Understanding the Side Effects of CBD in your Pet

A Summary of the JAHVMA scientific report
A Report of Adverse Effects Associated With the Administration of Cannabidiol in Healthy Dogs

As a great pet owner it’s important to pay attention to the needs and wellbeing of your furbaby! One of the most common questions we receive from fur parents using ABSC Organics CBD Oil is related to side effects of CBD and what to watch for when adding it to their pet’s regimen. There are several reports from clinical trials, but we realize most people don’t have the time to read through an entire scientific report. To help you along, we’re providing a quick summary of a scientific report published in the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (JAHVMA) from 2018 called A Report of Adverse Effects Associated With the Administration of Cannabidiol in Healthy Dogs. This is a brief overview of what we know about side effects and will hopefully provide you with some peace of mind when giving your pet CBD.

The study lasted 6 weeks and involved 30 healthy dogs, all within the same age range (4-5 years) with an average weight of 13kg (about 29 lbs). In order to establish a normal baseline and to rule out any illnesses that might cause side effects that could be mistaken as side effects from the CBD, all the dogs had their blood tested before the trial began.

The 30 dogs were randomly assigned to receive CBD in one of three ways: 

  • oil (commonly called tincture), 
  • capsule – meaning the CBD is distributed in a pill like outer shell, or 
  • transdermal cream applied to the outer ear. 

Stomach upset was the most frequently observed side effect in the study. Six of the dogs receiving CBD through capsules or oil did have a single episode of vomiting, but it was determined that the vomiting was not related to the formulation of the CBD or the dose amount. One of the potential reasons was due to outside stressors such as a change to their living environment and diet. A few of the dogs also experienced diarrhea and were treated for that while maintaining the CBD regimen for the study. Other abnormal clinical signs that were not attributed to the use of CBD, such as elevated body temperatures, nasal discharge, and mild weight bearing lameness, occurred in less than 33% of the animals involved in the trial. 

While the scientists did their best to control the environment, it is very possible that the side effects such as diarrhea could’ve been caused by an extraneous variable, such as a change to the dogs’  housing facility, treats being given during their exercise periods, etc. The only clinically significant finding was an increase in the alkaline phosphatase enzyme activity (ALP). ALP is an enzyme found in the bloodstream that helps break down proteins, the liver being one of the main organs for ALP enzyme activity. An increase in activity can be cause for some concern, especially in animals that have preexisting conditions affecting the liver, which is why it’s important to take your pet in for check ups and when possible get their blood work done to monitor.

There is still a lot to learn when it comes to side effects of CBD for our pets, but this clinical trial established key data that shows CBD to be safe for your pet. Please always consult your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, supplements, or other parts of their regular regimen. Click here to learn more about other CBD clinical trials that have been supported by Applied Basic Science.