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Can CBD help dogs with cancer, and if so, how?

  • Results of a study that examined the anti-tumor effects of cannabidiol exhibited CBD’s properties that make it effective at suppressing tumor growth and destroying cancer cells(1).
  • A 2016 research published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network provided some evidence that CBD could potentially help stop harmful cell growth in tumors(2).
  • Studies reveal that the presentation, histology, and biology of many canine cancers closely parallel those of human cancers(3).
  • An understanding of how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) functions in dogs might help explain how CBD could potentially alleviate cancer symptoms like pain and inflammation, as well as induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells(4).
  • However, as the safety and risks of using CBD for dogs have not yet been researched, the American Kennel Club advises pet owners to always consult with their veterinarian before giving CBD to their dogs with cancer(5).

Best CBD Oils for Dogs with Cancer

Perfectly formulated CBD for Dogs, Cats, and other four-legged animals

Nuleaf Naturals Pet CBD Oil

Nuleaf Naturals Pet CBD Oil Bottle

CBD for dogs, cats and other four-legged friends! Our product is concentrated to approximately 50mg cannabinoids per milliliter of oil. While this product is designed for pets, it’s great for humans, too.

Check Latest Price
Read our review

Fur favorite

Spruce Dog CBD Oil 750mg

Spruce Dog CBD Oil 750mg Bottle

Spruce’s dog-friendly CBD has been specially formulated for dogs. Instead of hemp seed oil for the carrier oil, the product contains coconut oil, which is generally easier on the digestion for dogs. The taste is also milder with no flavorings, making it more likely that dogs will eat it with their food.

Using Spruce CBD for dogs is simple. All owners have to do is sprinkle the desired dose on the dog’s food at mealtime once or twice a day. Each dose should consist of about two to three drops per 20 pounds of dog weight.

Check Latest Price
Read our review

cbdMD CBD Products For Pets

cbdMD CBD Products For Pets

cbdMD also offers a product line designed specifically for our furry companions. cbdMD’s pet products are offered as tinctures, topicals, and chewables. The products are crafted using the same high-quality CBD as products intended for human consumption. Each product is designed to be easily consumed by pets of different sizes and species.

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Why Some People are Using CBD for Dogs with Cancer

An article posted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) says that there is no conclusive scientific data on using cannabidiol (CBD) to treat dogs specifically. 

However, there is anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggesting that CBD can help with neuropathic pain relief and control seizures(6)

AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Jerry Klein, says CBD is used in dogs due to its anti-inflammatory properties, benefits to the heart, appetite stimulation benefits, anti-anxiety and anti-nausea effects. 

Klein adds that CBD is also used for its potential anti-cancer benefits, although there is no definitive data on this use.

Still, there has been some evidence showing how CBD may help with cancer, like the subsequent studies that demonstrate its use as a potential anti-tumor agent. 

A study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics exhibited CBD’s antiproliferative and apoptotic features(7).

In another study, which was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, it was shown that CBD could inhibit the migration of tumoral cells(8). 

In one research, results indicated that cannabidiol could reduce tumor growth and size, as well as decrease the number of lung metastases (malignant growth) in mice(9). Their findings were published in the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Journal in 2010.

Then, a 2016 research conducted by Mellar Davis provided some evidence that CBD could potentially help stop harmful cell growth in tumors(10).

Although the studies mentioned above were not focused on cancer in dogs, the results are still promising, suggesting that CBD may also help dogs with cancer symptoms. 

How can CBD help dogs with cancer?

Studies reveal that the presentation, histology, and biology of many canine cancers closely parallel those of human cancers(11).

CBD’s potential benefits in dogs with cancer may be attributed to how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) functions similarly in the bodies of both humans and dogs.

According to the authors of a 2017 study published in the PLOS One Journal, many conditions in dogs share striking similarities with their human counterparts(12)

The said study examined the spatial distribution of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) in the central and peripheral nervous systems of healthy canines and compared them with that of humans and other animals.

