Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been used without any formal FDA approval or consistent dosage information for several years in dogs.
More research is needed to shine a light on dose information and what conditions are best treated with CBD. Thus far, results of arthritis treated with CBD seem promising, although most studies used higher dosages than recommended.
The first study published actually measuring how a dog walks did not find any effect on decreasing arthritis, so again, more information is needed.
Some practitioners and pet owners are trying CBD for epilepsy, and is reported anecdotally to be effective, but was not effective in the majority of cases for drug-tolerant or resistant epilepsy.
CBD has been found to be somewhat effective when used for anxiety and fear-based aggression. One study did show decreased aggression from anxiety and, in many dogs, improved behavior.
On a separate note, CBD has shown to reduce growth of some cancer cells in the lab but far more research on this is needed.
Contaminants are always a concern when giving your pet any neutraceutical, as there is very little testing required to sell these products and they are not regulated by the FDA.
One veterinarian, Dr. Robert Silver, DVM, MS, said in dvm360 Magazine that CBD “seems to be safe if the recommended dosages are followed and the product does not contain contaminants”, and is more absorbable if given with food.
Another consideration is, there may be interactions with other drugs and other herbs but, as of yet, no studies have been performed to determine this issue.
CBD can be over-dosed. Symptoms of CBD toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, slow or fast heart rate, rapid breathing and pale gums and other mucous membranes. In short, there are still many unknown facts about CBD in dogs.
For the moment, tempting as it may be to try CBD, enough questions and variables exists that it is probably better to use medications that already have established information to treat specific conditions.
As time goes on, studies and hopefully FDA regulation will emerge that allows us to use CBD to treat conditions it is good at treating and at appropriate doses. Studies are underway to answer these questions.