For those who have spent any time researching cannabis for dogs, and specifically cannabidiol (CBD), you might have probably found yourself wondering whether these products are safe, and even if they will offer any real benefits for your pained, anxious, or elderly dog.
The simple story about CBD is that there is not any simple story about CBD. Though CBD is 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 can be almost impossible to extract definitive information.
But we now have done our very best to stare into the Cbd abyss and take out whenever possible that will help you decide whether it may be good for your pet. As you’ll soon see, vets are put in a difficult position when talking about these items, however, you will hopefully move on out of this article with sufficient information to assist you create a more-informed decision.
Precisely what is CBD?
CBD hails from either hemp (the rope and fabric stuff) or cannabis (normally the recreational stuff). It can be simple to get, is purported to offer you many health advantages for pets (and individuals), and will come in everything from pills and oils to specialty chews and treats. Often, you will find CBD in the form of an oil or soft chew that can be given orally, although there are many items like biscuits and capsules easily obtained online. Most importantly, unlike THC (CBD’s psychoactive cousin), it won’t get your dog high.
There exists still a great deal we don’t know about CBD. More accurately, we know basically nothing definitive about CBD due to the bureaucratic minefield which is the U.S. drug classification system. Under federal law, marijuana is 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 has, for medical use. Cannabis-derived CBD is still technically illegal under federal law.
That’s as the CBD in those products originates from industrial hemp, which can be sort-of legal. (Hemp-derived CBD became “more legal,” and less murky, in the 2018 Farm Bill.) Many states allow individuals to grow (cultivate) industrial hemp, including virtually no THC. Other states don’t let people grow hemp, however it can still be imported after being grown or processed in other states where it really is legal to develop, as well as from overseas. As you can see, while the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and hemp-derived CBD “more” legal, it didn’t completely remove all restrictions. Here’s a somewhat more detailed
To incorporate another wrinkle, there exists 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 matter of debate, as studying cannabis-derived CBD is very difficult to do because of the legal classification of marijuana (see above). In addition to that the CBD supplement market, or any supplement market in fact, isn’t exactly standardized and well regulated. So it can be extremely difficult to learn what is in a hqbndb product (just how much CBD, as well as when it contains any traces of THC), the actual way it was created (making sure there aren’t any impurities or potentially-dangerous solvents left over from your extraction process), or whether or not it actually even does exactly what it claims. So the whole “CBD for dogs (and cats)” question and market is a reasonably cloudy one … but thankfully it is actually improving! (See further below for that responsible companies that are leading the charge, doing great clinical research and ensuring the safety, efficacy, and proper dosing of the products.)