CBD for Pain Management: 8 Things to Know Before Buying

Dog tasting a dropper of CBD for pain relief

If you’re in the market for CBD, you don’t have to look long to find a product or brand touting an assortment of potential benefits. 

The challenge is not finding CBD but rather sorting through the very long list of companies and products available. 

Pet parents of senior or athletic dogs may have considered CBD — which stands for the naturally occurring compound cannabidiol — for its potential in helping with pain management, but may not know where to begin. 

Here are some CBD basics to help you sort through all the options and figure out what may help your pet: 

    1. CBD comes in different forms. CBD products often come as an oil, in treats, and topical salves and balms. For specific conditions or functions, they may also include other ingredients — chondroitin in CBD joint health treats, for example. If the product you are considering contains other ingredients, make sure your pet doesn’t have any allergies or sensitivities to the other ingredients. 

    2. Research is showing promise in CBD for assistance in pain management such as nerve pain and arthritis. But more research is needed — especially for how it may work in dogs. However, there are plenty of pet parents who say CBD has helped with their pet’s mobility. Part of its benefit may come from its potential as an anti-inflammatory. 

    3. CBD can come from both hemp and cannabis (aka marijuana). CBD oil from cannabis will likely contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound known for giving “a high” from marijuana use. CBD oil derived from hemp should not contain more than 0.03% THC or result in psychoactive effects. Dogs will likely not enjoy psychoactive effects. Most CBD pet products are labeled as hemp-based. 

    4. CBD products are largely unregulated. The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved one cannabis-derived and three cannabis-related drug products for various conditions in humans, including some forms of seizure. But products that are not approved as drugs by the FDA have not undergone a review process — including figuring out if they work and proper dosage. 

    5. Vetting of individual products and companies is a must. Because of the lack of oversight, pet parents must do their homework when considering a particular product. Ask questions of the company/manufacturer and do your research. 

    6. Quality matters. When researching a CBD product, look for a company that provides a certificate of analysis (COA) from a third-party lab containing information about what’s in the product. Read through it and make sure it supports what’s on the label, and that there are no contaminants like pesticides and residues from solvents. Look for organic products whenever possible and products that use C02 extraction rather than solvent extraction, which is cheaper but may use harsh solvents that can leave a residue. 

    7. Go with full spectrum. A full spectrum CBD product means it will contain a full spectrum of potentially beneficial compounds that are present in the hemp plant. It is thought that these compounds work better together for an “entourage effect” than if the CBD compound is extracted and isolated.

    8. Start slow. Once you’ve decided on a product, it will likely have a recommended dosage on the label. Start at a lower dose and monitor your dog for any side effects or progress. If your dog does well on a lower dose, stick with that. 

Find CBD solutions for your dog here.

(Photo by Alex Navarro on Unsplash)