Although CBD oil is currently sold in Ohio, its use with both humans and dogs can be controversial. It’s hard to keep track of the numbers – currently 8 states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes (California, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington) and 29 states for medicinal purposes. 50 states have approved the sale of CBD oil.
You may have heard many stories on the news about marijuana and CBD oil being used to curb anxiety, cancer and more. However, it is important to note the difference between marijuana and cannabis (CBD) versus hemp for the purposes of this discussion.
Like many other products that started out being consumed by humans, it quickly spread to the pet industry. The sale of pet-related hemp products have risen dramatically with more than 1,000,000 websites now selling hemp online (including Amazon).
This begs the question: are dogs going to pot?
The Difference Between Human Marijuana and Pet Related CBD
For many years, hemp was illegal across the United States because it was lumped in with all forms of cannabis. Where recreational marijuana is legal, you can find all forms of cannabis from all dispensaries. It comes in all formats – seeds, powders, oils, brownies, etc.
Know there is a big difference between the herb cannabis versus marijuana.
Both hemp and cannabis come from the plant Cannabis sativa. The cannabis plant contains more than 80 chemicals called cannabinoids. The two main types of cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, have a psychoactive component that creates the “high” many people talk about. Veterinary products generally do not contain THC but are compromised of the pain-relieving substance cannabidiol, or CBD.
Marijuana has a THC content of 10 – 15%, while hemp has a THC content of 0.3% or less. The hemp that has therapeutic effects on dogs contains CBD. Therefore, hemp should not get your dog high.
- According to the ASPCA’s animal poison directory, marijuana — the Cannabis Sativa L.plant — is toxic to dogs, cats and horses.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana or CBD for use in animals.
- It is illegal for vets to prescribe cannabis to pets in all 50 states because of federal and state laws. There is a thin line between educating pet owners about cannabis versus prescribing a Schedule 1 drug.
- There has been no long-term research to determine the effects of either hemp or marijuana on dogs.
- Hemp products are available legally in all 50 states.
However, many veterinarians such as Dr. Greg Richter, a veterinarian in California, and Dr. Rob Silver, a holistic vet and pet herbalist in Colorado, have diligently been trying to educate pet owners and legislators on the benefits of treating pets with cannabis (not just CBD). Silver has even published a book, Medical Marijuana & Your Pet: The Definitive Guide, which draws on his research and experience to help people determine whether cannabinoid treatment is right for their animal.
The Benefits of CBD and Dogs
A few studies have shown that CBD can relieve ailments in dogs caused by:
- Anxiety and Stress
- Back pain
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Lack of appetite
What are the risks? Dosage is key. As with any medication, pet parents should consult their veterinarian first before treating their dog with cannabis oil. Unfortunately, there has been no research to determine the exact dosage for CBD oil in dogs.
How should it be administered? The most common method is through a tincture or oil sold in a small bottle that comes with a dropper, and is recommended for use by the drop or milliliter and spread on a dog’s tongue.
Proceed with Caution
At Greg Knows Dogs, we are dog trainers not veterinarians, so understand we are not dispensing medical advice. Instead, with all the conflicting research, it’s important to educate yourself. Whatever you decide to do, start very slowly with CBD oil to not endanger your dog. And marijuana itself? We’ll cover that in the next blog.