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January 1, 2020

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many components of the cannabis plant.

Another well-known component of the cannabis plant is THC, the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties.

The ratio of these components in the plant varies. Low THC cannabis is called hemp and high THC cannabis is called marijuana or just cannabis. Most CBD products are derived from hemp and not from marijuana. Regardless of which plant it is derived from, CBD is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant that works in conjunction with other non-THC components to provide the health benefits.

What Is CBD Used For?

Generally documented successful human medical ailments helped by CBD include chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, cancer (reduction of tumor and relief from cancer treatments), psychosis, Parkinson’s disease, ADHD and epilepsy. With the exception of osteoarthritis and refractory epilepsy, very few veterinary studies on the efficacy of CBD oil exist.

Anecdotal reports of veterinary use include pain management, anxiety and behavior problems, epilepsy, cancer (treatment and side effects of treatment) and inflammatory bowel disease. It appears to be well-tolerated with potential reported side effects including liver enzyme elevation, diarrhea, and sedation.


Dosage recommendations very widely with a high margin of safety. A range of 0.1 to 0.5 milligrams/kilogram body weight should be administered twice daily for anxiety and mild pain, mild epilepsy, anxiety and restlessness. For refractory epilepsy, severe pain and anti-cancer effects, higher doses in the range of 1-5 milligrams/kilogram body weight have been used.

How Do I Select A Product?

Not all oils are the same; you’ll want high-quality CBD oil to have a better chance of it working.

Don’t price shop

The higher the quality and purity, the higher the cost. You don’t want to go for a cheaper option that could have toxic substances such as pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. Make sure your CBD oil is free of additives.

Get a certificate of analysis

The manufacturer should provide a certificate that tells you the amount of CBD that is in the product. Many CBD oils contain only small amounts of CBD. You’ll also want to make sure there is little or no THC in the product.

Buy CBD as a tincture

You can buy dog treats containing CBD, but the best form to administer is a tincture. It is absorbed and used better by the body in this form and is easier to control dosing.

Written by Kari Hayeck, DVM, earned her DVM degree from Cornell University.