CBD Oil & Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
For both people and animals, medicine tends to trend high-tech. One of the most promising new veterinary drug therapies, however, incorporates ingredients derived from cannabis, a plant that’s been in use by humans for thousands of years. This primer covers the basics of veterinary cannabidiol (CBD) and reflects what’s currently known.
New findings are released every day, it seems, so if you’re interested, we advise staying on top of developments by bookmarking a few reliable websites. If your vet is open to discussing it—for legal and licensing reasons, not all are—we strongly advise starting there.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 60 known plant-based cannabinoids, naturally occurring active chemical compounds that act on the brain and body. It’s derived from cannabis, a complex plant in the Cannabaceae family, and has no psychoactive effects —it provides “the benefits without the buzz,” as one writer put it.
CBD is the plant’s second most abundant cannabinoid; first place goes to THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which generates marijuana’s distinctive high. It’s extracted and processed as either an isolate (on its own) or as a full-spectrum oil, one of a group of related cannabinoids that often includes cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidivarin (CBDV), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), terpenes and flavonoids.
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Over millennia, humans have domesticated, developed and cultivated multiple strains of cannabis and used them for a variety of purposes. Today, generally speaking, the two you’ll hear the most about are hemp, which is legally defined as cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% of the psychoactive THC, and marijuana (strictly speaking, a product rather than a plant type), which has more than 0.3% THC. Many CBD products for dogs are sourced from hemp.
The Science Behind CBD
Every animal with a spinal column has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which scientists estimate evolved more than 600 million years ago and has been carried forward across the millennia. This ancient system—discovered through the work of several researchers between roughly 1965 and 1995—is named for Cannabis sativa L., the plant species that most dramatically affects it. Its basic functions have been summarized as to “relax, eat, sleep, forget and protect.”
To do this, the ECS maintains the body’s internal balance through a network of activators and receptors that most notably affect the central nervous system and the immune system. Cannabinoids are the ECS’s messengers, and their effects depend on the receptors to which they bind.
This is a very specific process; a receptor will only accept the particular compound for which it exists, and is unaffected by others. Research shows that cannabinoid receptors are similar across species, functioning much the same way in dogs as they do in people, although dogs have far more receptors in their brains than any other animal tested (including humans).
Robert J. Silver, DVM and veterinary herbalist of Boulder, Colo., suggested another way to understand this system: “Receptors are like locks, and cannabinoids are like keys. They fit together perfectly. Once the cannabinoid connects to the receptor and turns that lock, a series of actions occur in the cell membrane; these actions are responsible for some of the cannabinoid’s effects.”
Full-Spectrum CBD Extracts
Whole-plant or full-spectrum extracts are considered to be the most therapeutically effective. In this form, CBD works in conjunction with other cannabinoids to produce what’s called the entourage effect: the result of numerous types of cannabinoids, each with a specific function, working together. You’ll sometimes see THC in the mix as well; aside from its recreational aspects, it has its own set of medicinal properties and can be particularly effective against severe pain.
Is CBD safe for Dogs? Does it work? How does it work?
These are just a few of the questions that can only be reliably answered by evidence-based scientific research, which is now taking place in the U.S. and around the world, and is the best way to separate fact from fiction.
More work has been done to discover CBD’s effects on people than on animals—for example, at least 132 original studies have focused on CBD’s human-safety profile—but that tide seems to be turning. Take, for example, the following:
• In 2016, Dr. Stephanie McGrath, neurologist and assistant professor at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, completed a preliminary pharmacokinetic (what happens to a drug in the body) and safety study on CBD. Following this study, Dr. McGrath began two pilot studies involving owner-enrolled dogs with poorly controlled epilepsy and painful osteoarthritis. These have now ended and results on the epilepsy study are scheduled for publication in the Canadian Veterinary Journal later this year. One of its big-picture findings: 89 percent of dogs who received CBD had a reduction in the frequency of seizures. (McGrath and her team are now starting work on a larger epilepsy-focused project.)
• The results of a study led by Dr. Joe Wakshlag, associate professor and section chief of nutrition at Cornell, currently under review for publication, also contribute to the knowledge bank. According to the abstract, its objectives were to “determine the basic oral pharmacokinetics, determine safety and assess efficacy of CBD oil in managing pain in dogs with osteoarthritis.” The Canine Brief Pain Inventory and Hudson activity scores reportedly showed a clinically significant reduction in pain and an increase in activity with CBD treatment.
• Dr. Dawn Boothe, director of clinical pharmacology at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, is studying CBD as a treatment for epilepsy in dogs and is also developing an assay to measure cannabinoid toxicity and efficacy.
• Dr. Jamie Peyton, chief of small animal integrative medicine at University of California, Davis, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, led a late 2017/early 2018 study on the current use of cannabis with companion animals. By anonymously filling out an online questionnaire, participants provided the study with data that can be used to inform future research (the study is now closed).
A Research Roadblock
CBD could prove to be a life-improving medication for dogs, but without the backing of clinical research to establish its effectiveness and dosing, it’s hard to know for sure. That research is hindered by cannabis’s federal Schedule 1 drug classification, which puts traditional academic research institutions in a legally ambiguous position. It also makes funding harder to come by; much of the work currently underway is sponsored by companies who produce CBD products.
