Are there any CBD oil side effects? CBD (cannabidiol) has garnered a tremendous amount of public interest thanks to all the testimonials online from pet owners who have used CBD products to treat their pets’ ailments. But the question remains, can the public trust that CBD is safe? Does CBD have any side effects?
What is CBD?
CBD is one of more than 113 cannabinoids produced by cannabis and hemp plants. The other cannabinoid that most people are aware of is THC, which is the compound that gets people “high.” Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating. Most CBD products are made from hemp plants, which contain at most 0.3% THC.
The benefits of CBD include that is non-toxic, and non-psychoactive while conferring a number of therapeutic benefits for people and pets. As a result, many report experiencing results similar to their prescription medications, but without the risk of addiction or harsh side effects.
Is it safe to treat your dog with CBD oil?
There’s no evidence to suggest that CBD is unsafe for dogs. In practice, many dog owners say that they are using CBD to treat various ailments without noticeable side effects in their pets.
In a study at Colorado State University, researchers looked at the effect of CBD on dogs and found that healthy dogs tolerated CBD well. The scientists reported that all the dogs experienced mild diarrhea and slightly elevated serum ALP (liver enzyme) levels. They concluded that more studies are needed to determine any long-term effects of CBD on the livers of dogs.
So, while there is limited scientific data regarding any danger CBD poses for dogs, there are also no anecdotal reports of major side effects coming from dog owners or veterinarians.
Bottom line? CBD is generally safe for dogs.
What is important to remember, is that CBD can interfere with the metabolization of certain medications. Therefore, if you are planning to try CBD for your pet for the first time, you should speak to your veterinarian first and make sure that there are no potential drug interactions.
What CBD oil side effects have been reported?
Side effects are not very common in dogs when following dosage guidelines. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), pet owners can expect the following side effects:
- Dry mouth: CBD oil can be quite bitter and can cause a bit of discomfort in the throat or some dry mouth. In dogs, this presents as increased thirst. Making sure your dog has a full bowl of water after they consume CBD is a good idea.
- Lowered blood pressure: Dogs that ingest high doses of CBD can experience a temporary drop in blood pressure. The difference in pressure is not serious, but your dog may feel light-headed as a result.
- Drowsiness: In the case of pet parents using CBD to treat their dog’s anxiety, there have been reports of drowsiness. This is to be expected as a result of the calming effect of CBD.
Before buying, other factors to consider:
- A maturing market
The CBD market is relatively new, so industry-wide quality control is absent. Though most brands are trustworthy and offer safe, lab-tested products, there are bad actors out there selling products made with cheap ingredients or products that contain no CBD whatsoever. Buyers have to do their due diligence, check a brand’s Google ratings, and look for 3rd party lab tests.
- Not FDA-approved yet
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved CBD oil for dogs. This means the FDA has not assessed CBD products for side effects and correct dosage. There is no official recommendation for dosage yet.
The AKC recommends that owners start their dogs off with very small doses and then closely monitor their dogs for any side effects or adverse reactions.
Related reading: CBD dosage for dogs
- You can’t always trust the labels
The FDA has found instances of CBD products for humans with misleading labeling. Many of the offending products contained less CBD than advertised on the label. Also, some of the products contained THC. In the light of these findings, dog owners must be cautious when buying CBD oil for their dogs. The best way to avoid substandard products is to both read the label carefully, and to ask for 3rd-party lab-tests. For example, some companies market “hemp seed oil” as a CBD product. Hemp seed oil actually contains no CBD whatsoever.
- Lack of purity
Some CBD products have been found to contain unsafe contaminants like chemical additives, preservatives, or added essential oils, which you don’t want in the product you buy for your dog. 3rd-party lab tests reveal what contaminants, if any, a product contains.
- CBD can interact with other medications
CBD can interfere with the metabolization of medications in the same way that grapefruit does. You should always consult your veterinarian first to make sure there is no risk of any drug interactions before you try giving CBD oil to your dog.
How to choose the best CBD oil for your dog
- Certificate of Analysis (COA)
The 3rd-party lab tests mentioned earlier are often called Certificates of Analysis (COA). Always buy a product from a brand that can show COAs produced by independent third party labs. COAs should include a safety panel testing for pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants and also show cannabinoid levels, such as the amount of CBD and THC per gram of product. Products containing up to 0.3% THC are considered “full spectrum.”
- Buy organic
Look for an organic product. Hemp is exceptionally good at absorbing toxins from soil, so there is a danger that hemp products can contain toxins if they are grown in unsafe conditions. Make sure the product you buy is organic and free from contaminants.
- Avoid high-THC products
Dogs are highly sensitive to THC and even just a little bit can get them high enough to experience anxiety, nausea or drowsiness. Too much THC can result in “toxic” effects where the dog appears quite ill. Make sure the product you buy contains less than 0.3% THC, like a full-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate-based product. Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils contain a multitude of beneficial cannabinoids, whereas CBD isolate-based products contain only CBD.
- Don’t be guided by price
Don’t look to buy the cheapest products. A very low price may indicate low levels of CBD, cheap source ingredients or the presence of contaminants. Cleaner, safer products might cost you a little more, but it’s best for your dog.
Verdict: There’s little risk to trying
CBD oil side effects occur rarely in dogs and are usually mild if they do present at all. If you purchase a high-quality product, check the COAs, and check a company’s Google ratings, you can purchase with confidence. CBD is a natural product that is safe to use. If you try it out, there’s a good chance it will significantly improve your dog’s quality of life.