Marijuana and its byproducts are becoming legalized across the country which means people are beginning to see a lot of new hemp products hit store shelves. Some of the products are marketed to pet owners and tout a lot of benefits, but how can you know what is safe for your pet? Unfortunately, most of the information available online may not be entirely reliable as veterinary research has been limited until recently. Most of the published studies have been conducted on humans and lab rats leaving many pet owners with a lot of questions regarding CBD for dogs. Fortunately, Canna-Pet® has dedicated ourselves to developing high-quality CBD products that are veterinarian recommended and can make a positive difference for your pet.
Here is the ultimate guide to CBD for dogs and other pets to help you wade through the vast amounts of information available on the internet. We’ll help you understand what CBD is and how to use it safely with your pet.
What is CBD?
CBD is scientifically known as cannabidiol and can be derived in a variety of ways. The first is hemp products which have been popularized as a fabric-like material but can actually be sold as capsules and oils as well. The other form of CBD products is sold as cannabis, the highly publicized recreational drug which also contains THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the chemical compound which gives users the effect of being high that is most frequently associated with cannabis products. However, CBD does not produce this effect on its own, which is why so many consumers have been compelled to try CBD products.
Though, as mentioned previously, there is a lot of misinformation about CBD products and their effectiveness currently circulating, leaving many dog owners with lingering questions. This is a result of CBD products not being regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so there are no set standards for the products and the claims manufacturers can make about them. This is why it is important for you to have a deep understanding of CBD and those products which contain it in order to be able to make an informed decision when choosing who to purchase from. After all, you are entrusting the health of your pet to these brands.
Like many CBD products on the market, Canna-Pet® uses industrial hemp to make our products. This is a legal substance which provides all the benefits of CBD while eliminating the risk of trace amounts of THC.
A Brief History of CBD
The history of CBD began in 1940 when Roger Adams, Harvard alumni and a prominent organic chemist at the University of Illinois, successfully extracted CBD from the cannabis sativa plant. However, it wasn’t until years later that he and other scientists realized what he had done and began researching the possible benefits of CBD. Following in the footsteps of Adams, a man named Walter S. Loewe conducted some of the most well-documented experiments regarding CBD in 1946. He focused on the effects of cannabinoids THC, CBD and CBN (cannabinol) on rabbits and mice. His results revealed that THC caused catalepsy, a type of induced trance, in mice and a “central excitant action” in rabbits but that CBD did not appear to produce observable effects on behavior.
It wasn’t until 1963 that Israeli scientist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified CBD’s chemical structure in his laboratory at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And in 1964 he discovered the structure of THC as well. Because of this contribution, Mechoulam is most often recognized as the godfather of modern cannabis. Without his discoveries, you would have no idea that THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana, or that CBD is a non-intoxicating compound with hundreds of medicinal benefits. In the late 1960’s, Mechoulam began testing his newly-found cannabis compounds on primates. Fortunately, it didn’t take him long to realize that THC, not CBD, was the one that was responsible for causing the sedated, intoxicating cerebral effects of the cannabis herb.
Mechoulam continued his research on the effects of these compounds throughout the next several decades. The highlights included a cannabis tincture released for medicinal use by the British Pharmacopoeia in the mid-1970’s as a result of his research and his largely unnoticed publication on the medical uses CBD for epilepsy in the 1980’s.
When it comes to the recent history of CBD, there are a few notable milestones which have led us to the current state. By 1996, California was the first U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana. But it wasn’t until 2013 when the Charlotte Figi story surfaced that the medical benefits of cannabis, and specifically CBD, became more widely recognized. Figi made headlines across the globe when her care team found that she could manage her 300 weekly epileptic seizures by using a tincture made from CBD rich cannabis. Then the 2014 legalization of medical CBD in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin represented a landmark moment in the history of the cannabinoid.
This moment marked the first instance that CBD was legally recognized in a state where medical marijuana was not legal. Finally, in 2016 and 2017, critical steps were taken for CBD to potentially become the first cannabis substance to obtain federal acknowledgment. As of this writing, no form of cannabis, including CBD, is recognized or approved by the FDA. Approval by the FDA would be a substantial landmark in the progression of CBD research, as it would open up a wealth of federally-backed funds to initiate further studies on its effects.
How Does CBD Work?
Before addressing the safety of CBD for pets, it is important to recognize and understand how the substance operates within the body. CBD interacts with the body through what is referred to as the endocannabinoid system. This system is a series of neurons that run throughout the body and have receptors for cannabinoids to bind to. These receptors are found throughout the body in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. Depending on the location, the endocannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis. Homeostasis is the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment. It is possible for the body to have a deficiency in the natural production of the cannabinoids which usually attach to these receptors. When this system is out of balance, the person (or pet) may suffer from a wide host of emotional and physical ailments.
Is CBD Safe for Pets?
Fortunately, humans are not the only species known to have this endocannabinoid system in place. In fact, any animal with vertebrae has an endocannabinoid system. This includes dogs, cats, horses, rodents, and rabbits. As previously discussed, a few of these species, like rodents and rabbits, were even used in early research on the effects of CBD. However, you should always consult with a holistic veterinarian before introducing new supplements into your pet’s daily regime or diet to eliminate the possibility of any potential problems.
CBD Products: The Basics
There are a number of products available for pets, the majority of which are specifically formulated for cats and dogs. These products can come in a variety of forms, each with their own pros and cons. You will ultimately need to decide what the best option is for you and your pet.
CBD Oil & Tinctures Maybe the most popular form of CBD available, CBD dog oil is produced in two distinct forms. CBD Isolate is pure CBD with no additives or extra ingredients included in the formula. Some consumers prefer isolate to other options as they want to limit the possibility of additional side effects that would occur as a result of those additional ingredients. However, oils typically have to be placed directly into your pet’s mouth making them more difficult to administer. Full-spectrum CBD oil, on the other hand, includes additional ingredients which can enhance the CBD’s effect on anxiety, pain, and other problems. The result is what is known as the entourage effect. These solutions, specifically designed for oral consumption, are typically sold in a dropper bottle as a liquid which contains a small amount of hemp infusion. Their primary benefits are that they can be used as an additive to foods or drinks, making it an effective solution for pets. The dropper allows you to easily control the dosage as you simply add it to their food or water for consumption.
CBD Capsules CBD can also be obtained in a capsule form that is orally administered to your pet by either placing the capsule in a pill pocket or food your dog will consume or open the capsule and pour the powdered substance over his food. CBD dog pills are not usually any better or worse than oils/tinctures and will ultimately come down to a personal preference
CBD Treats The last option for pet consumption are chewable CBD dog treats or biscuits. However, depending on the product you purchase, these products may be less effective than other options. You may also find CBD treats limited to traditional household pets like cats or dogs. If you choose to purchase these treats, pay close attention to the ingredients and dosage listed on the packaging.
Selecting a Product
In addition to choosing the type of product you want to use with your pet, you must find a reliable and trustworthy brand or company to purchase from. When it comes to adding any supplement to your pet’s diet, quality matters. As the popularity of CBD continues to increase, there are a number of products hitting the market that may not be healthy or safe for your pet. In order to ensure you are purchasing the best possible product, look for these qualifications:
- Organic Any CBD product you purchase should be marked as organic and free from pesticides or other additives which could be harmful to your dog. At Canna-Pet® all of our products are organic, plant-based, non-GMO so you can give them to your pet with total confidence and peace of mind.
- Independent Lab Results The company should have published lab results that verify their effectiveness and/or ingredients. It is also a good sign if their products are backed by multiple veterinarian recommendations.
- Pay Attention to Price When it comes to CBD, you get w