In the future, we’ll look into questions of CBD and the law, delve into the role veterinarians can play in your decisions and provide a glossary of terms to help guide you through this evolving landscape. For now, check out The Bark’s informative CBD & Dogs section.
A Eureka Moment
As described in an article on Labroots, “Scientists discovered the brain’s opiate receptor in 1973, but it was not until 1988 in a government-funded study at the St. Louis University School of Medicine that Allyn Howlett and William Devane determined that the mammalian brain has receptor sites that respond to compounds found in cannabis. These receptors … turned out to be the most abundant type of neurotransmitter receptor in the brain.”
calm that bark 300 mg/ 1 oz
Our tinctures contain a high percentage of CBD and have little odor or taste, making it perfect for your best friend’s palate.
All of our CBD is grown on a certified organic farm with no GMOs or pesticides & 3rd party lab tested.
Blooming Culture creates products that are non-toxic and safe for animals. Some pets will respond better to lower/higher doses depending on their own endocannabinoid system. Closely monitor your pet and adjust amounts accordingly.
calm that purr 125 mg/ 1 oz
calm that roar 500 mg/ 1 oz
Calm That Bark 2X 300 mg/ 2oz
calm that roar 2X 500 mg/ 2 oz
Organic CBD infused Sunflower Butter | Treat me 125 mg/ 8 oz
calm that purr 125 mg/ 1 oz
calm that roar 500 mg/ 1 oz
Calm That Bark 2X 300 mg/ 2oz
calm that roar 2X 500 mg/ 2 oz
Organic CBD infused Sunflower Butter | Treat me 125 mg/ 8 oz
I have been giving the CBD oil to my very hyperactive and anxious dog for about 2 weeks. I believe the oil has really helped him adjust to his crate as well as keeping him calmer throughout the day. He seems to sleep much better.
Hugo loves his CBD! He’s a rescue with a touch of anxiety from his past, as well as being prone to joint soreness as a bulldog mix. Adding Blooming Culture to his food daily keeps him even-keel and helps his separation anxiety. We couldn’t go without it!
I have only used it for 6 days so I have not seen any results. She doesn’t mind the dropper & she seems to like the taste. She LOVED the treat that came in the package.
Aly absolutely loves blooming culture cbd, she licks it right from the dropper and will look forward to getting her daily dose! Aly is a senior with mild seizures and we’ve found this product has helped to decrease its frequency and increase her comfort. Great product!
Peanut is a very anxious dog. It is difficult for me to leave the house, even to put the garbage out, without her panicking. I give her one dropper of CBD oil with peanut butter on a lick mat in the morning and it has made a tremendous difference.
Murphy is one of those dogs who is afraid of his own shadow. Every little thing is very startling; he has a difficult time calming down. We tried a few different things but by far Calm That Bark is Murf’s (and our) favorite. It helps him get over the terror hump and live his little doggy life a little calmer (without acting drugged- his energy level is still high, just more even).
My Lucy has been taking the CBD oil for 2 years now. She is 16 1/2 years old. She has so much mobility when she walks. Sometimes she gets to rowdy and I would have to stop her so she won’t hurt herself. I love the Blooming Culture and she does too.
So helpful with the excessive fireworks this year, give this to her twice a day along with a treat at night and Bella sleeps through the night peacefully, thank you for making an amazing product.
S. suffers from terrible fireworks anxiety and Calm that Bark has made a world of difference. While she still isn’t completely relaxed, she is now well enough to be able to go outside to use the potty and walk around the house, instead of just cowering in a corner of the house.
My friend RAVES about CBD oil for her dogs. So when I got Evie, that was one of the first things I knew I needed to buy. We have been using the oil for about 2 weeks now and I’ve definitely seen a change in Evie. Less barking when meeting other dogs and when she’s in her crate and she has been sleeping better!
This has helped my 13 year old dog with his anxiety so much. I’ve seen a difference in his behavior in just a few weeks. He’s a lot calmer and doesn’t shake as much when having to go on car rides. Hoping to see further improvement with continued use.
Calypso is a 2 yr old Catahoula, Shepard, Mut. She was having major anxiety after our home was broken into and we installed a security system. She would get herself so worked up over anyone coming to the house or any small noise that she would make herself sick. We tried taking the beeping noise off the security system and work with her again on people entering her home who were welcomed. When we finally ordered some Calm that Bark and tried it on her food, she started to return to her happy-go-lucky self again. She even enjoys calmly riding on the boat again! I can’t recommend this enough to any of my human friends who’s furbabies are suffering from anxiety!
I have been using this with my pups for a while and Calm that Bark really helps my 9 year old pup Atlas. He has some anxiety issues which he takes meds for, but this CBD oil helps to calm him even more. He tends to bark at just the slightest noise and I notice a difference when he is regularly getting his drops of “Calm that Bark”. They also really love the turkey treats.
