August 09, 2020 5 min read
Legal in the U. S. since 2018, the potential health benefits of CBD have been the subject of extensive scientific research. In humans, CBD can reduce seizures in patients with rare forms of epilepsy. It is a potent anti-inflammatory, balances anxiety and depression, fights cancer and tumors, and has neuroprotective properties that can benefit the brain. CBD works by activating specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Discovered about 25 years ago, the ECS stretches from head to toe. It is involved in memory, mood, appetite, sleep, metabolism, and immune function. It helps balance these systems and promotes homeostasis throughout the body.
The ECS is not unique to humans. All animals besides protozoa and insects have this system. The anatomical location of CB1 and CB2 receptors can be different, especially when comparing dogs and humans. However, the ECS performs the same balancing function in mammals and other animals as it does in people. Industrial hemp plants contain as many as 100 natural cannabinoids that balance and activate the endocannabinoid system. Full-spectrum CBD oil for pets includes cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids to promote homeostasis. CBD is one of many plant-based molecules that activate the endocannabinoid system. Other plants that engage the ECS include:
Most of these are ingredients you do NOT want to give to your pet! Luckily, veterinary research shows full-spectrum CBD is safe for pets. As with humans, animals with poor liver health should not take CBD without careful monitoring by their veterinarians. It’s also recommended to combine any treatment plan with a healthy diet.
When used with other therapies, high-quality CBD products can improve your pet’s quality of life. Animal’s endocannabinoid system interacts with CBD and other cannabinoids to produce the same anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects as it does in humans. A clinical trial with dogs found that over a month of use, CBD helped relieve arthritic pain. Pet owners didn’t notice any adverse side effects. Not many studies have been done yet with CBD and horses, but owners have been using it for years, and some companies specifically make CBD products for horses. A new study currently underway at Texas A&M is measuring CBD’s benefits for our equine friends. In case studies, horse owners have used CBD to help manage pain from joint problems or arthritis. Testing positive for CBD can disqualify horses from racing or other competitions, so it is recommended you stop giving your horse CBD at least seven days before a show or race.
Almost six percent of the dog population has epilepsy. Anticonvulsant drugs help but come with unwanted side effects. Promising studies show a distinct reduction in the frequency and intensity of seizures in dogs whose owners added CBD to their existing medication for the 12-week trial.
CBD has applications as an anti-nausea treatment. Studies show benefits for patients undergoing chemotherapy to control symptoms of nausea and delayed vomiting. Additional studies duplicated these results in rats, showing that CBD reduces nausea in animals as well.
Dogs and horses can experience painful inflammation in their joints, reducing mobility and quality of life. Few pharmaceutical options are available, and the side effects can be harsh, so owners of dogs and horses have been turning to CBD as a natural anti-inflammatory. A 2018 study administered CBD to osteoarthritic dogs and found a measurable decrease in pain and increase in mobility. Dealing with inflammation in horses, especially laminitis, can be tricky, though CBD gives hope to some horse owners. The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD are created by its ability to:
Induce cell apoptosis or help damaged cells die and be removed
Slowing down cell proliferation in affected body parts
While we commonly think of anxiety as a human problem, dogs, cats, and horses can experience anxiety. Because our ECS system regulates mood, sleep, and appetite, CBD reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression. CBD stimulates the serotonin and adenosine receptors in your pet’s brain, which can benefit happiness levels. We love when our pets are happy! Most research demonstrating CBD’s anxiety-reducing properties is with humans, although some preliminary animal studies indicate positive results. With cats, CBD may be an excellent anxiety-reducing choice after addressing other common sources of anxiety in cats. Case studies with horse trainers show lower doses of CBD may help reduce anxiety in horses.
It is essential to avoid giving pets CBD oil with any significant amounts of THC. Do not share CBD oil you purchased from a legal weed store since it may have THC levels that could be dangerous to your pets, and THC is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. Organic, full-spectrum CBD derived from the industrial hemp plant, like Jampha’s Pet Calm, is safe for your pets.
Pets usually consume CBD oil orally, and proper dosage is essential. Start with a low dose and slowly increase if needed. Some effects, like relaxation, are more robust at lower doses. General dosing recommendations are based on your pet’s weight. They range from .05 mg per pound to .25 mg per pound (for more extreme cases like seizures, pain, or arthritis). At Jampha, we’ve simplified that into a suggestion for use, and droppers are marked. General pet dosage recommendations:
Five to 25 pounds, use 2.5 to five milligrams (one quarter to one half of a dropper)
Twenty-five to 50 pounds, use five to ten milligrams (one half to one full dropper)
Fifty to 100 pounds, use ten to 15 milligrams (one full to one and a half droppers)
More than 100 pounds, use 15 to 20 milligrams per 100 pounds (one and a half to two full droppers)
Minis: 25 to 50mg
Full-sized (1100lbs): 75 to 170mg
Large breeds: 120 to 200mg
You can give this dose once or twice a day. As with people, CBD may be more effective if you divide the amount into two and administer it twice a day. You can add CBD oil to your pet’s food or put it on a treat, but absorption improves if you put it under their tongue, and they keep it there a moment or two. Not an option with every pet! Dogs have more endocannabinoid receptors than cats or people. With all animals but especially with dogs, start slow with a lower dose and build over time.
It’s worth talking to your vet before adding CBD to your pet’s wellness regime. If your pet is on certain prescription medications, CBD may change how they affect your pet. The liver metabolizes CBD, and just as with people, a pet with liver disease should not be given CBD. If your pet seems excessively thirsty or tired while taking CBD, these may be side effects. Try reducing the dose.
We love our pets. After all, they add a lot to our lives, and in exchange, we do our best to look after them. For many pets, CBD may be a welcome benefit to ease old joints, reduce nausea, aid with pain management, or soothe anxiety. Research into the endocannabinoid system in humans and animals is just beginning. Its receptors are embedded in your cell membranes. According to UCLA Health, endocannabinoids are arguably one of the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules known to man. In the coming decades, we’ll learn more about the benefits of CBD for both people and pets.