CBD for dogs

August 5, 2021

Can CBD be used as a natural medicine for dogs? Check out this article to find the answer!

August 8 is national CBD day and with CBD gaining traction with pet owners, we thought we would highlight some of the potential uses for CBD in dogs. With all trendy dog products, there is a lot of conflicting information out there surrounding CBD. So what exactly is the truth about CBD for dogs?

What is CBD?

CBD (or cannabidiol) comes from the hemp plant and contains no THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuanna). CBD is a natural extract that is used primarily for its restorative effects.

If I give my pup CBD, will it turn them into a little doggy stoner? The answer is absolutely not! Unlike THC, CBD does not result in any sort of “high”, a sensation that is so strongly advocated for by the legendary artist, Snoop Dogg (contrary to the name, he is not a real dog). According to a report from the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential."

How is CBD made?

CBD is available primarily as an oil. It is extracted from the hemp plant and mixed with a ‘carrier’ oil. Hemp plants are first grown from seeds containing less than 0.2% THC. This allows for growth of a plant that is very concentrated with CBD.

Once the hemp is harvested, the CBD is extracted using a variety of methods, which generally require the use of solvents. In addition to purifying the product, solvents are needed to separate the CBD molecule from the other compounds found in the cannabis plant. The solvent quickly evaporates and only the pure CBD oil remains. 

After extraction, the CBD oil is tested for purity and quality assurance. If you would like a more indepth look at the production of CBD, check out this article by Grass & Co.

Female Embraces Happy Dog In a Field of Herbal Cannabis Plants at a CBD Oil Hemp Marijuana Farm in Colorado Herbal Cannabis Plants at a CBD Oil Hemp Marijuana Farm in Colorado dog cbd stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

What is it used for?

As of yet, there have been very few peer reviewed articles confirming the positive (or negative) effects of CBD in dogs. However, there have been multiple case studies, and anecdotal evidence supporting multiple uses of CBD in dogs.

Some of the therapeutic uses for CBD include:

Young woman farmer harvesting fresh hemp buds Young woman farmer harvesting cannabis buds dog cbd stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

One specific study from researchers at Cornell University suggests that CBD oil in dogs may act as an analgesic in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis and aid in pain relief. The goal of the study was to determine the mechanistic action from a single oral dose of CBD extract in the dog, as well as determine the safety and effectiveness of CBD as a pain reliever. 

The researchers used 4 beagles which were given a dose of 2mg/kg and 8 mg/kg of CBD oil every 12 hours for 4 weeks. After dosing, physical examination and blood collection was conducted at predetermined time points. Concentrations of CBD in the blood plasma samples at different time points were then used to determine the half-life of the compound. The study revealed that both the 8mg/kg and 2mg/kg dose of CBD oil had a median half-life of 4.2 hours. This is a rapid elimination for a drug and suggests that a frequent dosage is needed for consistent pain relief. However, The CBD oil showed potential as a pain reliever in the client owned dogs, as the CBD dose showed improved activity and significant signs of decreased pain. There were no side effects noted by owners but blood plasma levels did show increased alkaline phosphatase levels in dogs that received a CBD treatment (an indicator of inflammation and in dire cases, liver and bone disease). Check out the full article here!

How does CBD work?

The mechanism of CBD is still not fully understood yet and more research is required to iron out some of the specific details. Ultimately, CBD acts on cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which are found in numerous areas of the body. 

In terms of therapeutic effects, CBD activates cannabinoid receptors on the peripheral and central nervous systems (including the brain). The activation of these receptors elicit different physiological  responses including pain response, memory, appetite, and mood.

Are there any risks to using CBD?

The biggest risk of CBD is still the unknown. Because there have been so few published studies on the toxicological and mechanistic effects of CBD in dogs, it is difficult to determine whether any risks are present and how severe they may be. 

It is also important to note that there could be drug-drug interactions when using CBD with other medications. CBD may reduce the efficacy of some medications or result in changes in metabolism and reactions of therapeutic agents.

CBD oil, Cannabis oil on yellow background. CBD oil and cannabis leaf on yellow background. cbd stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Where can I get dog CBD?

While CBD is approved for over the counter use in humans, in Canada it is considered a prescription medication in veterinary medicine. If you feel that your dog could benefit from CBD, consult your veterinarian.


AKC. "CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know" (2021). https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/

Harvard medical school. "Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don't". (2020). https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

Grass & Co. "How CBD oil is made". (2020) https://grassandco.com/blogs/cbd-guides/how-is-cbd-oil-made

Gamble, Lauri-Jo, Jordyn M. Boesch, Christopher W. Frye, Wayne S. Schwark, Sabine Mann, Lisa Wolfe, Holly Brown, Erin S. Berthelsen, and Joseph J. Wakshlag. "Pharmacokinetics, safety, and clinical efficacy of cannabidiol treatment in osteoarthritic dogs." Frontiers in veterinary science 5 (2018): 165.

DrugBank. "Cannabidiol". https://go.drugbank.com/drugs/DB09061

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