Definition of CBD
CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found and extracted from cannabis and hemp plants. Hemp plants naturally contain higher amounts of CBD and lower amounts of THC than cannabis plants. Hemp-derived products legally can contain no more than 0.3% THC. CBD, unlike THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), is non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating so it will not affect or alter perception.
Hemp has more than 80 cannabinoids (think THC, CBG, CBN, CBC) and other beneficial plant compounds, such as terpenes, flavonoids, even essential oils. When CBD products contain all those phytochemicals (cannabinoids and other beneficial plant compounds) that are naturally found in the plant, the extract will be called full-spectrum. Full-spectrum products are superior to single-compound (just CBD, no other beneficial plant compounds) because full-spectrum interacts with the numerous naturally occurring plant compounds to create what’s called an Entourage Effect. The Entourage Effect allows those phytochemicals to work together with the body’s own endocannabinoid system, creating a variety of positive effects.
What is the ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM?
Just like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) – actually all mammals have one. The ECS makes chemicals called cannabinoids, completely independent of whether we use or have ever used cannabis before. We are still learning about and studying the ECS, but we do know it plays a major role in maintaining homeostasis.
The ECS is made up of receptors (CB1 and CB2) on cell membranes that regulate a variety of processes, including eating, sleeping, relaxation and cognition. It also assists in your pet’s overall recovery and repair processes, whether from injury or aging. The cannabinoids (CBD) interact with the endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) located in the central and peripheral nervous systems which help maintain balance in the body, keeping it in a normal healthy state. The ECS helps keep a body’s internal processes optimal and stable in the face of challenges and stress. For this reason, CBD has the potential to be helpful to a dog’s health and well-being in the same ways that it can for humans.
Dogs tend to absorb CBD a little differently from humans. CBD is best absorbed through your dog’s oral mucus membranes (think anything by mouth). Most pet CBD is available through oil products, like tinctures, and treats, like chews.
CBD Dosing for pets
Every dog will respond differently to CBD, which is why it’s important to start with a low serving size, monitor your pet’s results and gradually adjust from there. Dogs are more sensitive to CBD than humans, so they typically need lower amounts. Most products will offer dosing suggestions, but keep in mind that these are developed by the manufacturer. If you give CBD to your dog, watch for signs of a positive or negative reaction. For example, if you give CBD to your dog 20 minutes before a firework show and find them lying comfortably during the festivities when they’d otherwise be cowering under a bed, the CBD has probably been effective. Or, if your dog’s arthritis has been causing mobility issues, and after about a week of CBD. they’re able to run and jump like they used to, chances are high it’s doing something. As for negative effects, look for excessive panting, lethargy, vomiting, dribbling urine, and loss of balance. If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, they may have consumed too much. Don’t panic, they will sleep it off. Just make sure you adjust your next dosing. Give your dog CBD consistently for 4-6 weeks, at the same time of day for optimal results.
SELECTING Pet CBD Products
When selecting CBD products, it’s a good rule of thumb to look on the product’s website for “certificates of analysis” and other evidence of third-party testing. These certificates tell you things – like if products are pesticide, additive and heavy metal-free and if the quality is as advertised. The manufacturer should provide a certificate that tells you the amount of CBD that is in the product. Many CBD products contain only small amounts of CBD and you’ll want to make sure there is little or no THC.
Not all CBD products are the same, so you will want to shop organic when you can. Don’t price shop. It’s important to know the higher the quality and purity, the higher the cost and better the chance of it working. A cheaper option might mean the product could have toxic substances.
BENEFITS of Pet CBD
CBD has many benefits for both humans and dogs. It has anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impacts and possible anti-cancer benefits. It helps support a calm disposition, the health of joints and connective tissue and healthy cognition. Dog owners say it has helped treat and ease pain, especially neuropathic pain and control seizures.