CBD Oil is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis that is showing potential benefits for cancer symptoms, seizures, inflammation and anxiety
If you get permission to access CBD Oil for your dog (it is possible but not easy), or are in a legal jurisdiction, it is important to consider the following in terms of product quality:
a) know its origin and how it was made – preferably by a world class, professional manufacturer that provides analysis of the product so that you have no doubt as to its potency and constituents. While I know of well meaning individuals out there making CBD Oil, I am not confident in their ability to analyse the constituents and potency of the product and with dogs it is vital to not have unexpected levels of THC (see special note below).
b) know its potency – CBD Oil potencies are generally measured in milligrams (mg) per millilitre (ml) when it is premixed with a carrier oil (such as MCT oil or olive oil – do not get macadamia oil!). A 50ml bottle may have 500mg or 1000mg, or as low as 300mg or as much as 1500mg. The point is that they vary and it is important to know what strength you are giving your dog.
CBD Oil potency is also determined by the CBD levels of the initial plant material. A cannabis sourced CBD oil will generally have potency of around 15-30% (I’ve seen average of 20%) while CBD Oil from industrial hemp will have much lower levels of CBD in the plant material.
c) know the process – CBD Oil is generally either ‘raw’ or ‘decarb’. Decarb is short for decarboxylated which is a heating process used to gently change the chemical structure from CBDA to CBD. Some say the raw is more energising (likened to raw food) and the decarb is more calming and soothing. I didn’t notice any difference (for myself or Ruby) but Ruby was already very calm and it may be that those more sensitive or anxious may benefit more from the decarb. More research to do there but when in doubt go decarb.
- I started with a CBD oil, whole plant extract paste and initially gave small amounts of this (grain of rice size) to her every 4-6 hours on pieces of cheese or apple, or mixed it in with peanut butter and spread it across her gums. I did this mostly outside of meal times to try to maximise efficiency of uptake to the system.
- As I did more research I learned the value of mixing the paste with olive oil or coconut oil as it is apparently fat soluble and this made it more bioavailable to her body. Again, I gave it to her outside of meal times.
- Further research, and access to a new product, eventually led me to dose her with a premix of CBD and MCT oil delivered rectally (yes, in her bottom) via a 1 ml needleless syringe. I gradually increased the dose to give her 2-4 mls per day (1ml per dose) depending on how much I had left and whether I had access to more.
- The reason for the change to rectal dosage was that some studies and/or experts were suggesting that this method was more effective in the CBD crossing the blood/brain barrier. While Ruby didn’t really like me doing it, she tolerated it and had been becoming less accepting of the CBD orally anyway. I made sure I had a small supply of clean, needleless syringes from the local chemist.
- I went on to give Ruby ongoing doses of CBD Oil for most of her cancer healing journey (generally 1ml per day) but it grew to be less consistent after she was in remission. In part due to my budget restrictions and sometimes lack of access to product.
- In all honesty I regret not keeping up the diligence of the dosing once Ruby achieved remission. I will forever regret that I took my foot off that pedal. I was trying to get life for us back on track and was not as focused on her ‘recovery program’ thinking that we had achieved some ‘breathing space’ – which we did for a long time.
- I have no doubt that CBD Oil was instrumental in her beating the odds for as long as we did and often wonder if she would still be hereif I had stayed consistent – I’m sure we would have had a longer road .
While CBD Oil is non-toxic it can in a few instances have negative interactions with other medications your dog may be on. This is usually due to it effecting the ability for the body to break down the other medicine in the expected timeframe (mostly due to CBD Oil being a liver protectant.. they say), but it is in no way universal. If the other drugs your dog is taking would be negatively effected by consuming grapefruit (yes, that’s a thing) then it is likely CBD Oil would also have a potentially negative interaction. Be sure to be aware of the medicines your dog is taking and ask your medical professional. Don’t be casual here. Here is a good resource to get you started.
Ultimately Ruby had two surgeries during her cancer journey – one to amputate her front, right leg (clearly a biggie) and the other to remove a mast cell tumour on her rump (still serious but not as challenging to recover from) (refer to Surgery for more details),
During her recovery from her limb amputation surgery, when her prescribed doses of Tramadol had been met and she was clearly still distressed, I periodically gave her small amounts of a full spectrum cannabis oil with incredible results. This happened again when she was recovering from her second surgery and panting a lot, after a small amount of full spectrum cannabis oil she was calm and sleeping within minutes. I found Tramadol often made her pant a lot (a known side effect and stressful for both of us) and, while I am grateful for its pain relieving abilities, it is very tough on the body and I found cannabis oil was a great complement to it.
Please note – as you probably know it is illegal in almost all jurisdictions to use or make full spectrum cannabis oil. But, even if you are willing to risk that penalty (and I’m not suggesting that you do) it is super important to please DO NOT USE CANNABIS OIL THAT HAS THC IN IT IN DOGS unless you know its potency, are experienced in dosing, know its origin and/or are being advised or supervised by a medical professional or knowledgeable expert.
