Cannabidiol (CBD) and the associated cannabinoids can have dramatic effects on animals. Caution should be taken when using marijuana with pets (including hemp). The number one concern is that your pet could consume too much THC, the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis. When exposed to too much THC, animals will become dizzy, lose bodily controls, and can become afraid and generally uncomfortable. Rabbits are particularly sensitive to THC resulting in seizures at moderate doses. CBD on the other hand is very well tolerated at high doses and can be used safely in most animals (Bergamaschi, et al. 2011). CBD will reduce the negative side-effects of THC in addition to providing its well known effects on the nervous system and in treating seizures. I was not able to find a scientific study measuring the synergistic effect of THC and CBD, but I have come across many anecdotal reports about how having some THC content seems to work better than pure CBD on its own. It is being referred to as the “entourage effect”. So there may be some value in finding a cannabis product that is from marijuana not hemp, but a marijuana strain that is very low in THC and high in CBD. Pet owners who choose marijuana products over hemp should find a product that has a known ratio of CBD to THC (often reported as 1:1 or 5:1). The higher the number the more CBD, so go for 5:1 or higher to avoid giving too much THC to your pets. Then check out my dosing chart at the bottom of this article to insure you are providing a safe and effective dose…
There are not many studies that describe the exact dosage to be giving our pets, if we decide to give our animals cannabis products. However, research is available that can shed some light on the subject and allow us to make sensible conclusions about cannabinoid dosing. A study on epilepsy in rats (completed by the University of Utah, Turkanis et al. 1979) showed the anti-convulsant effects of CBD (0.3 mg/kg). The study compared CBD to THC and two prescription anti-convulsant drugs (Phenytoin and Ethosuximide). The study showed that CBD was the most effective “drug” tested for treating convulsions and after-discharge effects. Even at the lowest dose tested in the study, 0.3 mg/kg (this equals about 7mg for a 50lb dog), CBD showed dramatic results!
This is exciting news because it means that you could possibly treat your pet’s epilepsy and other conditions with CBD, avoiding the use of toxic drugs. Unlike drugs such as Phenytoin, there has never been adverse events reported from CBD alone, even at very high doses (Bergamaschi, et al. 2011). Like many pharmaceutical drugs the anti-seizure medications can have bad side effects. CBD has no known side effects, and can be taken safely by most animals at doses much higher than needed. This makes it safe for pets that like to get into bags of food and eat the entire container. An entire container of CBD dog treats would probably just cause symptoms associated with overeating, no serious drug overdose symptoms.
Another benefit is that CBD can be a cheap alternative to using these pharmaceutical drugs. When going to the vet there’s always a veterinarian checkup fee and those vary from around fifty dollars to nearly one hundred, which can get pricey. On top of that you have to pay for the prescription. Many of us would spend any amount of money to care for our pets, but in reality we often can’t afford to spend so much. Currently many CBD products are priced to compete with pharmaceutical drugs, and a lot of the hemp dog treats out there do not even tell you how much CBD they provide. But because CBD is easily extracted from cannabis (which grows like a weed), it is only a matter of time before CBD becomes cheap and accessible. And giving it to your pets is practically proven to be safe and effective when given at the correct dosage.
The above information is just about CBD and seizures, there are other medical uses that CBD has become well known for, including; anxiety, appetite, cancer, arthritis pain, insomnia, and more.. We don’t yet know the full story of what CBD can do, but we know that the medical benefits aren’t just helping humans, but our furry companions as well. Regardless of what you choose to use CBD for, the information in this article can serve as a verified guideline for safe CBD dosing in dogs and cats.
Below is a table that calculates CBD dosing based on 0.3mg/kg (proven safe and effective in animal studies). The table is made for the Companion liquid CBD product available in Washington state (made by Fairwinds Manufacturing), with dosing based on the studies I reviewed in this article (0.3mg/kg).
Fairwinds Companion tincture: 1 drop = 0.33mg CBD and 0.07mg THC
5lb – 0.7mg = 1 to 3 drops
10lb – 1.4mg = 3 to 5 drops
15lb – 2.0mg = 6 to 7 drops
20lb – 2.7mg = 8 to 9 drops
25lb – 3.4mg = 10 to 11 drops
30lb – 4.1mg = 12 to 13 drops
35lb – 4.8mg = 14 to 15 drops
40lb – 5.5mg = 16 to 17 drops
45lb – 6.1mg = 18 to 19 drops
50lb – 6.8mg = 20 to 21 drops
55lb – 7.5mg = 22 to 23 drops
60lb – 8.2mg = 24 to 25 drops
65lb – 8.9mg = 26 to 27 drops
70lb – 9.6mg = 28 to 29 drops
75lb – 10.2mg = 30 to 31 drops
80lb – 10.9mg = 33 to 34 drops
85lb – 11.6mg = 35 to 36 drops
90lb – 12.3mg = 37 to 38 drops
95lb – 13.0mg = 39 to 40 drops
100lb – 13.6mg = 41 to 42 drops
105lb – 14.3mg = 43 to 44 drops
110lb – 15.0mg = 45 to 46 drops
115lb – 15.7mg = 47 to 48 drops
120lb – 15.4mg = 49 to 50 drops