories. However; we encourage you to approach this issue with caution. Due to high demand in the cannabis industry, quality control can be lacking. We encourage you to request that certificate of analysis for not only dosing information, but also because it will provide information on the presence of fungicides and pesticides.
Because the active, beneficial chemicals reside on the outside of the plant it is impossible to wash the produce in order to remove any added chemicals. There are growers that rush their production by manipulating the growth cycle with these toxic chemicals in order to meet the growing demand will end up harming their customers instead of helping through the introduction of known carcinogens.
How can a (full-spectrum, organic and FDA approved) CBD product help your pet?
Many pet owners wish to use CBD oil as a replacement for other pain killers because of a perceived decrease in side effects of CBD over NSAID type pain relievers. In human studies, CBD has been shown to reduce arthritis pain, as well treat neurologic symptoms. By extrapolation, dogs may benefit because dogs have CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout their Central Nervous System. CBD could also be very effective for acute pain, easing post-operative pain which contributes to healing.
Studies have shown that canine endocannabinoids trigger relaxation responses during times of stress. Sometimes the stress is greater than their endocannabinoids can handle and we lose a screen door during fireworks, or have an extra (trembling) body under the covers during a thunderstorm. Anecdotal evidence has shown that some dog parents have been able to reduce these symptoms with Hemp Chews or CBD oils.
There is also some anecdotal evidence about the efficacy of CBD oil in the treatment of seizures and epilepsy disorders. Again, as the demand grows, so will the empirical evidence. Please check back with us for more information on this hot new area of research as more studies are published and the knowledge base on CBD products grows!