Welcome to episode 434 of The Whole View! This week, Stacy and Sarah look into the science behind CBD for pets and the possible health benefits the product can have. Sarah offers insight from scientific study, and even take a listener question regarding CBD for pets!
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The Whole View, Episode 434: CBD For Pets
Stacy welcomes listers to the show and jokes that she and Sarah will mostly be gushing about their dogs this week. (2:37)
She and Sarah have talked a lot about how great pets are for our well-being, mental health, and physical exercise.
They’ve also talked in past shows about how great CBD oil can be for humans.
Due to this, they’ve received tons of questions about what they know and/or can recommend about CBD for animals.
Stacy takes a moment to remind listeners that she and Sarah are not medical professionals or veterinarians.
However, they do love science and bringing you all the information they can.
About Today’s Sponsor
Stacy takes a quick moment to thank One Farm for sponsoring this week’s show.
All of One Farm’s organic CBD tinctures for cats and dogs are made with the same high-quality USDA Organic CBD Distillate as our people products.
Organic CBD for cats and dogs are all Full Spectrum products so that you can maximize their benefits.
If you or your fur baby aren’t 100% happy with your product, you can return it for a full refund within 30 days.
One Farm does warn if your pet has a medical condition or takes pharmaceutical drugs, please consult their veterinarian before use.
To access One Farm’s products, you can follow this link or use discount code WHOLEVIEW at checkout to receive 15% off your purchase!
Stacy mentions that this week they won’t be going deep into the science behind CBD.
She encourages any listeners who aren’t familiar with the topic to revisit those episodes to better understand this show.
Sarah shares some feedback she received from frequent listener, Sherry, that inspired today’s topic. (3:19)
“Hello ladies! First let me say I am so glad I discovered your podcast this year. I look forward to each new episode and have been working my way through past years on my daily dog walks and house cleaning. As a dog mom, I really enjoyed the two episodes you did earlier this year on pets. After listening to your episode on CBD for pain management I wondered if CBD could also work for dogs? I would love to know your take on it. Thanks again for your company during this strange year. I am positive we would be BFFs IRL.”
Stacy informs all listeners that they are all her BFFs, and there’s no “in real life.” If you are here, Stacy considers you a best friend she just hasn’t met!
She tells listeners that she is also very curious about this topic, especially in terms of anxiety for her really annoying cat!
Sarah touches on close to 30,000 studies that have been done on CBD’s impact, and benefit uses on the human body, especially in terms of physical and emotional pain.
However, when she dug into the literature, she found that there have been less than 200 studies have been done with dogs.
The place we’re left in, she explains, is one where the science really needs to catch up to the usage.
There are many products already marketed for pets, and there is still a lot left to know.
Because of this, Sarah decides to start with what science we do know.
Toxicology Of CBD For Pets
Sarah feels it is very important to take a huge step back for a moment and look at dosage, what happens when a dog or cat takes CBD, and overall safety. (6:45)
This is important because reports show dogs have a larger number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain than humans.
This means that they are much more sensitive to the psychoactive properties of THC than humans are.
Sarah adds that THC is actually quite toxic for dogs.
She cites many cases of dogs accidentally getting into owners’ medical/recreational Marijuana supply and having some pretty detrimental effects.
Studies that specifically looked at CBD (in the absence of THC) have mostly studied doses in the range of 4mg/kg to 20mg/kg per day, most in the 4-5mg/kg range.
Stacy adds for listeners, remembering from her weight-lighting days, that 1kg = 2.2lbs.
Sarah breaks down the math mean if you’re dosing every 2 hours at 5mg/kg: if you have a 22lb (aka 10kg) dog, it means you’d give 2.5mg CBD per dose.
For reference, that’s ¼ what Stacy takes and ⅛ what Sarah takes to support sleep, anxiety, and pain management.
Sarah reminds us that just because CBD is not psychoactive in humans in the same way THC is, some people are more sensitive to it.
And there’s actually an identified gene that is the reason behind that sensitivity.
Toxic Levels of CBD for Pets
There’s very little data on what would be a toxic level of CBD for dogs. (10:35)
However, THC is definitely toxic, even in small amounts.
