You’ve probably arrived here because perhaps your pup has sniffed into the pack of CBD treats you stored away. Either that or you’re finally converting to the CBD train and concerned about a possible fatal crash.
Understandably, CBD oil brings up these associations with other substances and the unfortunate results from taking too much. But CBD doesn’t really work like that. And quite frankly, there are a lot of misconceptions that have emerged as CBD has increased in popularity and consumption
The thing is, you can’t really overdose from CBD oil, but there is such a thing as “too much CBD”.
And because all pets are different, you may get a variety of adverse reactions if your dog accidentally consumes too much CBD.
But let’s dive into this a bit more.
Don’t worry, CBD is not psychoactive
Too often CBD is misinterpreted with its close cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which will give you a high when consumed with cannabis or marijuana. CBD definitely is a mood-altering substance and works in conjunction with THC and other cannabinoids to regulate anxiety, pain, seizures, and other brain activities. It’s been raved by pet owners to work wonders on their dog’s seizures, arthritis, anxiety, and more.
The current research on CBD
While CBD is promoted as a natural way of relaxing anxiety or reducing painful symptoms, it still does not equate to the high that marijuana causes. Current research demonstrates that CBD is beneficial for relieving symptoms of anxiety, depression, inflammation, and pain. But the insight into how CBD affects dogs is still underway. What we do know so far is that CBD interacts through the endocannabinoid system (humans and dogs have one) which are a series of receptors that bind to cannabinoid molecules in CBD and then contribute to moderating functions of homeostasis – meaning the stability of our internal environment. So things like inflammation, stress, metabolism, and motor control. Given that CBD functions molecularly, it’s unlikely to fully harm this system.
Given the current research, many believe that any adverse symptoms from CBD derive from impurities in CBD products, rather than the CBD itself. Another possibility for these symptoms could be an intolerance to the carrier oil used. According to CBD Oil for Dogs, MCT oil, for example, can cause temporary upset stomach issues in some.
For now, CBD for pets is not yet approved by the FDA in pet products, meaning there’s little oversight of its production. That’s why careful purchasing choices and other safety considerations need to be carefully thought through to ensure no unwanted or potentially harmful ingredients have been used in the production of your dog’s CBD.
What happens if my dog takes too much CBD?
Now for the side effects, because that’s what you’re really here for, right? While CBD hasn’t yet demonstrated life-threatening or dangerous side effects, there will be some unwanted, uncomfortable reactions in your doggo if they digest intense concentrations. But you may even see mild side effects depending on your dog, and that’s a sign you’re also giving them too much. In the event of this occurring, the discomfort may be more temporary.
Anyways, eating a whole bag of treats or a bottle of oil is not a recipe for a happy stomach, so your dog is likely to feel pretty ill from ingesting large amounts of CBD all at once. But rest assured, there’s no reason to be overly scared. While CBD products could cause these harmful side effects, it’s nothing that can’t be taken care of.
If your dog develops any symptoms from taking too much CBD, they will likely be:
- Urinary incontinence
- Ataxia (coordination issues/drunk like state)
- Hyperesthesia (hyper-sensitivity/overwhelming sensations)
If you start to notice a sudden onset or uptake in any of the above, the best thing to do is comfort your dog and call your veterinarian.
Again, serious cases of these symptoms are unlikely, but the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center has reported an increase in calls about CBD and other cannabis consumption by dogs. If your dog is showing any signs of illness following an overly large dose of CBD, always take them immediately to the vet. A more significant reaction may require IV fluids, antiemetic, or specialist nursing care.
Although, the best-case scenario would be not getting to this point at all. As such, there are measures you can take to prevent this from occurring.
How can I prevent my dog from taking too much CBD?
You should always take precaution and review safety considerations before putting your dog on any new supplement or treatment. In the case of CBD, here are some safeguards you can take to reduce any chances of accidental CBD overdrive.
Administering appropriate dosage as much as possible based on your dog’s weight and pain level;
Starting with a low CBD dosage and slowly building a bit more if needed over time. Studies on using CBD for dogs with arthritis or seizures start with a lower dose of about 1-2 mg per pound of bodyweight, twice daily;
Never exceeding the highest recommended dosage; and,
Hiding the CBD out of reach from your dog.
Scientific research is still being conducted, but the general consensus so far is that CBD is safe and well-tolerated by dogs according to most anecdotal testimonials. It’s been raved about for its healing, calming, and anti-inflammatory properties by dog owners everywhere.
Because the CBD market isn’t well regulated yet, it’s up to you as a dog owner to take matters into your own hands as much as possible. Do your research and proceed with caution. Other derivatives that aren’t always listed on a label can be toxic for dogs. Look for CBD oil specifically derived from hemp with very low levels of THC and when in doubt, go to your vet.