This Is How You Dose Non-Humans
Two things have been on the rise since 2015: pet ownership and gas station CBD. Pet ownership, particularly amongst Millennials and Elizabeth Warren, has steadily increased in the last few years. Whether it was the never-ending election cycle or the anxiety economy, people have more pets than ever. They also have a lot more CBD.
While there is no data or science on CBD's impact on cats, dogs, horses and teacup pigs, most veterinarians are of the mind that if the source is safe and devoid of THC it won’t hurt (it just might not do anything). With the booming pet CBD market, here is what you need to know before you dose your non-human family members.
If you’re a vertebrate animal on earth, chances are you have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). Even sea-squirts, an animal that evolved about 600 million years ago and looks like a neon slime YouTube tutorial, has cannabinoid receptors. Do we know the function of each individual ECS and how cannabinoid receptors will react to the introduction of phytocannabinoids from cannabis and hemp by species? Fuck no! That’s why you always, always need to be careful dosing your pet—we don’t actually know what it does.
Before we get into any dosing recommendations, you need to talk to your vet first. They may have a vetted source or a brand that other patients have tried to some success. At this point all we have is anecdotal evidence, so err on the side of caution. Pets can’t tell you when they are in pain or don’t like something, so you have to be exceedingly careful. If you have poorly sourced CBD, you could hurt your pet.
The good news is: if you have a pet rat, there are some great studies for your rodent. Most studies humans cite when speaking of CBD are actually conducted on rats. Studies backing reduced inflammation, full spectrum being more effective than isolate, and anxiety reduction all used New York’s mightiest population. With that, here is a helpful graphic to help navigate dosing a cat, dog, or other vertebrate.
To dose your pet by weight:
In humans, many brands will tell you to start dosing yourself at around the same levels as your pet (.5-1mg/kg) with the expectation that you’ll increase your dose as you understand what is and is not working for you. Dogs can’t talk (yet) so go even lower and slower and be consistent as the benefits to CBD, like in humans, is cumulative. Finally, if you’re thinking “these doses look really high” because you’re above 100 pounds and chew on 15mg CBD gummy bears, the reality is most mainstream CBD dosing for humans is low. That being said, if you feel it’s working for you, continue doing what feels nice. Placebo works less on dogs so try dosing at the levels noted above.
To learn more about the power of placebo and how it has true medical value we recommend listening to this episode of Science VS with our favorite scientist, Wendy Zukerman.
Dogs appear to have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains which means the impact of intoxicants like THC are unknown. Many vets believe that in larger doses, THC is toxic. Due to hemp being an unregulated market, even with a certificate of analysis, some brands may have more than the legal .3% THC amount. With that, if you want to see what the compound CBD does for your pet, stick to the non-THC versions using broad spectrum or isolate.
While Isolates and broad spectrum are the safest, if you really want to use a full spectrum or are considering using the brand you use on yourself (not recommended), ask for the Certificate of Analysis by batch (I.e. linked to the bottle you are buying). Here you can see the terpenes (which may trigger allergies in your pet), cannabinoids (THC in large doses is toxic), heavy metals and pesticides in your tincture or treats.
The bottom line? Be careful, analyze any brand you use even more than you would yourself, and remember that dogs, cats and other animals can get contact highs. Keep the same rules you would smoking weed around them as you would with kids.