No seizures were observed in dogs given chronic daily oral doses of cannabis extracts containing concentrations as high as 27 mg/kg THC combined with 25 mg/kg CBD (1.08:1 ratio of THC to CBD) for 56 weeks.
However, researchers observed other CNS signs, including ataxia, tremors, and hypoactivity.
Researchers did not administer THC extracts without CBD, which shows the impact of a relatively large CBD amount.
The trace amount of THC in CBD is likely the source of problem for dogs.
This is most likely due to poor quality CBD products tend to have higher levels of THC in them.
Sarah adds that’s one reason why they love One Farm’s products- which are high quality and organic.
She talks a little bit about a 2018 study investigating the susceptibility of cannabis-induced convulsions in rats and dogs.
Sarah also mentions that with these reports, there’s not a way to separate what (CBD, THC, chocolate sometimes used with these products, etc.) that’s directly making the animal sick.
Sarah references this safety study where 2 mg/kg total CBD concentration orally twice daily for 12 weeks in both dogs and cats showing no detrimental effects
Safety was also the focus in this safety study where researchers studied the blood of animals given 2 mg/kg vs 8 mg/kg on an empty stomach.
Sarah also notes in quite a few studies that there have been increased liver damage markers/injury markers.
She adds that these levels were not high enough to cause liver dysfunction.
However, it’s good to keep an eye on whether your animal has or is at risk for liver issues.
Route Of Administration
Stacy quickly summarizes what Sarah said to make sure she understands. (17:02)
Sarah then looks at how the different administration techniques of CBD can impact cats and dogs.
Dogs were given 10 mg/kg body weight (BW) per day or 20 mg/kg BW per day, every 12 hours right after a meal, by three routes: oral by capsule, oral by oil directly, or transdermal cream.
- The capsule and the oil were very similar in terms of plasma CBD levels over 12 hours after the dose, i.e., elevated quite quickly and stayed fairly stable, dropping off a bit towards the end.
- Transdermal cream raised levels less so immediately, but gradually increased over 12 hours, actually being higher at the 12-hour point than capsule or oil.
- For continuous use over 2, 4 or 6 weeks, there wasn’t a significant difference in plasma CBD concentrations with any route of administration.
So, for short-term pain, oral oil is the best. For long-term pain and daily dosing, whatever is the easiest to administer is fine.
Sarah does note there are studies with oral transmucosal administration, but not pharmacokinetics that compare it with other routes.
CBD For Pets With Osteoarthritis Pain
Sarah thinks that this is the most effective use for CBD for pets. (20:01)
This study shows that adding CBD to a normal treatment plan for OA-related pain in dogs adds benefit.
This is useful because it means that it doesn’t need to be either/or.
This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of oral transmucosal (OTM) cannabidiol (CBD), in addition to a multimodal pharmacological treatment for chronic osteoarthritis-related pain in dogs.
- Twenty-one dogs were randomly divided into two groups
- in group CBD (n = 9), OTM CBD (2 mg kg-1 every 12 h) was included in the therapeutic protocol (anti-inflammatory drug, gabapentin, amitriptyline)
- in group C (n = 12), CBD was not administered.
Sarah notes that Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant and Amitriptyline is an antidepressant.
Owners evaluated dogs based on the Canine Brief Pain Inventory scoring system before treatment initiation (T0), and one (T1), two (T2), four (T3) and twelve (T4) weeks after that.
- Pain Severity Score was significantly lower in CBD than in C group at T1 (p = 0.0002), T2 (p = 0.0043) and T3 (p = 0.016).
- Pain Interference Score was significantly lower in CBD than in C group at T1 (p = 0.0002), T2 (p = 0.0007) and T4 (p = 0.004).
- Quality of Life Index was significantly higher in CBD group at T1 (p = 0.003).
The addition of OTM CBD showed promising results. Further pharmacokinetics and long-term studies in larger populations are needed to encourage its inclusion into a multimodal pharmacological approach for canine osteoarthritis-related pain.
More Studies: CBD For Pets With OA
Sarah thinks a study done in 2019 is one of the most compelling studies because it just evaluated CBD at a fairly low dose in dogs with OA.
The objective was to determine basic oral pharmacokinetics, and assess safety and analgesic efficacy of a CBD based oil in dogs with osteoarthritis.
