So when shopping—whether online, in a retail store, or a dispensary—look for products that claim to follow Good Manufacturing Practices or that have a seal from the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC). These labels increase the chance that a product has been made with safe ingredients in a clean, high-quality environment, says Stephen Cital, a veterinary technician, cannabis consultant, and co-founder of the Veterinary Cannabis Academy.
Fortunately for cannabis-curious pet-owners, the spread of legalization across the country is giving doctors enough resources (nerve) to take research into their own hands. In Colorado, Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist and assistant professor at Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, has completed two clinical studies since 2016 on the effects of cannabidiol in dogs with osteoarthritis or epilepsy. In January, the American Kennel Club granted Dr. McGrath $350,000 for her to begin a three-year crossover study of CBD for epilepsy in dogs. Legislation has been proposed in New York and California that would establish guidelines and allow veterinarians to legally discuss the use of cannabis products with their clients.
In 2016, she conducted some of the first studies looking into basic questions about how CBD is metabolized by dogs and whether the compound poses any immediate health threats. “There were no studies on CBD [and pets] at that time," says McGrath, who published two of her CBD studies in 2018. "But people were using it and they were desperate. I [thought] we need to start answering these questions.”
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Yes, unfortunately we get this type of question frequently from internet trolls!The first misunderstanding here is rooted in thinking that hemp is the same as pot. Hemp is a form of the cannabis plant that does NOT have the psychoactive THC chemical; i.e., you cannot get high off hemp. To be considered hemp, a cannabis plant must have less than 0.3% THC. A good analogy is to compare grape juice to wine; when grape juice ferments, it becomes alcohol. If it doesn’t contain alcohol, it’s just grape juice. Your dog can no more get high from our PurCBD+ or hemp than you could get drunk by drinking grape juice.
Extraction: The method by which CBD oil is processed from hemp plants can be very telling. Some manufacturers extract and process the oil using toxic materials like propane or butane; in most cases, these oils are cheaply priced. Safer extraction and processing agents include ethanol, which cleans the hemp plant of unwanted toxins; and supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, which strips harmful materials from the plant by changing the carbon dioxide’s temperature and pressure settings.
The drug warrior’s strategic retreat: Give ground on CBD while continuing to demonize THC. Diehard marijuana prohibitionists are exploiting the good news about CBD to further stigmatize high-THC cannabis, casting tetrahydrocannabinol as the bad cannabinoid, whereas CBD is framed as the good cannabinoid. Why? Because CBD doesn’t make you high like THC does.
There is no scientific evidence or research on CBD as an effective treatment for migraine—in large part because it has not been formally studied. However, it may still be a viable topical option for some patients with joint and muscle pain associated with migraine. “If you have a lot of neck pain or soreness, it is perfectly reasonable to use CBD oil. It may even prevent nausea and vomiting,” Dr. Silberstein says.
It’s not about quality, either; even the finest CBD-infused coffee won’t change the mind of substance purists like myself. Let’s say you’re drinking CBD coffee to relax—hey, that’s great… but that caffeine isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the only feasible situation CBD coffee would work would be if the coffee in question was decaffeinated… but we all know that only dads drink decaf. CBD coffee is the culmination of two great things Frankenstein’d together to make one mediocre product, like Julian Lennon or those shoes that look like socks.
In the meantime, some physicians are forging ahead — and cashing in. Joe Cohen is a doctor at Holos Health, a medical marijuana clinic in Boulder. I asked him what CBD is good for, and he read me a long list of conditions: pain, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, intestinal cramping, anxiety, psychosis, muscle spasms, hyperactive immune systems, nervous system degeneration, elevated blood sugar and more. He also claimed that CBD has anti-cancer properties and can regenerate brain cells and reduce the brain’s levels of amyloid beta — a kind of protein that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. I asked for references, noting that most of these weren’t listed in the Academies report or a similar review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “I think you just have to Google search it,” he said. It’s true that a preliminary study found hints that cannabinoids might reduce beta amyloid proteins in human brain cells, but the study was done in cells grown in a lab, not in people. As for cancer, the FDA sent warning letters last year to four companies that were selling products that claimed to “prevent, diagnose, treat or cure” cancer.
But here’s why CBD appeals to some who would never smoke a joint after dinner: Take a few milligrams of CBD as, say, an oil slipped onto the tongue or a piece of candy, and it tastes unmistakably like cannabis, which is to say, slightly minty and herbaceous, and just a little funky. But cannabidiol’s effect is startlingly anticlimactic. It’s weed without the high.
CBD oil derived from whole-plant marijuana has seen promising results for numerous medical treatments, including treating children with epilepsy. (In 2013, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduced the world to a child who after using CBD oil went from having 300 seizures a month to only two.) On April 19, the AP reported that an FDA panel is reviewing a a pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil made from whole-plant marijuana called Epidiolex, a possible treatment for rare forms of pediatric epilepsy. If approved, it would be the first marijuana-made medication sold on the U.S. market. A day later, on the marijuana community’s “high holiday,” April 20, New York Senator Chuck Schumer introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level. Forecasters are predicting that legal cannabis in the U.S. will be outselling soda by 2030.
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These products are from places like Xi’an Lyphar Biotech Co. Ltd., which doesn’t mention that it’s one of the largest CBD sellers on Alibaba on its website, let alone reveal where it’s sourcing its CBD from. There are big companies and small companies, companies that provide elaborate chemical charts and companies that have no online presence at all. There are companies that run their goods — either as raw materials or as consumer-stage final products — through lab tests. There are those that say they do but provide no information on what the labs found or which labs tested their products.
No, there is no evidence on record to suggest that dogs (or humans) can have a fatal overdose of CBD. However, if your dog does happen to gobble up some extra pet CBD, they may need a nap! CBD and other cannabis compounds contain biphasic properties, which means that effects can differ depending on the amount of CBD that has been taken. For example, if you’re seeking to stimulate your pup, then a small serving size of CBD will be the most effective. For a more sedative effect, higher serving sizes of CBD work best. While taking a large serving of CBD will not make your dog ill, it is important to start out with small serving sizes and observe the effect it has on your pup, so that you can determine the best CBD serving size for the desired outcome.
I’ve been hoarding Girl Scouts Thin Mints lately (they’re especially good if you freeze them)—the chocolate is fine, but the peppermint oil is what makes them addicting enough to go through a whole sleeve without getting sick of them. I’m also trying to cut down on sugar, though, and while it would be a huge stretch to say that this peppermint oil-infused clear lip balm is a direct replacement for Girl Scout cookies, it really does have a very satisfying full-mouth taste of peppermint. The CBD oil, which soothes and facilitates healing at the same time, makes this formula an ideal balm for outdoor enthusiasts and or just those who are prone to painfully chapped lips. For those of us with long-hair-don’t-care, it’s not sticky—as a matter of fact, the formula is on the stiff side and won’t cause your hair to stick to your face, a welcome departure from many balms.
But this summer’s passage of the Farm Bill, which legalized the sale of industrial hemp, has made the products increasingly easier to make and market. There are countless companies and rogue social-media pages selling CBD products on and offline, offering free trials before a monthly subscription, for example. Some of these businesses also make homemade CBD edibles for humans, and then re-market those same products for pets.
Dry mouth: As is the case with many other hemp- and marijuana-based products, CBD oil often leads to a condition known as dry mouth (or cottonmouth). This is likely due to cannabinoids altering receptors in the lower jaw that trigger salivation. In most cases, mild discomfort and stronger-than-average thirst are the only issues associated with dry mouth.
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