The similarities were also shown in a review published in the Animals (Basel) Journal. Based on the author’s research, it is clear that the endocannabinoid system is not just present in nearly all animals, but plays an integral role in maintaining homeostasis (natural balance) for a number of organ systems(13).

It is interesting to note that the first scientific research conducted on CBD oil use in pets is the 2017 Cornell University study, where CBD oil was given to dogs with osteoarthritis two times a day(14)

In the said study, some of the conditions thought to be relieved by the consumption of hemp-based CBD dog treats and products were: joint pain, inflammation, anxiety and phobia, digestive system issue, and pruritus (itching)(15). 

Results concluded that CBD oil helped increase the dogs’ relief and activeness, which seemed to support anecdotal reports of CBD oil’s benefits for pain and anxiety(16).

Moreover, CBD has been shown to stimulate or rectify the loss of appetite and relieve inflammation by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which helps to maintain a dog’s natural balance within its body(17). 

As CBD manages to provide relief concerning the ailments mentioned above, some pet owners may be inclined to try CBD on their dogs to alleviate their pets’ cancer symptoms.

How CBD Oil Works to Help Dogs with Cancer

There has been no clinical research on the specific manner by which CBD works for dogs with cancer. 

However, an understanding of how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) functions in dogs might help explain how CBD could potentially alleviate cancer symptoms like pain and inflammation, as well as induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells(18).

The ECS regulates the functions of cannabinoids, which include the active constituents of cannabis. 

By interacting with the dog’s ECS, CBD can help effectively manage cancer symptoms, making it an alternative tool to improve the quality of life in dogs with cancer.

Studies have established the efficacy of cannabinoid agonists in reducing tumor growth and proliferation, according to a 2016 research that examined cannabinoids as anti-cancer agents(19).

Cannabinoid agonists are substances that initiate a physiological response when combined with a receptor.

Cannabinoids produce many of their cellular and organ system effects by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors(20).

The CB1 receptor structure is similar among all mammalian species. This was also mentioned in a 2019 study on the ECS of animals(21). CB1 receptors are mostly found on neurons, and they inhibit neurotransmitter release. 

Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are mostly found on immune cells. 

CB2 receptors modulate the release of cytokines (proteins made by the immune system) and cell migration. This was explained by the the authors of a 2018 PLOS One publication on ECS in canine inflammatory (central nervous system) CNS diseases(22).

They also said that many of the medicinal properties of cannabinoid compounds have been attributed to the CB2 receptor.

In a study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation in 2017, it was shown that CB2 receptors contribute to slowing down of chronic inflammatory processes and modulate chronic pain(23).

Data from a research article published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics suggested that CBD could induce apoptosis in cancer cells partially via direct or indirect activation of the CB2 receptor(24). Results showed that CBD could be a potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth. 

Cannabinoid agonists are used as palliative therapy for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, said the authors of a 2017 animal study published in the Frontiers in Pharmacology. They also added that these compounds might be beneficial in the treatment of cancer-related pain(25).

CBD as a complete treatment method for cancer in dogs has not been proven, but results from studies are encouraging. 

As the safety and risks of using CBD for dogs have not yet been researched, the American Kennel Club advises pet owners to always check with their veterinarian first before giving CBD to their dogs with cancer(26).

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Dogs with Cancer

Pros

  • There are many manufacturers from where one can get CBD oil for dogs. Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in many countries as well(27)
  • Generally, cannabis oil and CBD products are easy to use on pets when following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Compared to the traditional pain medicine for dogs, CBD provides no life-threatening side effects when administered properly. According to experts, CBD does not damage the gastrointestinal tract, liver or kidney, and the dogs are not sedated or high(28).

