One of the main reasons many people are turning to CBD oil for pets has been due to the reputation of how safe it is.
In fact, in 2017, the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence suggested that in addition to being “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” CBD had “no public health problems” when taken as a pure extract from the cannabis plant (including both hemp and marijuana varieties).
That being said, it is also known that ALL chemical substances are potentially lethal if taken in a high enough dose. Even water can be fatal to humans if too much is consumed within too short a time period.
Although there have been no reports showing that your pet can overdose on CBD by consuming it orally, the lethal levels for CBD administered intravenously has been listed by the federal government’s Toxicology Data Network.
How much CBD is fatal for my pet?
The short answer – it would take more CBD to be fatal for your pet than your pet could ever consume at once!
A more scientific answer can be determined from three different studies listed below that have been conducted over the past 70 years.
Established toxicity levels are known as an LD50. The LD50 (LD stands for “lethal dose”) of any given chemical compound is the amount that it would take to kill 50% of test subjects at a certain dose.
- In 1946, the LD50 for cannabidiol in dogs was determined to be greater than 254 mg per kg of body weight, when administered intravenously.
- In 1975, an LD50 was established in mice at 50mg per kg of body weight, when administered intravenously.
- In 1981, a report in Toxicology and Applied Pharmaocology show the LD50 for CBD to be 212 mg per kg of body weight when administered intravenously in monkeys.
How do I know if I have given my pet too much CBD?
Administering too much CBD can cause drowsiness or in extreme cases static ataxia may manifest, where they start tipping over when they are standing perfectly still and then they catch themselves before hitting the ground. If the overdose is very serious, your pet’s blood pressure may become unstable and your pet may not be able to eat. Though not fatal, overdosing your pet may cause both of you undue stress.
Some pet owners purposely give their pets high doses of CBD to help with insomnia. Side effects such as nausea or diarrhea may happen, but they are fairly rare and mild. These side effects are generally short lived and are likely to dissipate as your pet gets acclimated to the higher dosages of oil.
As with anything you give to your dog — from chew toys to prescribed medications — it’s important to recognize when something isn’t quite right. The following side effects have been reported by humans who took CBD, so do your best to translate them to dogs.
- Dry Mouth: Your dog can’t tell you if they have dry mouth, but it’s safe to say they might increase their water intake. And increased thirst could also be a sign of other serious problems, such as antifreeze or rodenticide poisoning, or conditions like diabetes.
- Tremors: Human patients with Parkinson’s disease have reported increased tremors at high doses of CBD. Tremors of any kind should be cause for concern in a dog.
- Lowered blood pressure: High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. Even though the drop is small, it might create a brief feeling of light-headedness.
- Lightheadedness: Your dog won’t tell you if they’re feeling lightheaded, but they might seem disoriented or dizzy.
- Drowsiness: Pay attention to your dog’s sleeping patterns to see if there’s any change.
- CYP45 Enzymes: The one side effect of concern with high doses of CBD is its affinity to temporarily inhibit enzymes that metabolize drugs in the liver — grapefruit does this as well. If your pet is on a dosage-sensitive prescription drug that’s metabolized in the liver, you’ll likely want to keep CBD dosages lower and/or not dose at the same time as the other medication.Your veterinarian will be able to help you monitor your pet to ensure that CBD’s relationship with the other drug is positive.
How Much CBD Should I give my pet?
There are not many studies that describe the exact dosage of CBD to be giving our pets. However, research is available that can shed some light on the subject and allow us to make sensible conclusions about cannabinoid dosing.
A study on epilepsy in rats showed the anti-convulsant effects of 0.3 mg/kg CBD. The study compared CBD to THC and two prescription anti-convulsant drugs (Phenytoin and Ethosuximide). The study showed that CBD was the most effective “drug” tested for treating convulsions and after-discharge effects. Even at the lowest dose tested in the study (0.3 mg/kg), CBD showed dramatic results!
Based on this study we can calculate three different dosage options based on the severity of your pets condition.
The guidelines below use the lowest dosage in the above study (0.3mg/kg) as an ‘medium dose’ for pets with a chronic medical condition:
Hemp CBD Dosage Guidelines:
- Low Dose: 0.022 mg/lb or 0.05mg/kg
- Medium Dose: 0.136 mg/lb or 0.30 mg/kg
- Strong Dose: 0.22 mg/lb or 0.5mg/kg
How to calculate dosage for your pet:
[weight of pet] x [selected dose] = total CBD dosage
The dosages are typically administered 1-3 times a day, and we recommend starting in the low tier once or twice a day for the first week before slowly moving up so that your dog gets the right dose for his individual needs
After a week, incrementally increase the dose with additional milligrams until you’ve achieved the desired effect for whatever is being treated. A good rule of thumb is increase the original dose amount by 2X (from 0.25 up to 0.50 mg’s per kg) after observing signs for 2-weeks.
For preventive health and aging, the low tier of 0.022 mg/lb or 0.05mg/kg is a great place to start. There’s may be days that you want to increase to the medium tier to help with situational issues like stress or allergies.
For chronic medical conditions, a dosage that falls in the medium tier — 0.136 mg/lb or 0.3 mg/kg — is preferred by most pet owners. The one exception is clinical insomnia which is likely to require a dosage that falls into the strong tier.
If your pet is not sleeping well due to pain, discomfort, etc. a medium tier dosage may be all that’s needed. Many report better sleep even with low doses of CBD because it helps with other medical issues that may prevent restful sleep.