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What you need to know about CBD oil for dogs

If you spend any time hanging out with dog people, you’re sure to have heard about CBD oil for dogs. There’s a growing trend of pet parents using CBD products in the form of oil or treats because they believe it helps ease their dog’s aches, pains, and anxieties. According to the Brightfield Group, a consumer insights firm for the CBD and cannabis industries, pet parents spent $426 million on CBD products in 2020. The research firm expects that the market will reach $629 million by the end of 2021. Read on to learn what you need to know about CBD oil for dogs.

What exactly is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the hundreds of compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants. It comes from the leaves, flowers, and sometimes the stem of the plants. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, the two main cannabinoids found in these plants are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD. The main difference between these two compounds is that THC has strong psychoactive effects, giving the user a “high,” while CBD doesn’t cause intoxication. The compound CBD is gaining in popularity for its potential therapeutic and pain-management effects. Researchers say that the hemp plant contains only trace amounts of THC while containing strong concentrations of CBD. It’s extremely important that pet owners use only hemp-derived CBD oil as THC is toxic to dogs.

Is hemp-derived CBD oil legal?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized cultivating and producing industrial hemp and removed the crop from the federal list of controlled substances. Hemp-derived CBD contains less than 0.3% THC and is sold in most states and online, according to an article published in Pet Product News. Under the new laws, hemp is managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a crop rather than by the Department of Justice as an illegal substance.

Does CBD oil help dogs?

Research on the effects of CBD in humans has been happening for years, but similar research for pets is only just beginning. Within the veterinary community, many questions still persist when it comes to using CBD oil on pets, including the safety, efficacy, and proper dosage. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is actively encouraging well-controlled studies into the uses of cannabinoids and is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to encourage the development of veterinary-specific products. However, preliminary veterinary studies show positive results.

  • A 2018 study by veterinarians at Cornell University and published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science found that treating osteoarthritic dogs with CBD oil led to a significant decrease in pain and an increase in activity level.
  • In 2016 and 2017, Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, conducted a study to assess the use of CBD oil for dogs with epilepsy. McGrath described the results as “promising and exciting.” Based on her research, McGrath found that 89% of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.
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Anecdotal evidence from dog owners says that CBD oil helped their dogs in numerous ways, including easing inflammation, soothing nausea, stimulating appetite, easing pain, controlling seizures, and boosting heart health. Veterinarians have also reported positive results when they used CBD oil on their pets. In an article published in the spring 2020 issue of the journal Today’s Veterinary Nurse, Jeffery Powers, chairman of the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, said he gave hemp-based CBD oil and treats to Ella, his Saint Bernard. Ella suffered from arthritis and severe storm anxiety. Powers said that Ella did “extremely well” on CBD and added that the product may be “a good alternative to NSAIDs, which can cause problems in some pets.”

What to consider when purchasing CBD oil for dogs

Keep in mind that there are no FDA-approved CBD oil pet products on the market. An article in Discover magazine cautions pet owners that there are lots of “bad actors looking to take advantage of a booming industry.” The magazine put together a list of the best CBD oils for dogs in 2021 based on several different criteria, including expert input from the veterinary community, feedback from consumers, and the transparency of manufacturers.

When choosing a CBD oil for dogs, experts at the American Kennel Club offer the following tips:

  • Choose an organic oil that’s free of pesticides, fungicides, or solvents.
  • Expect to pay more for high-quality pure CBD oil. Cheaper products could contain toxic substances.
  • Ask the manufacturer for a certificate of analysis. Reputable companies will partner with a third-party testing facility to certify the quality of the CBD oil.
  • You can buy dog treats containing CBD, but the best form to administer is an oil or tincture. This allows you to adjust your dog’s dose drop by drop.

If you’re thinking about giving CBD oil to your dog, be sure to discuss it with your veterinarian first. While she may not be able to prescribe or recommend a CBD oil product for dogs, she can alert you to possible side effects. Your veterinarian can also caution you about possible negative interactions with other medications your dog might be taking. Working as a team, you can both monitor your dog to see if the CBD oil is actually helping to improve her quality of life.

