If you 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 the pained, anxious, or elderly dog.
The easy story about CBD is the fact that there is not any simple story about CBD. Though CBD is actually a non-psychoactive chemical based on 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 almost impossible to extract definitive information.
But we have done our very best to stare in to the Dogs abyss and take out whenever possible to help you decide whether it might be good for your dog. As you’ll soon see, vets are placed in a difficult position when conversing about these products, however you will hopefully move on using this article with plenty of information to assist you make a more-informed decision.
What is CBD?
CBD is derived from either hemp (the rope and fabric stuff) or cannabis (usually the recreational stuff). It could be very easy to get, is purported to offer many health benefits for pets (and folks), and will come in everything from pills and oils to specialty chews and treats. Often, you will discover CBD by means of an oil or soft chew which can be given orally, although there are more products like biscuits and capsules easily found online. Most importantly, unlike THC (CBD’s psychoactive cousin), it won’t obtain your dog high.
There exists still a great deal we don’t find out about CBD. Better, we realize basically nothing definitive about CBD due to the bureaucratic minefield that is the U.S. drug classification system. Under federal law, marijuana is really a schedule 1 drug – putting it on the same level as LSD, ecstasy, and heroin. So it’s amazingly hard 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 comes from industrial hemp, that is 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 hardly any THC. Other states don’t let people grow hemp, however it can still be imported after being grown and/or processed in other states where it is actually legal to cultivate, or perhaps from overseas. As you have seen, whilst the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and hemp-derived CBD “more” legal, it didn’t completely remove all restrictions. Here’s a somewhat more descriptive
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 matter of debate, as studying cannabis-derived CBD is extremely challenging to do due to the legal classification of marijuana (see above). Not forgetting that the CBD supplement market, or any supplement market in fact, isn’t exactly standardized and well regulated. So it can be extremely hard to know precisely what is in a hqbndb product (precisely how much CBD, or even if it contains any traces of THC), how it was made (making certain there aren’t any impurities or potentially-dangerous solvents remaining from your extraction process), or whether or not it actually even does what it claims. So the whole “CBD for dogs (and cats)” question and market is quite a cloudy one … but thankfully it is improving! (See further below for the responsible companies who are leading the charge, doing great clinical research and ensuring the safety, efficacy, and proper dosing of the products.)