Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component extracted from the buds and flowers of cannabis or hemp plants. It isn‘t psychoactive, so it doesn‘t produce the high associated with marijuana. Hemp, as well as marijuana, belong to the same family of the cannabis plants and have different levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); in hemp, the THC levels are only 0.3%. CBD oil is legal for medicinal and recreational use in some states and banned in others. CBD oil and other CBD products are becoming increasingly popular among dog owners these days because CBD is considered to be helpful in treating several illnesses and promote their dogs’ well-being. In this article, we‘ll look at the benefits, risks, and side effects of using CBD for dogs.
Benefits of CBD for dogs
There are several potential benefits of giving CBD to your dog, few of them are listed below:
It may help reduce pain
According to a study, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a critical role in pain management; CBD interacts with the ECS and enables better pain management. There are several ways CBD may help in pain management, according to studies, it increases the levels of anandamide in the body by temporarily stopping anandamide absorption, which helps dampen the pain signals in the brain.
It may be an anticonvulsant
CBD is considered a natural anticonvulsant, and it is the only FDA-approved medicinal use of CBD. It may help control spasms, tremors, tics, and seizures. CBD‘s use as a natural anticonvulsant became famous when a young girl with epilepsy named Charlotte Figi was able to successfully manage her 300 weekly seizures with a CBD rich tincture. After that, research began to determine the benefits of using CBD to control or prevent seizures caused by epilepsy, and the results are promising.
Studies also show that THC and CBD may be able to help manage spasticity caused by MS and can also manage tremors and tics caused by Tourette‘s syndrome. It is not yet clear how CBD works as an anticonvulsant. Still, preliminary research suggests that CBD restores order to the brain’s neurons and enables them to fire usually, which in turn prevents seizures.
It is anti-inflammatory
CBD appears to have impressive anti-inflammatory properties. CBD is believed to interact with the immune cell receptors, and this interaction is the primary reason this compound exhibits anti-inflammatory effects. According to research, CBD interacts and activates the CB2 receptors generally located inside immune cells, which jump-start various immune responses, including the anti-inflammatory response.
Chronic inflammation is the primary characteristic of conditions like irritable bowel disease, arthritis, and MS; this inflammation can lead to immune system malfunction in which the body starts attacking healthy cells instead of the unhealthy ones. Thanks to CBD, you may be able to prevent this in your dog; it lowers inflammation, reduces pain, and alleviates symptoms of conditions mentioned above.
It may reduce stress and anxiety
CBD isn‘t just effective for treating physical symptoms of various conditions; it also deals with a variety of mental manifestations of multiple diseases such as anxiety and depression. Everyone knows that much like us, our pets also experience anxiety, get stressed, and suffer from phobias. The physical symptoms of these mental illnesses are very similar to human symptoms, even though their source is entirely different. Travel anxiety, separation anxiety, and noise anxiety are the standard form of stress that affect our dogs; these conditions bring out repetitive and disruptive behavior in our dogs including:
- Persistent and unnecessary barking
- Chewing on shoes and furniture
- Abandoning their house training; urinating and defecating in the house
The good news is that CBD may help alleviate all these symptoms by reducing the anxiety in your dogs. Research is still limited in this area, so we don‘t know for sure how CBD reduces stress in dogs, but if it works like the typical anxiety medications in it targets 5-HT1A, a serotonin receptor in their bodies. Stimulation of these receptors leads to increased serotonin levels in the brain, which temporarily reduces anxiety and fear.
It may be an antiemetic
Vomiting and nausea are common among dogs; both can be caused due to specific conditions or manifest as a reaction to treatments like chemotherapy. If this vomiting and nausea get serious, it can reduce the appetite of your dog, cause dehydration and fatigue, and lead to severe weight loss. If your dog is suffering from these conditions, you should take your furry friend to a vet. The vet may recommend a change in diet and prescribe medications like aminobenzamide, acepromazine, and chlorpromazine.
These medications are very useful for treating vomiting and nausea but can cause various side effects such as lethargy, hypotension, diarrhea, excessive drooling, drowsiness, lack of appetite, etc. So, if you don‘t want to treat your dog with a conventional antiemetic, you may use CBD to treat vomiting and nausea. According to research, it may be even better than traditional, modern antiemetic medication and may not cause the harmful side effects mentioned above. We mentioned earlier that CBD simulates 5-HT1A receptors, which leads to a significant reduction in the feeling of nausea and suppresses vomiting reflex.
It may help promote homeostasis
Homeostasis is the proper equilibrium of functions within our bodies, meaning that the biological functions are working optimally, and the body is in balance. When the homeostasis goes out of whack, that‘s when diseases and illnesses swoop in; research suggests that the ECS plays an integral role in maintaining homeostasis and regulates several bodily processes.
CBD and other cannabinoids are well-known for stimulating the ECS within our bodies, which in turn promotes homeostasis. This is the primary reason dog owners choose CBD to treat various illnesses, promote the well-being, and maintain the overall health of their furry friend.
Risks of CBD for dogs
Although CBD is considered safe for humans, the risks and safety of using CBD for dogs are not yet known due to a lack of research in this area. The FDA has not yet approved any CBD products for dogs and hasn‘t provided a dosage chart; however, anecdotal evidence suggests that appropriate doses of CBD aren‘t harmful to dogs.
There‘s always a risk of reaction when you give a new medication or supplement to your dog, so it‘s best to consult a veterinarian first, and if they approve, start with small doses. Choose the lowest possible amount of CBD for the first dose and closely monitor the effects if there are any adverse effects. Then, stop giving your dog CBD. If the adverse effects don‘t go away after 12-24 hours, then immediately contact a veterinarian.
Side effects of CBD for dogs
Currently, due to lack of scientific data, we can‘t say for sure what side effects CBD will have on your dogs, but based on the side effects that humans experience, CBD may have the following side effects on your furry friend:
Low blood pressure
If you are giving CBD high doses to your dog, then there is a chance of your dog‘s blood pressure getting low. The drop in blood pressure is not drastic, but there is still a chance of your dog feeling light-headed.
According to anecdotal evidence, CBD may decrease saliva production in your dog‘s mouth, which usually leads to increased thirst.
If you are using CBD to treat your dog‘s anxiety and the dosage is high, then there is a chance of your furry friend tired due to the calming effect.