It is now well-known and accepted in mainstream society that cannabis is more than mere Devil’s Lettuce - it is a powerful, sustainable, and versatile plant with countless uses, whether for food, medicine, or recreation.
The science behind the therapeutic effects of CBD for both humans and pets is related to the endocannabinoid system (and the cannabinoids that interact with it). The endocannabinoid system (ECS) exists in virtually all living organisms, from nematodes and sea urchins to reptiles and fish. This system is present throughout all tissues and consists primarily of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2 - though there are likely more yet to be discovered) and endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids (meaning a cannabinoid produced naturally inside the body) work in reverse (e.g., releasing from the post-synaptic vesicle and binding to the pre-synaptic vesicle) compared with other neurotransmitters like serotonin or dopamine, acting as ‘flow-control mechanisms’ or master regulators. In essence, the ECS is the main network that maintains homeostasis of all physiological processes. Unfortunately, due to unknown reasons (environmental toxicity is a likely culprit), many of us (and our pets) do not produce sufficient levels of endocannabinoids, contributing to a poorly functioning ECS.
Many experts now believe a less-than-optimal ECS to be the root cause of many chronic conditions, such as:
Dogs and cats often suffer from this same lack of endocannabinoids, contributing to issues like separation anxiety, skittishness (from fireworks or interacting with other animals), and joint pain/lack of mobility. As a last resort, some pet owners turn to potent prescription medication (trazodone, for example) to contend with these challenges, but unfortunately, these medicines often come with long lists of side effects.
The Science Behind CBD for Pets
CBD is gaining well-deserved notoriety for its ability to quickly assist with common dog and cat health challenges - without significant side effects. But don’t take our word for it; look at the results from these studies:
CBD and THC, two of the 150+ cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis, are nearly identical to endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-AG that exist as part of natural bodily function. This means that using CBD Oil can help to restore sufficient levels of the body’s cannabinoids, thus restoring balance to the entire organism.
THC vs. CBD for Dogs + Cats
THC is the cannabinoid known for inducing a ‘high,’ and it is generally ill-advised to give this molecule to your pet. However, minuscule doses of THC administered alongside other cannabinoids (CBD, CBN, CBG, CBC, etc.) create a powerful and scientifically-documented phenomenon known as the entourage effect.
This term describes the synergy achieved by using the full spectrum of phytonutrients contained in hemp rather than isolated cannabinoids. Unfortunately, CBD Isolate is the most common type of CBD given to pets, but it is only marginally effective.
In addition, Dr. K’s CBD contains omega-3 fatty acids, which supply raw building blocks for the body’s production of endocannabinoids (in addition to a laundry list of other health benefits).
If you decide to offer CBD for your clients’ pets, make sure to ask for the company’s Certificates of Analysis - doing this will enable you to verify the presence of a wide spectrum of cannabinoids, as well as the absence of common contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, and residual solvents. Don’t feed Buster poison CBD because you didn’t do your due diligence.
CBD Dosage for Pets
Dialing in the right dosage for a pet’s CBD regimens can take time, but don’t fret - the worst-case scenario if a dog/cat is given too much is a bit of fatigue or maybe diarrhea. CBD is very safe and has been used in clinical trials at very high doses for extended periods of time without any dangerous or lasting adverse effects.
At the moment, the scientific literature suggests 2.5mg CBD per kilogram of body weight. For example, the average medium-breed dog is between 10-25kg, so that would mean a starting dose of 25-62mg.
Have your clients observe their pet’s behavior after each dose and adjust accordingly - if they suddenly drop into a deep sleep for several hours, they took too much. On the other hand, if the pet seems to be experiencing no relief from their symptoms, have them give a bit more the following day.
- Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs, 2018
- Use of cannabis in the treatment of animals: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials, 2022
- Effect of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Canine Inflammatory Response: An Ex Vivo Study on LPS Stimulated Whole Blood, 2021