My pup Wilson Is a bit of an anxious pup. I give him a few drops of blooming culture every morning and night and it helps him calm down. My other pup Atlas barks at everything and while this doesn’t keep him from barking I do notice that fewer things set him off when he gets his CBD oil from blooming culture. I truly feel it has helped to make them both happier pups.
At 14, Honey Bear has been taking CBD for the past several months to deal with confusion, pain, and general malaise. First we started with a paste in a tube, but when that ran out we switched to Blooming Culture and she loves it! She is more relaxed and aware, and she has gotten her spunk back. We will do anything to keep her happy and healthy. Thanks Blooming Culture!
We tried this out for our 5-year old Bichon/Shih Tzu with anxiety, and he’s a different dog when we give it to him; he’s way more active outside, less nervous/scared, and generally more relaxed and chill inside. We will always have this stuff on hand!
To say Blooming Culture CBD oil has saved Tinley’s life is not an exaggeration. She was rescued almost a year ago. She’s struggled with anxiety since we brought her home. She always seemed on edge and was scared of everything. In addition, she suffers from arthritis. Three months ago we started her on Calm That Bark and the difference was noticeable within the first 24 hours. She now sleeps calmly through the night and is able to be around other humans without severe panic. We’d almost started to take the improvements for granted when we accidentally forgot to give it to her for a few days. She reverted back to old, anxious behavior: hiding in the other room, not letting us touch her, and we realized our mistake. Never will forget again. Having a rescue is absolutely tough, and we still have issues and setbacks, but BC CBD has allowed our sweet girl to settle in to the retirement she deserves. Thank you.
My dog, Lucy is 15 1/2 years old. Since taking the Blooming Culture she has had so much energy and feels good. I noticed that she can move around so much more. The best part is that she will lick the CBD oil right off my finger. She loves the taste. Thank you Blooming Culture!!
We bought this product with hopes that it will help our super anxious 4 legged car rider. Been giving it to my dog twice a day for about 2 weeks and today (day 14) she was finally able to ride in the car without shaking and crying. She’s still panting but I have a feeling that this too will subside. So thankful to have found this product!
My Rosie has a melon size cancerous tumor. CBD has helped her calm down along with pain pills. I also have Midge my toy poodle has epilepsy and haven’t put her on meds yet. We are trying this first and so far so good. We appreciate your product completely.
Blooming Culture is a company that has created a quality product with inspirational backing. I’ve tried other CBD products, and they gave my pup some tummy problems. I learned that the origin of the oil is VERY important. BC is an oil I can trust! My dog Pippa was a rescue with a rough history. She has severe anxiety and was very nervous in new situations. Since using Blooming Culture, Pippa is able to handle new people and places with more ease. She is not perfect, but now training and coping is possible!
Juno (the gray one), 11 years old, has severe arthritis and has difficulty getting up. We started giving her Blooming Culture calm that bark CBD oil in December 2018. We’ve noticed a huge difference in her getting up. She’s getting up quicker and may have a bit more pep in her step! She doesn’t mind getting drops and the treat me sunflower seed butter but she LOVES the sample treats that came with our order. The other 2, Lily, 11 yrs old, and Rocket, 7 yrs old, also LOVE the sunflower seed butter. They can’t wait for CBD infused treats .
My husband and I foster and adopt senior dogs (and a cat!). All of our dogs have special needs ranging from terminal cancer to diabetes to inflammatory bowel disease to intervertebral disc disease, and all the other typical ailments of old age. Blooming Culture has helped all of our dogs feel better in one way or another and we are so glad to have found it!
Love this brand! Its organic and pesticide free, tested, and a portion of sales is donated! It also ACTUALLY works! My boy cat, Sgt. Pepper, suffers from anxiety and used to hide in my room most days, flinch at noises, and would lick himself nasty hotspots in his armpits and hind limbs. I contacted Adreana and she helped me with all my worries with trying CBD for my cat, and also helped with dosing. He’s been taking his tincture twice a day mixed in his food for the last 5 months, and he has been hotspot free for about 4 months now! He is more active and plays more too! Love it love it! Thank you Blooming Culture, and Adreana, for guiding me and making a genuinely good product that not only works, but gives back and is organic. Win win win!
Barney is our new foster dog who came to us with skin issues and anxiety. We started him on Blooming Culture CBD Oil (with the rescue’s approval) and are blown away with how well he has been doing. He seems so calm, content and comfortable now, he’s like a different dog. We also use Blooming Culture for all of our personal dogs after years of trialing different CBD brands and Blooming Culture is like no other. We are so happy to have found a solution for all their special needs. ❤️
Our Calm that Bark CBD oil is helping our pup Pippen so much! We’ve been using it for her anxiety consistently 2x daily for the last 2.5 weeks. Since she’s super scared of new people and gets defensive at home, that’s been the true test. My family visited from out of town and we had friends over this past weekend! She did sooo much better than usual. She was still nervous, but way less reactive. She calmed down within minutes versus being on edge the entire time. I’m hoping the consistency over the next few months will help her combat some of her separation anxiety when I’m gone too! Also, I’m a big fan of the simplicity of the dosage. We’ve tried other CBD oils in past, and trying to give her the correct amounts was always a challenge. I love that it’s so straightforward now which makes it way easier for everyone.