In case you have spent any time researching cannabis for dogs, and specifically cannabidiol (CBD), you might have probably found yourself wondering whether the products are safe, and even if they will provide any real benefits for the pained, anxious, or elderly dog.
The easy story about CBD is that there is not any simple story about CBD. Though CBD is actually a non-psychoactive chemical produced from cannabis or hemp that won’t get people or animals high like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it falls into both a medical and bureaucratic black hole where it may be extremely difficult to extract definitive information.
But we have done our very best to stare into the Cannabidiol And Dogs abyss and take out as much as possible to help you decide whether it may be good for your dog. As you’ll soon see, vets are put in a difficult position when talking about the products, however, you will hopefully move on out of this article with sufficient information to help you create a more-informed decision.
What exactly is CBD?
CBD comes from either hemp (the rope and fabric stuff) or cannabis (normally the recreational stuff). It can be easy to get, is purported to offer many health advantages for pets (and people), and comes in anything from pills and oils to specialty chews and treats. Often, you can find CBD by means of an oil or soft chew that may be given orally, although there are other products like biscuits and capsules easily located online. Most significantly, unlike THC (CBD’s psychoactive cousin), it won’t get your dog high.
There is still a whole lot we don’t learn about CBD. More accurately, we know virtually nothing definitive about CBD due to the bureaucratic minefield this is the U.S. drug classification system. Under federal law, marijuana is actually a schedule 1 drug – putting it on the same level as LSD, ecstasy, and heroin. So it’s amazingly challenging to even study marijuana, and the THC and CBD it contains, for medical use. Cannabis-derived CBD continues to be technically illegal under federal law.
That’s since the CBD in those products originates from industrial hemp, which can be sort-of legal. (Hemp-derived CBD became “more legal,” and fewer murky, inside the 2018 Farm Bill.) Many states allow people to grow (cultivate) industrial hemp, which includes hardly any THC. Other states don’t let people grow hemp, but it can still be imported after being grown and processed in other states where it is actually legal to grow, or perhaps from overseas. As you have seen, while the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and hemp-derived CBD “more” legal, it didn’t completely remove all restrictions. Here’s a rather more detailed
To add another wrinkle, there is some debate about the strength of hemp CBD versus CBD which comes from the THC-rich cannabis plant. How accurate that debate is is itself a point of debate, as studying cannabis-derived CBD is extremely difficult to do because of the legal classification of marijuana (see above). In addition to the CBD supplement market, or any supplement market for instance, isn’t exactly standardized and well regulated. So it may be very difficult to know exactly what is in a hqbndb product (precisely how much CBD, or perhaps when it contains any traces of THC), how it was created (making certain there aren’t any impurities or potentially-dangerous solvents left over through the extraction process), or whether or not it actually even does what it really claims. And so the whole “CBD for dogs (and cats)” question and market is quite a cloudy one … but thankfully it really is getting better! (See further below for the responsible companies who definitely are leading the charge, doing great clinical research and ensuring the safety, efficacy, and proper dosing with their products.)