Cons

  • CBD has not been extensively tested for use in dogs with cancer, and no longitudinal studies on its effects have been done.
  • CBD is still categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, like heroin. Thus, vets can talk about CBD only if clients broach the topic(29).
  • Only California has passed legislation that authorizes veterinarians to discuss cannabis with their clients. As a result, vets lag behind other physicians in working with cannabis and researching its use in pets(30).
  • CBD may interact with medications, including those prescribed by veterinarians. Also, there is less testing of products marketed for pets. There have been reports of animals adversely affected by contaminated or spoiled CBD products(31).
  • There is no recommended CBD dosage for cancer in dogs. Wrong dosing may result in an overdose, which could result in dry mouth, low blood pressure, and drowsiness in dogs(32)

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Dogs with Cancer

Johanna Budwig, a German biochemist, believed that flaxseed oil could stop cancers from growing. She developed the Budwig diet, which involves eating flaxseed oil mixed with cottage cheese and milk(33)

Meanwhile, studies of flaxseed in animals have also shown that it may help with cancer by reducing tumor growth(34).

Flaxseed oil’s potential as an alternative treatment for cancer may be the reason why some pet owners use the Budwig diet on their dogs with cancer.

However, note that since there is not enough research on the topic, there is no high-quality evidence that would substantiate flaxseed’s use in cancer in dogs.

CBD oil, on the other hand, is a natural plant extract that has been shown in several studies to possess therapeutic benefits that may help treat cancer symptoms in dogs. 

Still, pet owners are advised to first consult with a veterinarian should they decide to try CBD as an alternative treatment for their dogs with cancer.

How to Choose The Right CBD for Dogs with Cancer

Once the pet parents and the veterinarian decide that they should try CBD as a treatment for the dog, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing CBD oil. 

Not all oils are the same, so looking for a high-quality CBD oil is essential to have an increased chance of it working better.

In an article posted by Veterinary Cannabis Education and Consulting, a product-neutral enterprise dedicated to providing practical education to the veterinary and cannabis industries, pet parents are given guidelines and tips on choosing the right CBD for dogs with cancer(35)

  1. Accessibility: Hemp and CBD-only products can be found in pet stores and online. Meanwhile, products that contain a higher amount of THC can be found in a dispensary. Consumers should become familiar with and abide by the cannabis laws applicable in their area where CBD would be purchased and used.
  2. Manufacturer Reputation: When looking to buy CBD products, choose a company that has high ethical standards, honest, and transparent about their manufacturing methods.
  3. The Entourage Effect: Products that utilize the 600+ of the whole cannabis plant are safer and more beneficial than those that use a single or a few compounds.
    • The plants within the genus cannabis vary greatly. Individual plants express high levels of various cannabinoids (like THC, CBD, CBG, CBN) and different variations and levels of terpenoids and flavonoids.
    • The Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for any product is essential in demonstrating which medicinal compounds are contained in the finished/on-the-shelf product(36).
    • A full spectrum product is a plant-based cannabis product containing the full complement of medicinal compounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids). Be wary of products labeled as “full spectrum” without an accompanying CoA. 
  4. Laboratory Testing: Buy products that have been tested and guaranteed to be free of contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and bacteria.
    • The U.S. Hemp Authority is one organization on a mission to certify best practices for growers and processors of hemp(37).
    • Finished product brands can earn the U.S. Hemp Authority seal, which assures consumers that the product was carefully evaluated and certified from the field to production stage and bottle. The seal is also seen as an essential piece of industry self-regulation.
  5. Safe Extraction Methods: CO2 and alcohol are the safest extraction methods for CBD products used in animals. Other techniques may leave behind toxic residual chemicals in the products that may cause adverse side effects or endanger animal health.
  6. Formulation: Tinctures are one of the most accurate and safest forms of cannabis to use in animals. Edibles for humans are not recommended to be used on animals.
    • Tinctures for animal use should be formulated in a high-quality oil base and not alcohol. Alcohol is excellent as an extraction technique but not as a tincture base.
  7. Avoid using products that have additives, like coloring, preservatives, and other herbs, that may adversely impact pet health. Xylitol is an extremely toxic additive that pet parents should be aware of and must not be given to animals.
  8. The ratio of CBD to THC: A combination of CBD and THC is usually more beneficial than using either of the compounds alone. Consult with a trusted veterinarian experienced in cannabis use to determine the ratio that would provide more significant therapeutic benefits to a dog and help with its current condition(38).

