For starters, what is it?
CBD, which is the shortened name for the chemical called cannabidiol, is a substance found in cannabis and hemp plants. The most essential thing to keep in mind here is that plants high in CBD typically don’t also feature delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (a.k.a. THC). You can inform yourself on the differences between these two at this link.
THC is the molecule that results in the psychoactive traits of common marijuana. The CBD products on the market (the vast majority of them, in any case) are based on hemp, not weed, so as to avoid any mind-altering side effects while still retaining the benefits.
What effect does it have on dogs?
As of yet, there has not been sufficient scientific publication on this question. What we do know is that cannabinoid substances, which also include CBD and THC (though that family totals around 500 different molecules besides!) have reactions with the central and peripheral nervous systems of people and animals. More specifically, they work with the endocannabinoid receptors in there.
These systems are the central information crossroads of our organisms, and they are tasked with keeping everything healthy and balanced by keeping track of which part does what and whether there is something wrong with any of them. Over on Holistapet.com you can find information on the endocannabinoid systems of dogs and cats, if you are interested.
What health conditions in dogs can be treated with these oils?
Although we said that objective scientific study in this area is still sorely lacking, we do have a pretty good idea of what to expect in terms of everyday veterinary application. Empirical proof from dog owners shows us that this treatment can reduce pain, especially the kind associated with osteoarthritis, and even aid in coping with seizures.
CBD has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effect, counters nausea, is beneficial to the cardiovascular system, stimulates the animal’s appetite, and helps reduce anxiety symptoms. There is even talk floating around that it can help combat cancer, though there is no definitive information on that, so take it with a good grain of salt.
What are the potential side effects?
Just as there isn’t any sufficient official research into the mechanisms, uses, and benefits of these oils in veterinary medicine, there is an equal lack of reliable data on the possible adverse effects of it all. However, based on our knowledge of how the CBD molecule behaves in the human system and how it affects ourselves, we can make some pretty good educated guesses into how it might negatively impact our furry friends as well. If you’d like to know about how it affects us, you can check out this article: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/cbd-oil-effects
In your pets, you can expect to see a dry mouth. There have been instances where using the oils has caused a reduced production of saliva in people, so we can reasonably expect the same to happen in pets. In the case of a dog, this would most likely mean a higher thirst level, so pay attention to that and make sure the dog drinking a lot of water and eat nutrient-rich food.
Their blood pressure might be lowered too. If applying higher doses, it might temporarily cause the blood pressure of the patient to drop. This manifests as a “light head”, so keep an eye on how your doggo moves, how gingerly they turn. If they seem dizzy or disoriented, this might be the case.
Your pet might be drowsier than usual. As CBD has been reported to reduce anxiety and restlessness in people, you can surmise that it has a calming effect, like a mild sedative. If you give your dog a higher dose, it might become mildly sedated and start acting droopy. This is probably no cause for concern but see that it doesn’t go overboard. Even a pet that’s sleepier than usual has to eat, drink, and exercise. If they seem unmotivated and listless, and doze through most of the day, you might have a bigger problem on your hands.
Always thoroughly consult your chosen vet and be very careful in managing your oil doses.