Disclaimer: This information is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnose or treat any health conditions. If your pet is experiencing issues with their health, please visit your vet as soon as possible.
The average pet parent spends around $1,000 for vet care the first year of adoption, and another $200 a year for veterinary appointments, assuming one’s pet is relatively healthy. But if, say, your dog becomes ill, costs can skyrocket to thousands of dollars for imaging, surgeries or prescriptions. Thankfully, hemp-derived CBD is a scientifically proven and effective supplement that can help to reduce the symptoms of many common dog ailments.
Here’s what the science has to say:
The Benefits of CBD Oil For Dogs
1. CBD May Reduce Chronic Pain
A 2018 study published in Frontiers of Veterinary Science looked at how CBD impacted dogs with chronic pain from osteoarthritis. They randomly divided a group of dogs into three groups:
- Placebo group (control)
- 2 mg group (low dose for a medium dog)
- 8 mg group (high dose for a medium dog)
The researchers administered a twice-daily dose for four weeks and noted a significant improvement in pain levels and physical activity in both the CBD groups relative to the placebo group. No side effects were reported.
2. CBD May Help with Anxiety
Many studies have been completed related to the anti-anxiety benefits of CBD. A group of researchers from the New York University School of Medicine reviewed thousands of studies on PubMed and found “existing preclinical evidence” that CBD can help people and other mammals with anxiety.
3. CBD Helps Mood Without Altering Mental State
When CBD comes from hemp—a non-intoxicating fiber of the cannabis plant—it contains less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that causes a euphoric high. And that trace amount of THC can be completely removed during the extraction process. But since hemp has such low levels of THC, it will not an altered mental state.
Instead, CBD promotes a general feeling of calmness and contentment. It works by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in your dog’s body to generate homeostasis (i.e., balance) in the body.
4. CBD Can Help to Alleviate Digestive Issues
Cannabis has been used for millennia to alleviate gastrointestinal distress. A 2008 study from the Department of Experimental Pharmacology and Endocannabinoid Research Group in conjunction with the University of Naples found that one of the benefits of CBD oil for dogs is by helping to reduce bowel inflammation that causes things like irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea and general intestinal pain. In randomized clinical trials, scientists induced inflammation in the subjects’ intestines, and then used an acute dose of CBD oil to reduce the severity of intestinal upset.
Another study, published in 2011 in the British Journal of Pharmacology, found that CBD reduced the vomiting reflex and suppressed nausea. The researchers believe CBD will one day be a widely accepted treatment for chemotherapy patients.
5. CBD Helps Dogs Feel Calmer During Storms/Fireworks
A 2016 study published in the Frontiers of Veterinary Science showed that many veterinarians are now suggesting CBD for dogs suffering from various conditions, including noise anxiety. Around 45% of surveyed vets said they feel comfortable suggesting CBD to pet parents.
Because CBD can help to reduce anxiety symptoms, it can also help dogs who are particularly afraid of loud noises. Check with your veterinarian and give the recommended dose (based on weight) 30 minutes before a known event.
6. CBD May Reduce the Occurrence of Seizures
A drug in which CBD is the active ingredient was approved by the FDA in 2018 to treat seizures. Keep in mind that the FDA requires substantial hard evidence before they approve new drugs. Studies show CBD is an anticonvulsant, which can help to reduce the occurrence of generalized seizures. One CBD-epilepsy study, published in the Journal of Epilepsy Research, does note that the variability of CBD products purchased is a concern. As of now, CBD is poorly regulated, meaning products purchased from the average smoke shop or online may not contain the amount or quality of CBD stated on the label.
Overdosing is not likely a risk. But if there isn’t enough CBD in the dose, it will have no effect and you’re basically throwing money away. Do your research and be sure to choose products from a company that uses independent third-party testing to ensure you’re getting a quality product worth the price.
7. CBD Can Help Manage Mental Disorders
A 2018 review of CBD psychiatric research published in the Journal of Immunology showed that CBD has “anxiolytic, antipsychotic and neuroprotective properties,” which could help in the treatment of psychiatric disorders in humans. The conditions that CBD could potentially treat include the following, which can also appear in dogs, although they might not commonly be diagnosed as such:
- Bipolar disorder
- Social and other phobias
8. CBD Can Help Reduce Inflammation
A study published by the International Association for the Study of Pain found that CBD therapy can reduce inflammation in joints, limiting joint damage caused by inflammation. Scientists are particularly interested in CBD for arthritis because it’s so difficult to treat. But studies also show that it can help other types of inflammation.
9. CBD Slowed the Growth and Reduced the Size of Tumors
Some dogs are prone to tumors and growths. A study of brain tumors in humans showed that a combination of CBD with radiation slowed tumor growth and reduced tumor size better than radiation alone.
A South African study of patients with cervical cancer found that CBD reduced the spread of cancer and caused cancer cell death while leaving other cells unharmed. Another study, this one in mice, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, showed that CBD alone could slow the spread of tumors, also known as metastasis. This study did not, however, show any tumor reduction, so it’s important to note that the benefits of CBD oil for dogs with tumors are not well proven. However, studies are still ongoing and CBD may very well help your dog in conjunction with vet treatment.
Final Thoughts: The Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs
Many studies support the benefits of CBD oil for dogs and humans, including clinical trials, randomized studies and controlled studies in line with the scientific method. But researchers caution those considering CBD to evaluate the quality of the CBD they’re purchasing to ensure they’re getting an appropriate dose, which is based on body weight.