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Insight from Pros at CBD Methods About Cannabis Oil for Treating Dogs

September 20, 2019

Medicinal marijuana has officially been a thing for quite a while now, and there are a fair few places in the world that have made its use and distribution legal. People in need no longer have to skulk around alleys with shady drug dealers and self-proclaimed witch healers. They can go to licensed professionals and get their medicine from a safe source, in the form and amount that is best for their condition.

So, naturally, it was not very long before people got the idea that maybe weed can help pets too. After all, people are complex animals, right? Research is ongoing, and you can get a nice general overview of using cannabinoids in veterinary medicine at this link.

Meanwhile, we put together a comprehensive walkthrough with much less heavy scientific lingo, so if you feel like all those research papers are a little too much to digest, feel free to use this article as a handy starting point.

About cannabis oil

A weed plantAs the name itself implies, this oil is an extract from the cannabis plant. There are several different methods of extraction, though the most widely known one is probably the carbon-dioxide extraction process. The oil itself is derived from the flowers – the leaves that casual smokers might be so enamored with are practically useless for this purpose.

The flower of the cannabis plant has a number of trichomes, a sort of “plant gland” that contains the essential oil. This “gland” is separated from the rest of the plant, and then the extraction process is calibrated to get the right cannabinoid ratio.

Cannabinoids are the active substances in cannabis plants. The most famous ones are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the thing that gets you high) and cannabidiol (CBD, the thing that has medical use). To read more about the various uses and applications of CBD, click here. Along with these two, an average marijuana plant has a total of 80 unique cannabinoids, though, and they stack to form “the entourage effect”. In other words, they are more effective when combined than when used individually.

About using cannabis oil in dog treatment

When it comes to canine veterinary application, the oil is primarily used to treat symptoms of various medical conditions. It is not applied as a solution to any root problems; standard medical treatment is still needed for that. The symptoms that CBD oil can soothe include gastrointestinal issues, nausea, back pain, arthritis, stress and anxiety, and some seizures.

The way it works is the active substances from the oil go through the endocannabinoid system, a set of chemical receptors in the body. The cannabinoid molecules link to these receptors, and the resulting chemical signals let the brain and body deal with anxiety, nausea, pain etc. more effectively.

One major upside is that, as long as you stick to the proper dosage, there will be no damage to the liver, kidneys, or gastrointestinal tract (unlike with some of the traditional doggie painkillers). That said, research is still inconclusive, so you need to be careful. Consult with your vet before you try anything, and ask them about alternative veterinary medicine legislature in your state or county. You can inform yourself about research on vet hemp at the National Center for Biotechnology Information:

About correctly administering cannabis oil to your dog

CBD oil with seeds


As with all essential oils, the oils from the marijuana plant can be applied either topically or orally. There are some few topical treatments out there, but the typical scenario is an oral administration. This is sometimes done in combination with existing medication and traditional therapy methods.

There seems to be no significant interference between a CBD supplement and other veterinary medicines as of yet, so you probably have nor reason for real worry, though you definitely should take care not to administer too big of a dose. Always follow the instructions of your vet or licensed professional.

However, this is where we get to the cat in the bag. So far, there is no conclusive research on what makes a “proper dose” when it comes to using cannabis oil and related medicinal supplements in veterinary, and particularly canine veterinary, pursuits. Moreover, a lot of CBD-advertised products contain barely any of the substance, and many manufacturers do not remove all THC from their product.


a CDB product

In other words, there is a real and great risk of inflicting damaging psychoactive effects on your furry friend without getting it any of the much-needed benefits. Take manufacturer recommendations only from a vet who is experienced in marijuana use with dogs, and always run a thorough background check on potential oil providers.

About the potential dangers of cannabis oil in pet treatment

As we already mentioned above, the two biggest risks are overdose and “unclean” products (containing THC/ not having genuine CBD content). Depending on how much excess THC a dog’s system is exposed to, they can stay effected for days on end. The resulting issues include inability to stand up and inability to eat, even if the animal is absolutely starving. This lack of clarity is the main reason why veterinary toxicologists are generally against CBD dog treatment, at least for now.

Although lethal overdoses are not common, they have been known to happen. This is mainly due to false information about the oil cannabinoids content ratio, or due to ill-informed application. Since alternative therapy is growing ever more popular, both for humans and animals, pet owners are at a risk of unreliable cannabis sources making unrealistic promises.

If you decide to give it a try, make sure you get a fact-based recommendation from a vet with experience in this practice, and do a background check on the oil provider. You should also run their products through the FDA testing archive (publicly available on their official website). That will tell you how much CBD there actually is in there, so make sure to get yourself properly informed before you make any purchase.

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