We can all agree that there is a lot of conflicting information on the internet, especially when it comes to CBD.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has been touted as a remedy to solve a variety of problems. However, many of these claims are unsubstantiated and without clinical merit.
In this post, we are going to be looking at the facts. Evaluating what the latest research suggests about the use of CBD for dogs and summarizing upcoming studies in the pipeline.
So If you’re looking for science-backed information and not anecdotal hearsay, you’ve found the right place.
But before we get started, you might wonder how CBD works and why its all the hype:
The regulator of all physiological systems
While cannabinoids like CBD, have been the focus of research for decades, but the exact workings of these compounds are still undergoing analysis, especially in animals like dogs.
Still, one thing is for sure – the endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates how cannabinoids interact with receptors found across the bodies of all mammals – including dogs!
The ECS is the largest neurotransmitter network, which maintains an internal balance (homeostasis).
The impact of homeostasis is associated with all physiological systems found within animals and humans; Including the central nervous and endocrine system. It is these downstream effects on other systems, which is why the ECS can modulate pain and inflammation.
This alone is one of the reasons why a peek into the formal literature behind how CBD affects dogs is so exciting.
So now you understand the overarching reason why cannabidiol is so popular, let’s dive into the research conducted to date.
CBD for dogs research goes back to 1988
The majority of studies looking into the use of CBD are in pre-clinical settings and often using rodent models, but there are a couple that explicitly walks through the use of CBD in dogs.
The first of which is a 1988 clinical study analyzing the use of CBD for dogs with seizures. A small sample set of 6 dogs were treated with CBD intravenously (IV) and then orally. The study concluded that oral consumption had little bioavailability (first-pass effect), with only negligible levels of CBD detected in the bloodstream after oral use.
While this study didn’t present any specific evidence around the use of CBD to relieve seizures, it did outline the common absorption problem of compounds that are water-insoluble like CBD.
Studies from 2018 and beyond
Thankfully, there are a couple of other studies also to discuss which reached a more conclusive end regards the uses of CBD in dogs.
A more recent double-blind 2018 study partnering with Cornell University had a broader remit. It assessed the safety profile, along with any potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of CBD in 22 dogs across a variety of breeds suffering from osteoporosis.
Each dog was given a randomized dose of between 2mg-8mg (per kg of weight) of full-spectrum CBD oil orally on a daily cadence for 4 weeks. 16 dogs completed the trial, of which 80% presented improvements in both mobility and sensory pain.
However, it’s important to note while this was a randomized trial, it was funded by a CBD manufacturer, which can potentially increase the bias within these findings.
Another double-blind study in 2019 sought to assess the effects of oral CBD in dogs with epilepsy. Using a sample set of 26 dogs, half were given 2.5 mg/kg of CBD twice a day, and the other half placebo.
While dogs in the CBD group had a significant reduction in the frequency of seizures vs placebo, the percentage of dogs that reduced seizure frequency by 50% or more (the defined metric) was similar among groups. As a result, this study didn’t reach a conclusive result.
Future CBD research in dogs
At the moment, most of the funded clinical studies are looking to expand on human-based models, given the dire need to improve our understanding of the use of CBD in humans.
Nonetheless, this is not to say there isn’t hope for future studies for the use of CBD in dogs.
At the moment, there is one future study to be conducted by Colorado State University, which is expanding on the potential use of CBD for epileptic dogs.
They are currently recruiting participants, and it’s likely the results will be available within the next year.
While anecdotally, it’s clear dog owners feel strongly about the potential benefits CBD is said to yield when used in animals. However, it’s also abundantly clear that more research is needed to reach a definitive conclusion.
Many questions around the correct dose, frequency, and type of CBD use still exist.
Hopefully, we can see more answers to these questions and many others in future research, which is yet to be conducted.