If you haven’t already, you will probably start hearing about Cannabidiol, or CBD, treats for dogs soon. Before I’d heard of them, I discovered them in a local marijuana dispensary (it’s legal here so I decided to check one out). A marijuana dispensary carries lots of weed (surprise), smoking paraphernalia, edibles (weed cookies, brownies, etc.), and cannabis tinctures. This dispensary also had “weed cookies” for dogs. Ok, they’re not exactly “weed” cookies but dog treats made s with an extract made from industrial hemp that is supposed to have a lot of health benefits. Like you probably are, I was curious if CBD was safe and if it was legal to buy them in other areas of the country.
Like I usually do, I put my scientist hat on and took a deep-dive into the research. I also interviewed several people so they could help me understand all of it.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Dog Treats?
With medical and recreational marijuana legal in some states, cannabis has been a hot topic that is getting a closer look. In recent years, scientists have found REAL BENEFITS of cannabinoids, the chemical compounds in marijuana and hemp, including pain relief, reduction of inflammation, the ability to lessen anxiety. Some studies suggest that CBD may be helpful in reducing seizures and preventing cancer.
I really want to tell you how CBD works but all of the descriptions I could find were super science-y and confusing. You can either accept “it works” or go read about how it works.
Many people are seeking the same health benefits for their dogs. Enter CBD dog treats.
While there have been more studies on CBD benefits in humans, it does show promise for pets. There have been a lot of positive, first-hand-experience reports from pet owners. I’ve personally heard from a few people that said it definitely did reduce their dog’s seizures. I’ve given CBD oil and treats to Chester to help with anxiety and I think it does.
Things CBD may be able to help your pet with include:
- Chronic pain
- Inflammation, including things like Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
- Digestive Issues, including nausea
- Anxiety, including separation anxiety
- Mental disorders such as dimentia
- Cancer – as a preventative and to help with side effects (view the Science Explains How Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells video)
- Plus many more benefits
Are CBD Treats Safe for My Dog?
First, let’s be clear about what CBD is.
Hemp and marijuana are a type of Cannabis Sativa plants, which contain many cannabinoid compounds. THC is the cannabinoid compound in marijuana that causes the user to feel “high”. CBD, on the other hand, is a cannabinoid that does not cause a high. THC is considered a drug. CBD is not.
CBD and THC levels tend to vary among different plants. Although marijuana is sometimes referred to as hemp, there actually is a clear distinction. This article does a good job explaining the difference between hemp and cannabis. However, the bottom line is that marijuana is grown for recreational purposes and has been bred to contain high levels of THC. Industrial hemp, a high-growing plant typically bred for industrial uses such as oils, fiber for clothing, fiber for construction, etc., contains CBD but almost no THC when pollinated. The CBD used in dog treats should be sourced from hemp.
I know this is confusing so I want to be clear – Even though CBD is derived from hemp, it is not a drug and it will not get your dog high. However, it may help your dog live healthier and more comfortably with behavioral and medical issues.
CBD is considered a dietary supplement by the Food and Drug Administration. That means that it’s not regulated as a drug and doesn’t have to be prescribed by a doctor or veterinarian. If you think your dog could benefit from CBD, you are free to give it to them. Giving your dog CBD is similar to giving them fish oil or glucosamine.
If you are thinking of trying CBD treats for your dog, there are some things you should know.
What You Need to Know About CBD for Dogs
- Pay close attention to which plant the CBD oil is sourced from. It IS possible to source CBD from marijuana. Because marijuana also contains high levels of THC, which is highly toxic for dogs, stay away from it for sure! I haven’t seen any CBD dog treats yet that say the CBD is sourced from marijuana. However, some human supplements are so you need to make sure to verify the source.
- Be sure to identify to how the CBD oil was extracted. Some processes use ethanol or butane to extract the oil and traces of these petroleum chemicals may be left behind after processing. Look for CBD that has been extracted using the CO2 method. When done well, the end product is safe and potent.
- Choose CBD oil sourced from organic hemp. DO NOT use products with CBD sourced from Chinese-grown hemp. It’s toxic! China is a notoriously polluted country with very few regulations for crop growers, so the presence of pesticides and other contaminants in food products from that country is common. Also good to know – CBD oil is never organic of sourced from marijuana because it takes a lot of pesticides to grow.
- Choose CBD oil that has been created using the whole plant, not just the seeds. It is commonly described as full spectrum, which means the molecules of the “whole plant’ remain intact. This means that the oil contains many types of CBD – cannabinol (CBN), cannabicyclol (CBL), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabichromevarinic acid (CBCVA). Some scientists have found evidence that full spectrum whole hemp CBD oil may offer an “entourage effect,” meaning that a product with all forms of CBD works better because they enhance each other.
- Look for treats that have been lab tested by an independent, third-party to ensure 100% safety and efficacy for your pets.
- While CBD is shown to be non-toxic even at extreme doses (your dog could probably eat a whole bag of treats and be fine, albeit super relaxed) , make sure you read the back of the treat package for dosage instructions.
- If you are interested CBD in place of your dog’s current prescription, please consult with your vet first. Some vets are still skeptical about CBD but at least you will be more informed about your choice. There are cases where prescribed drugs are the only sure and effective way to treat something.
Are CBD Dog Treats Legal in My State?
If you don’t live in Washington State or Colorado, is it legal to possess dog treats containing CBD?
The short answer is yes, it is legal in all 50 States to purchase and consume CBD oil as long as it’s sourced from Imported Industrial Hemp (it’s still, technically, not legal to grow it in the United States so it’s imported from places like Europe and China). This kind of hemp oil is considered a supplement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), not a medication. That means it’s not regulated the same way a drug is.
For a longer explanation on the legalities of CBD oil, read the article Is Cannabidiol Legal? What’s it’s Current Legal Status? from HealthyHempOil.com.
So I did buy a bag of CBD “weed cookies” for Chester and Gretel at the marijuana dispensary. I’ve been giving them the treats for several months now and have tried several different brands. The ones that were most effective for us were from Pet Releaf. Treatibles came in a close second.
I’ve tried the oil too but found the CBD to have a bigger impact on their anxiety when given in treat form. I’ve been thinking making my own CBD dog treats using one of these recipes using the oil.
Have you or would you try CBD treats for your dog? I know this could still be confusing so please leave any questions you have and I’ll research it.