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Frontiers in Veterinary Science Publishes Results of ElleVet Sciences Study on CBD and CBDA Absorption in Dogs

PORTLAND, Maine, Sept. 10, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A groundbreaking research paper analyzing the results of ElleVet Sciences research study investigating the absorption of CBDA, and its role in the efficacy of their product on dogs was published by Frontiers in Veterinary Science on September 4, 2020 (Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol, Cannabidiolic Acid, Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid and Related Metabolites in Canine Serum After Dosing With Three Oral Forms of Hemp Extract) .

While CBDA, the acidic precursor to CBD, has been widely believed to have great potential as a stand-alone compound as well as in conjunction with CBD, CBDA has been the subject of minimal research prior to this study.

The research team, led by Dr. Joseph Wakshlag of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine with the help of colleagues at the University of Florida, did a metabolite screening with funding from ElleVet Sciences using ElleVet product, and determined that CBDA is both better absorbed and retained as compared to CBD, particularly when combined with a lecithin base as the delivery oil. CBDA is shown to be anti-inflammatory, and this superior absorption and retention offer great promise in veterinary use. The significance of the high absorption and retention means longer lasting response with ElleVet products and pet owners are getting a highly effective product for their dogs.

“The absorption on cannabinoids is currently showing that using an oil base or food matrix is preferred,” says Dr. Wakshlag. “Most surprisingly we found that using a partial lecithin base caused a nearly two fold or greater absorption of CBDA. CBDA is the precursor to CBD and has anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and neuroprotective benefits that are likely better than CBD. This finding allows for better cannabinoid delivery and a far better chance of delivering therapeutic levels of cannabinoids in dogs.”

According to ElleVet Co-Founder and CEO Christian Kjaer, “We have always known that the incredible success of our product as compared to others was in part due to our decision to include significant levels of CBDA in our formula, but it is so exciting to see it proven in this study. CBDA is even more important than we thought and is part of the reason why our product is still the only product proven to work and has a consistent 80-percent success rate.”

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ElleVet Sciences is the company that conducted the first clinical trial using their product on dogs with osteoarthritis in conjunction with Dr. Wakshlag and Cornell, and their product remains the only pet CBD+CBDA product proven to work in a clinical trial. ElleVet currently has an additional 11 clinical trials and three R&D projects ongoing with results expected in 2021.

Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to determine basic oral pharmacokinetics, and assess safety and analgesic efficacy of a cannabidiol (CBD) based oil in dogs with osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: Single-dose pharmacokinetics was performed using two different doses of CBD enriched (2 and 8 mg/kg) oil. Thereafter, a randomized placebo-controlled, veterinarian, and owner blinded, cross-over study was conducted. Dogs received each of two treatments: CBD oil (2 mg/kg) or placebo oil every 12 h. Each treatment lasted for 4 weeks with a 2-week washout period. Baseline veterinary assessment and owner questionnaires were completed before initiating each treatment and at weeks 2 and 4. Hematology, serum chemistry and physical examinations were performed at each visit. A mixed model analysis, analyzing the change from enrollment baseline for all other time points was utilized for all variables of interest, with a p ≤ 0.05 defined as significant. Results: Pharmacokinetics revealed an elimination half-life of 4.2 h at both doses and no observable side effects. Clinically, canine brief pain inventory and Hudson activity scores showed a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity (p < 0.01) with CBD oil. Veterinary assessment showed decreased pain during CBD treatment (p < 0.02). No side effects were reported by owners, however, serum chemistry showed an increase in alkaline phosphatase during CBD treatment (p < 0.01). Clinical significance: This pharmacokinetic and clinical study suggests that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with OA.

Keywords: CBD oil; canine; cannabidiol; hemp; osteoarthritis; pharmacokinetic.

Figures

Box-and-whisker plot of serum alkaline…

Box-and-whisker plot of serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity at each time for treatment…

Box-and-whisker plot of serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity at each time for treatment and placebo oils. Box represents the mean and 25th and 75th percentile and the whiskers represent the 99th and 1st percentiles. * Indicates a significant difference (p < 0.05) from week 0 CBD treatment.