Thrive Thursdays topic today is CBD ! I have to say this has not been the easiest post to compile, but I do hope its easy to understand and follow and will help you to make a better informed choice in regards to its usage and potential benefits. I have to point out that this is just for information purposes only, do your own research and please do consult your vet before you try.

Ps: its quite long, but it had to be !!

CBD oil, aka Cannabis oil – Hype or Hope ?

There has been huge hype, of late, that CBD oil is the miracle cure all to a lot of diseases and health issues, and to be fair it has worked when all other conventional medicine has failed. However, although its healing benefits are very plausible, it’s important to understand that it’s not a miracle cure to all out there. What works wonders for some, may not work for others and the same applies to dogs. However, it’s certainly worth looking at in more detail so that you can make an informed choice about the possible numerous health benefits for you and your dog.

So what is CBD?  

When thinking about CBD for your dog, you should first understand the difference between marijuana and hemp. Firstly, they both come from the same cannabis sativa plant, however have different properties and results.
Marijuana – is the buds, leaves, and resin of the cannabis plant and are a high source of a substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is what results in a psychoactive effect in humans, or in other terms, getting ‘high.’ And hence not what you want to be giving your dogs.
Hemp – is the rest of the plant. This part of the plant contains less than 3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but does contain a substance called cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabidiol activates receptor sites in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) .

What is the ECS I hear you saying? Well its been termed as.” the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.” In a very general nutshell, the ECS promotes homeostasis affecting everything from sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation, memory, mood, and even reproduction. So in basic terms, the ECS helps modulate the regulation of homeostasis across all major body systems ensuring that all systems work in tandem with one another.

So CBD aka cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp plants, but the oil is mainly extracted from hemp plants due to the low THC, which is the dangerous part for pets. What the other components of CBD provides is more of a calming feeling and pain-relieving sensation without harming them.
There has not been that many scientific studies to date on the benefits of CBD on pets, however, what scientists do know as stated above is that they interact with the receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which help maintain balance in the body and keep it in a normal healthy state. At the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Dr. Stephanie McGrath, who specializes in treating seizure disorders and inflammatory brain diseases in animals, recently completed a study of CBD for the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs, and is currently running an epilepsy study.

“We have diseases that we don’t have treatments for that work, so there’s a problem,” McGrath explained in an interview with the publication Westword. “A solution to that problem is trying to find a solution that does work, so we are always searching.
That, along with this drug becoming legalised (in Colorado), prompted a lot more questions from clients and veterinarians. And [with] me being unable to answer their questions,that really bothered me. So the more I started looking, the more I realized what a void there was in cannabis research.”

A total of 27 dogs are participating in the two studies, and researchers are logging dosage, oil application, side effects and how to counteract those side effects. So this is still ongoing and further research studies needed for scientific proof.

So with that in mind, what makes CBD oil so attractive and what are the claimed health benefits:

Clinical human studies have shown that by manipulating receptors in the Central Nervous System, CBD can play a key role in reducing inflammation, alleviating chronic pain, reducing the viability of tumour cells, minimising symptoms of anxiety/depression, and reducing the severity of seizures, among other things. So for your pets the same ideological benefits can be assumed, but only assumed:

1) Cancer – CBD allows your pet to feel comfortable during those difficult times and helps to reduce the side effects that cancer can have on your dog. It is also proven to aid in preventing and killing cancer cells by assisting the dog’s immune system to kill cancer cells itself. It blocks the cancer cells ability to produce energy, and hence it can’t replicate. It also contains anti tumour properties.
2) Epilepsy – CBD helps to reduce seizure activity and with varying levels can actually help manage and over time reduce the frequency of them. In some cases the seizures do not return.
3) Reduces Inflammation – CBD treatment has been shown to significantly inhibit and delay destructive insulitis and inflammatory Th1-associated cytokine production in non obese diabetes-prone (NOD) female mice. Thus, cannabinoids can be considered useful for controlling T1D due to their anti-inflammatory properties

4) Reduces Stress – It’s a relaxing stimulation that has calming properties so useful for stressful situations like fireworks, travel and any other stressful situations you and your dog may find yourself in.
5) Protects the Nervous System and hence can help with neurodegenerative disease such as dementia and confusion in ageing pets
6) Promotes cardiovascular health as its properties reduce inflammation in the body including the heart.
7) Relieves Pain – If it affects receptors in the brain and immune system in the way that researchers believe, it may reduce inflammation and pain
8) Arthritis – Some studies on animals suggest that CBD could help to treat arthritis and relieve the associated inflammatory pain:
A 2011 study found that CBD helped to reduce inflammatory pain in rats by affecting the way that pain receptors respond to stimuli
A 2014 review of the existing body of research on animals concluded that CBD may be an effective treatment for OA.
A 2016 study found that the topical application of CBD had the potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
A 2017 study found that CBD might be a safe and useful treatment for OA joint pain.

