Research begins on using CBD to treat pets

As with any pet wellness trend, when it comes to CBD (cannabidiol) oil for dogs, there’s a lot of information floating around and little research to back it … yet.

First, what is CBD? Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical found naturally in cannabis (marijuana and hemp) plants, according to

healthline.com. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another type of cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t cause any feelings of intoxication or the “high” you may associate with cannabis.

While there’s no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs, there’s anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggesting it can treat pain, especially neuropathic pain, according to akc.org.

And pet exposure to cannabis-containing products — both recreational and medicinal — continues to increase.

Although there has been no formal study on how CBD affects dogs, scientists do know is that cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which help maintain balance in the body and keep it in a normal healthy state, according to akc.org.

According to Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC’s chief veterinary officer, CBD is also used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits, although there’s no conclusive data on this use.

I was happy to hear that the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is sponsoring a study, through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, that will evaluate the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs. The CHF hopes that this will be the first study to gain scientific data on the use of CBD in dogs with this condition.

You will find some veterinarians who are working with CBD and some who are not. The bottom line is that the verdict on CBD use is still out. Even for veterinarians.

Because the safety and risks of using CBD for dogs have not yet been researched, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD and has not issued a dosing chart.

Also, any medication or supplement carries the risk of a reaction. It is always advisable, when giving your dog something new, to start out with small amounts and then closely monitor the effects. And always check with your veterinarian first.

Look for an exclusive article on this topic in the Fall/Winter edition of Central PA Pets magazine due out on Oct. 7. Copies can be found at participating sponsors and at the Altoona Mirror office, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona.

Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode is the author of the new children’s book, “Oakley’s Great Cape Escape,” as well as, “Have Dog Will Blog,” editor of the Central PA Pets magazine and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna@altoonamirror.com.