Is CBD Safe (and Legal) for My Dog?
That guy with the Labradoodle at the dog park has just told you about this awesome new stuff that he’s been giving Winnie to help with her anxiety. It’s called CBD, and it sounds like a miracle cure for everything from an irritable rash to terminal diseases, but you’re still left wondering… what’s the catch? Is this guy trying to give my dog weed? And where has it been all my life? If you’re unsure if CBD for pets is safe or legal for your dog, read on.
CBD, also known as Cannabidiol or hemp oil, is a non-psychoactive chemical found in cannabis plants. It’s both similar to weed and nothing like it. It’s best to think of it more as a cousin. Although it can be calming for canines, the tiny amount of THC (the psychoactive chemical) found in the plants from which it is extracted is nowhere near enough to get a dog stoned. CBD is mainly extracted from the male cannabis plant, hemp. Hemp, as you may know, is commonly used in fabric, building materials, textiles, and even biofuel (not bongs).
Due to the limited amount of research on CBD for dogs, the side effects listed are actually based on the human response to the substance. This includes dry mouth caused by the decrease of saliva production after consuming CBD, lower blood pressure from a high dose of CBD (quite minimal, but could cause your pooch to sit down suddenly), and drowsiness from the relaxing properties it contains. Side effects are always on a case-by-case basis. All dogs are different, so start your pooch off with a small dose and see how he reacts to it.
While the majority of CBD is derived from hemp plants, there are some strains that originate from marijuana plants. It’s better to stick to the hemp variety, as this has the least amount of THC contained within it (less than 0.3%) and is therefore much safer for your pet to ingest.
One of the most prominent veterinarians in the CBD field is Dr. Stephanie McGrath at Colorado State Veterinary College. Her study in 2016 was the first of its kind and delivered some extremely positive results. A group of dogs suffering from various forms of epilepsy was tested, nine with CBD and six with a placebo. Her research found that 89 percent of subjects who received CBD in the trial had a reduction in seizures. The test was very small, but the findings only further solidified the positive attributes of CBD for dogs suffering from a wide range of issues. Mcgrath’s next test will focus on 27 dogs and should give us a clearer idea of the effects of different doses of CBD on groups of canines.
What’s the Law?
Reports on CBD use in pets have become widespread in the last couple of years. The Hemp Farming Act that was passed on December 20, 2018, federally removed strains of the cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC (not enough for any psychoactive effect) from the list of Schedule I Controlled Substances. This opened up the world of CBD to all 50 states in America, much to the joy of dog owners who had unsuccessfully tried numerous other avenues to help their sick or injured pets.
Just like CBD in humans, we’re not at the stage where doctors (or veterinarians) are prescribing the plant extract to patients. In fact, they’re not supposed to bring it up to you unless you mention it first. It’s all a little bit hazy at the moment because of how recently the laws changed regarding its sale, but just because you won’t get a script for it doesn’t mean it’s any less legitimate.
Federally, hemp oil is legal across the board. Marijuana-derived CBD is not legal in every state due to the higher levels of THC (over 0.3%). As with many laws, each state has its own stance on the legalization of certain types of hemp oil across the country.
We’ve split these states into categories so you can see how your state matches up with the rest of the country.
Two Paws Up
States with laws that allow retailers to sell CBD:
Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
One Paw up
States that recognize the difference between CBD and marijuana by law:
District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
States that do not prohibit the sale of CBD by law but allow for possible exemptions based on where it is sourced:
Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
One Paw Down
States that do not prohibit the sale of CBD by law but are still ironing out the details for the retailers of the substance:
Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
New truths about CBD for pets are being discovered every day. The possibilities for its application seem almost endless. As time goes by, the number of clinical tests on canines will increase and more solid facts will alter the already wavering, hardline stance of the government and some members of the public. What we do know so far is that CBD is both legal and safe for consumption by dogs.