- 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.
- Participants completed baseline veterinary assessment and owner questionnaires before initiating each treatment and at weeks 2 and 4.
- Researchers performed hematology, serum chemistry and physical examinations 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.
Owners reported no side effects. However, serum chemistry showed an increase in alkaline phosphatase during CBD treatment (p < 0.01).
This pharmacokinetic and clinical study suggests that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with OA.
Stacy says that she’s not surprised to hear any of that, given how effective CBD is for humans.
CBD For Pets With Anxiety
Sarah explains that interest is increasing regarding the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) in companion animals. This is due to evidence of beneficial behavioral and health effects. (27:47)
A September 2020 study evaluated the influence of CBD on behavioral responses to fear-inducing stimuli in dogs.
Sarah mentions that cats show different signs of anxiety than dogs, which can be a little harder to measure.
She also explains that is the one and only study she could find that tested how CBD for pets can impact anxiety in dogs.
- Researchers used a fireworks model of noise-induced fear to assess CBD effectiveness after 7 d of supplementation.
- Each test lasted a total of 6 min and consisted of a 3 minutes “normal” environmental noise and then 3 minutes of noise with a fireworks track.
- Plasma was collected 1 hour before, immediately after, and 1 hour following testing for analysis.
- Researchers video recorded behaviors in each 3 minute block, and used heart rate (HR) sensors for collection of HR and HR variability parameters.
- Research personnel administering treats and analyzing behavioral data were blinded as to the treatments administered.
Sarah explains that the results do not support CBD for pets has any impact on anxiety.
However, CBD did not worsen the anxiety.
So while it appears to not have the same anxiety soothing benefits on dogs as it does on humans, there still might be an experiment to perform with your dog to see if it helps.
CBD For Pets With Epileptic Seizures
Sarah says there have been a lot of interesting studies that show CBD can be extremely effective at reducing or eliminating seizures in humans.
A 2019 study looked at how CBD for pets might impact dogs with Epilepsy who didn’t respond to normal anticonvulsants.
- Researchers randomly assigned dogs to CBD or placebo group.
- The CBD group received CBD-infused oil (2.5 mg/kg [1.1 mg/lb], PO) twice daily for 12 weeks in addition to existing antiepileptic treatments.
- The placebo group received non-infused oil under the same conditions.
- Seizure activity, adverse effects, and plasma CBD concentrations were compared between groups.
- 2 dogs in the CBD group developed ataxia and were withdrawn from the study.
- After other exclusions, the analysis included 9 dogs in the CBD group and 7 in the placebo group.
Dogs in the CBD group had a significant (median change, 33%) reduction in seizure frequency, compared with the placebo group.
Dogs in the CBD group had a significant increase in serum alkaline phosphatase activity (liver “unhappiness”).
Owners reported no adverse behavioral effects.
Sarah sums up that although a significant reduction in seizure frequency was achieved for dogs in the CBD group, the proportion of responders was similar between groups.
Given the correlation between plasma CBD concentration and seizure frequency, it warrants additional research to determine whether CBD’s higher dosage would reduce seizure activity by ≥ 50%.
Sarah points out that almost all the studies took place in 2019 or 2020, save for one. (37:49)
She adds that the science behind CBD for pets is still a very active area of research!
All in all, the data on CBD for pain management in dogs is the most impressive.
Stacy and Sarah remind listeners that, just like humans, doctor supervision is important! Talk to your vet first.
Dose should be low, say 2mg/kg twice daily.
Route of administration doesn’t really matter for long-term use, so Sarah recommends whichever method works best for you.
Sarah also recommends regular blood work to check liver function every couple of months just in case!
Because the science is so new, for the safety of yourself and your pets, it’s critical to use a brand of CBD that’s high-quality and regularly tested, such as One Farm.
Stacy reminds listeners that they can use the code WHOLEVIEW for a 15% discount at checkout!
She also revisits Sherry’s question, telling her to give it a shot, but to be sure to talk with her vet as well.
Stacy and Sarah invite you to join their Patreon family for bonus content and behind the scenes into what they really think about each show.
Thank you listeners for joining us today and we will see you next week!