9) Boosts appetite – a bonus with ill and cancer ridden pets as the cancer usually causes nausea and hence lack of appetite. The downside to this is that any dog taking CBD may has an increased appetite and hence always look like they are starving lol

So after reading the potential benefits you may want to explore this further right ?

What do you look for?

CBD Products are not all equal.
Always speak to your vet about introducing CBD oil as a treatment option for your pet. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing CBD products as not all oils are the same. High quality CBD oil gives your pet a better chance of it working for them.
• Look for organic. If the CBD oil is not organic, it at least should not contain pesticides, fungicides, or solvents.
• Cheap isn’t the best. The higher the quality and purity, the higher the cost. You don’t want to go for a cheaper option that could have toxic substances such as pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. Make sure your CBD oil is free of additives.
• Get the analysis. The manufacturer should provide a certificate that tells you the amount of CBD that is in the product. Many CBD oils contain only small amounts of CBD. You’ll also want to make sure there is little or no THC in the product.

• Buy CBD as a tincture/oil. You can buy dog treats containing CBD, but the best form to administer is a tincture. That way it’s straight into the bloodstream and usually has immediate relief from symptoms. When placed under the tongue or rubbed into the gums, its absorbed directly into the bloodstream, allowing it to work quicker than creams or treats. If you add to food it doesn’t have the same desired effect.

• Topical (Creams and oil) For dogs suffering from rashes, skin allergies, arthritis, or other general forms of muscle aches/joint pains (due to old age or otherwise), CBD topicals (salves and creams) are a popular and convenient way to go . They’re reliable, convenient, efficient for acute pain, and for the most part, are easy to administer right at the pain spot. Also you can rub the CBD oil directly onto external tumours or skin lesions.

All dogs are individuals, so one size does not fit all. The key is to find the right dose for your individual pet. So start slowly and work up until you notice any benefit (if any). Some pets you will see a noticeable difference immediately, others it may take a few weeks or months to see any improvements.
1. While CBD is a natural substance, improper dosing will commonly result in lethargy/drowsiness, and in more severe cases, intense nausea and/or vomiting can ensue. The general rule of thumb when using tincture /oil is to start out with one drop per 5kg of your dog’s weight (i.e. 4 drops of oil if your dog weighs 20kg), and administer the oil directly under the tongue or rub into gums once a day. Monitor the dog’s health and behaviour closely for about a week or so, and if there isn’t any clear improvement in condition, try upping the dosage to twice per day. The goal is to start low and work your way up until you reach a point when you notice an obvious improvement, but without the sedative effects unless that’s what the aim is (fireworks etc ).
2. If your dog is on any medication, always check with your vet that it wont interfere with its effectiveness.
3. Strength. As a general rule the stronger the potency the higher the effectiveness and less you need to use. They usually come in different strengths, 300mg, 600mg and 1000+ mg etc and the price usually increases with strength. For smaller dogs the lower potency is usually recommended starting point, and even with bigger dogs with more acute issues, start lower but with an increase of drops and work up that way.

There are many brands to choose from, but finding a good quality one, without any pesticides and good value is the key. I have used both Simply CBD and Loveburgh from https://scothemp.com/online-cbd-shop/ , but there are new ones coming onto the market all the time so this one is also a guide to the top 10 as of Aug this year. Worth a read

Are there any side Effects of CBD in Dogs?
While there’s no scientific data on the side effects of CBD usage for dogs, there are potential side effects based on how CDB affects humans. These can range from anything that is unusual, but reported side effects have been reported as follows:
• Dry mouth: Research has shown that CBD can decrease the production of saliva. For dogs, this would manifest as an increased thirst.
• Lowered blood pressure: High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. Even though the drop is small, it might create a brief feeling of light-headedness.
• Drowsiness: Dog owners have used CBD to treat anxiety. The calming effect of CBD can also cause slight drowsiness, especially when using higher doses.
• Tremors – any signs that are out of the norm
If you are unsure or your dog starts showing any of the above symptoms or anything unusual then stop immediately and consult your vet.

Pic: courtesy of Dogs Naturally and their own full article on CBD is as follows: https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/cbd-oil-for-dogs/

The above is for information only, I do not recommend any product and have limited experience on CBD, I have just stated what I have used myself. Always consult a Veterinarian and do your own research. I do hope that makes sense and gives a bit clearer information on a complex subject, as that was my aim Alison