THC can cause dogs to have temporary paralysis in their rear legs (static ataxia) and, while not fatal, it is very distressing for them and will require treatment by a vet. They can also become distressed if they start feeling woozy due to the THC. Please do not dabble!
Please Also Note – some premixed CBD Oils for humans use macadamia oil as the carrier oil. This is not suitable for dogs. It is not likely fatal but can cause serious vomiting, ataxia, diarrhoea and a trip to the vet. Please stay diligent and informed.
Special Note: While I FULLY support CBD Oil and am currently making efforts to contribute to the formal research and advocacy of its acceptance and use, it is important to remember that it is still not legal in most jurisdictions (see below links for current status in your area) and you should keep that in mind should you pursue it. Check this warning from the TGA about illegally importing into Australia from the US. Don’t get ripped off or into trouble. Do your own research and considerations of the potential legal risks vs potential health rewards. Good luck! May the force be with you… x
I offer this information to assist you to gather your thoughts and approach as quickly as you can. It is not medical advice but I've learned a lot and want to be the person that I wish I could have called. Please discuss with your holistic vet.
Good luck and don't give up. Love, Donna x
Endoca, based in Denmark, provides world class CBD Oil if you are able to gain permission to import to your jurisdiction. Guaranteed analysis, organically certified, whole plant extract.
Copaiba Oil is a new essential oil product from Doterra that has significant levels of a cannabinoid known as BCP (caryophyllene), which they claim has significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is a legal alternative to CBD Oil.
The use of cannabinoids in animals and therapeutic implications for veterinary medicine: A review –Veterinární medicína (VET MED-CZECH), . This review summarises the function of the endocannabinoid system and how cannabinoids are thought to interact with it. It considers the many studies considering CBD or its derivatives and their involvement or implications for veterinary applications. One of the most exciting findings was ‘the promising indications for cannabinoid use in veterinary medicine include inﬂammation and pain treatment as well as possible applications in dermatology and oncology.’
Preclinical and Clinical Assessment of Cannabinoids as Anti-Cancer Agents – Frontiers in Pharmacology, 7:361, 2016. This review looks at a wide array of CBD and THC research across a range of significant cancers, including brain, digestive (colon, stomach, liver, and pancreatic), prostate, lung, thyroid, and skin cancers. All had predominantly positive effects of THC or CBD in animal or lab studies. Special note was made that, unlike conventional chemotherapeutic agents that are toxic indiscriminately to all cells, THC (in this case) induced death only in cancer cells and further did not negatively affect rats that did not have cancer. I don’t pretend to comprehend all of the detail, but the findings and conclusions are clear and exciting.
Anti‐tumour actions of cannabinoids – British Journal of Pharmacology, July 2018. Abstract: “In addition to the well‐established palliative effects of cannabinoids in cancer therapy, phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoid compounds and inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation have attracted attention as possible systemic anticancer drugs. Results emerging from preclinical studies suggest cannabinoids elicit effects at different levels of cancer progression, including inhibition of proliferation, neovascularization, invasion and chemoresistance, induction of apoptosis and autophagy as well as enhancement of tumour immune surveillance. Although the clinical use of cannabinoid receptor ligands is limited by their psychoactivity, non‐psychoactive compounds, such as cannabidiol, have gained attention due to preclinically established anticancer properties and a favourable risk‐to‐benefit profile. Thus, cannabinoids may complement the currently used collection of chemotherapeutic agents, as a broadly diversified option for cancer treatment, while counteracting some of their severe side effects.” Registration required for full article.
A selective review of medical cannabis in cancer pain management – Annals of Palliative Medicine Journal, Vol 6, Supp 2, December 2017. This paper reviews clinical and anecdotal evidence of the effects of medical cannabis (various compositions of THC and/or CBD) in cancer-related pain management. They reviewed a selection of representative clinical studies, from small pilot studies conducted in 1975, to double-blind placebo-controlled trials conducted in 2014 and found positive and varied effects at varying doses and cancer stages. As usual, they note more studies are required for definitive results but, except for some mild side effects (and none worse than accepted side effects of opioids) it seems hugely beneficial.
Cannabis-Derived Substances in Cancer Therapy – An Emerging Anti-Inflammatory Role for the Cannabinoids – Current Clinical Pharmacology Journal, Vol 5, Issue 4, 2010. “Chronic inflammation has been associated with neoplasia for sometime, and as a consequence, reducing inflammation as a way of impacting cancer presents a new role for (cannabinoids). This article reviews the ever-changing relationship between cannabinoids and cancer, and updates our understanding of this class of agent. Furthermore, the relationship between chronic inflammation and cancer, and how cannabinoids can impact this relationship will be described.” (Requires purchase to access full article).
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