The cannabis plant and the hemp plant have both been used for human and animal medical care, especially in the past few years, which is why some people give their cats CBD for anxiety, and others give their dogs CBD for chronic pain. So, there’s no doubt that weed may provide some health benefits when consumed in appropriate doses. But what about overdosing?
As weed legalization laws are underway around the US, there has been an increased number of cases of dogs overdosing on weed brownies and other cannabis edibles according to the Pet Poison Helpline. For that reason, pet safety has been a growing concern among veterinarians who treat puppies in weed-consuming households since cannabis toxicity, and especially synthetic cannabis toxicity, can have negative consequences for your canine friend.
So, what happens if dogs consume too much hemp seed oil? Will they experience side effects, and can they overdose on it at all? This is exactly what we’ll answer in the following paragraphs.
THC and CBD in Humans
The cannabis plant contains over 120 active compounds among which the most popular and the most widely used ones are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both bind to the cannabinoids receptors in the body and produce different effects. The former gives psychoactive effects to users, while the latter gives sedative and calming effects.
The effects are experienced as a result of the endocannabinoid system in the human body which is responsible for regulating immune response, metabolism, appetite, memory, and other functions. Because cannabis has such an effect on the endocannabinoid system, it can be used for medical purposes like reducing inflammation and treating epilepsy, nausea, chronic pain, and other conditions.
But does cannabis affect our furry friends the same way as it affects us?
The Effects of CBD and THC in Dogs
Compared to humans, dogs have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain, so they can be more susceptible to marijuana’s toxic effects. For instance, a Colorado study concluded that 2 dogs that consumed baked goods with concentrated medical grade THC butter died. Hence, we need to be more careful about leaving our dogs unsupervised around our weed edibles. (Gyles, 2016)
Still, even though the information regarding the effects of marijuana on pets is limited, CBD derived from the hemp plant can help our furry friends. Pet parents can give their dogs CBD to help with osteoarthritis, epilepsy, joint pain, anxiety, and other conditions the pets may be suffering from. Nowadays, people are more likely to use marijuana and hemp products as a treatment option for their pets than in the past. (Kogan et al, 2018)
CBD Products for Dogs
The most commonly used hemp plant product is CBD oil which can be made by using different extraction methods. CBD can be found in the flower, stalks, and leaves of the hemp plant. And depending on where you extract it from, the potency can vary.
Under US federal law and the 2018 Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has legalized the sale of high-quality CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC and have been tested by third-party labs for the presence of mold, solvents, or pesticides.
For that matter, you can buy three main types of CBD oil:
- CBD Isolate (contains cannabidiol and no other cannabinoids, terpenes, or fatty acids are present).
- Full Spectrum CBD oil (contains all the cannabinoids that naturally occur in the cannabis plant, making this a whole plant extract).
- Broad Spectrum CBD oil (contains all the cannabinoids and chemical compounds of cannabis, apart from THC).
What Is Hemp Oil?
Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, and contrary to CBD oil and THC oil, it contains only trace amounts of THC and CBD (both come from the leaves, stalks, and flowers of the Cannabis Sativa plant), so it can’t get your puppies high.
When consumed by your puppy, hemp oil can support cardiovascular and brain health since it contains essential fatty acids and amino acids, and it may even have anti-aging and antioxidant effects.
Hemp oil can be utilized by:
- Ingesting capsules;
- Using tinctures with a dropper;
- Applying it topically on the skin.
Can I Give My Dog Hemp Oil Dog Treats?
Hemp oil-infused edibles for dogs haven’t been known to cause problems if they’re high-quality full-spectrum products, and if the dose is compatible with your dog’s needs. The amount of CBD in dog treats is lower compared to the concentration you can find in CBD oils and tinctures, so your furry friend isn’t likely to experience side effects.
However, higher doses of CBD may cause side effects in dogs, including:
- Dry mouth (since CBD can affect the production of saliva).
- Vomiting and diarrhea (gastrointestinal upset in dogs as a result of high CBD doses).
- Lethargy and drowsiness (your furry friend may appear lethargic).
- Lowered blood pressure (temporary drop in blood pressure).
- Ataxia (problems with coordination and lack of balance).
- Urinary incontinence;
- Inhibition of drug metabolization (high doses of CBD may inhibit the production of liver enzymes and the dog may not be able to metabolize other drugs or medications).
- Seizures and coma (in rare cases when excessive amounts of CBD are administered).
How Much Hemp Oil Should You Give Your Dog?
Even though overdosing on hemp oil is unlikely, pet owners should be careful when administering hemp oil to their furry friends since some CBD products have been known to contain dangerous contaminants, heavy metals, or additives that may cause adverse reactions in pets.
Dosing the appropriate amount of CBD for your pet will depend on the dog’s weight, breed, age, including the medical condition for which your dog is being treated. The recommended dosage for dogs that are first starting with CBD is 1 mg hemp oil per 10 lbs of the dog’s weight..
Since hemp oil is a polyunsaturated fat, it needs to be served with saturated fat sources like beef, lamb, pork, and other red meats to maintain a balance of all the fats in your dog’s diet. So if you do decide to give hemp oil to your dog, make sure you mix it with their preferred red meat for additional health benefits.
Final Thoughts on Using Hemp Oil for Dogs
For all you pet parents out there who are thinking about starting your furry friend on CBD or other cannabis products, the first thing you need to remember is that you should always be informed of the latest news surrounding CBD for dogs. Read current research on cannabis and CBD products for pets, and make sure that you’re always up to date.
Secondly, different puppies require different doses, so it’s best to consult with your veterinarian about the appropriate dose for your dog’s particular breed, weight, and age.
Finally, review the brand you’re thinking about buying hemp oil from to make sure that they are following the regulations issued by the FDA.
Gyles C. (2016). Marijuana for pets?. The Canadian veterinary journal = La revue vétérinaire canadienne, 57(12), 1215–1218.
Kogan L, Schoenfeld-Tacher R, Hellyer P, Rishniw M. US Veterinarians’ Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions. Front Vet Sci. 2019;5:338. Published 2019 Jan 10. doi:10.3389/fvets.2018.00338