Best CBD Oils for Dogs with Cancer

Perfectly formulated CBD for Dogs, Cats, and other four-legged animals

Nuleaf Naturals Pet CBD Oil

Nuleaf Naturals Pet CBD Oil Bottle

CBD for dogs, cats and other four-legged friends! Our product is concentrated to approximately 50mg cannabinoids per milliliter of oil. While this product is designed for pets, it’s great for humans, too.

Check Latest Price
Read our review

Fur favorite

Spruce Dog CBD Oil 750mg

Spruce Dog CBD Oil 750mg Bottle

Spruce’s dog-friendly CBD has been specially formulated for dogs. Instead of hemp seed oil for the carrier oil, the product contains coconut oil, which is generally easier on the digestion for dogs. The taste is also milder with no flavorings, making it more likely that dogs will eat it with their food.

Using Spruce CBD for dogs is simple. All owners have to do is sprinkle the desired dose on the dog’s food at mealtime once or twice a day. Each dose should consist of about two to three drops per 20 pounds of dog weight.

Check Latest Price
Read our review

cbdMD CBD Products For Pets

cbdMD CBD Products For Pets

cbdMD also offers a product line designed specifically for our furry companions. cbdMD’s pet products are offered as tinctures, topicals, and chewables. The products are crafted using the same high-quality CBD as products intended for human consumption. Each product is designed to be easily consumed by pets of different sizes and species.

Check Latest Price
Read our review

How Much CBD to Give to Dogs with Cancer

There is no recommended CBD dosage for cancer in dogs. However, there are dosing guidelines that may help pet parents and veterinarians make sure that a dog gets the full benefits of CBD while in therapy.

In an article posted by Veterinary Cannabis Education and Consulting, pet parents are given guidelines and tips on CBD dosing(39).

CBD is remarkably safe. Still, it is the pet parent’s primary responsibility to inform the veterinarian about a plan to include CBD in the dog’s regimen if the dog is taking other medications.

Note that CBD may interact with other pharmaceuticals and bring about unwanted side effects. Cannabis is also not advised to be given to immature or pregnant animals.

When giving CBD oil to a dog for the first time, always start with a low dose and slowly work up to a target dose. A syringe, marked dropper, or easily-calculated number of drops is recommended for consistent and accurate dosing. 

Gradually introduce any change in brand, CBD/THC ratio, or concentration. Then, re-evaluate the dosing whenever the dog’s health condition changes.

It is essential to know how many milligrams of CBD is in each drop or milliliter of CBD oil, for example. Note that high concentrations allow easier administration in big animals. Low concentrations are safe for small animals due to their low body weight.

Arranging the home environment in such a way that the dog feels safe, secure, and comfortable at all times is an excellent idea. An animal that receives cannabis therapy is usually overly sensitive to loud sounds and bright lights.

Also, consider keeping a journal or a log of the dog’s CBD dosing, reactions and behavior. Remember to share this information with the veterinarian in charge of the dog’s therapy.

Note that the amount of CBD that could help a dog would vary, depending on the dog’s diagnosis, size, age, and other medical conditions. 

Because finding the right dose for a dog can be challenging, Dr Richter, a veterinarian and the author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide, advises that people first speak with their veterinarian before giving their pets CBD(40). 

How Dogs with Cancer Can Take CBD Oil (and Why)

Given that every dog’s needs are different, accurate dosing is crucial when using CBD products for medical reasons and looking for specific results.

There are numerous CBD product forms available in the market. Upon the advice of a veterinarian, it is essential to choose a product that best fits the dog’s needs.

 A practical solution for most pets is either a liquid formula (also called a tincture or oil) or an edible that comes in a measured dose. Both forms are easy to administer and ensure accurate and consistent dosing.

Tinctures give the most consistent, accurate dosing, especially for smaller pets. Tinctures are also likely to be either alcohol-based or oil-based. 

An oil-based liquid is a better choice for palatability and safety. It is also absorbed more effectively by the body, as indicated in a 2019 University of Minnesota study published in Epilepsia(41)

This oil-based liquid can be put directly into a dog’s mouth, in a small amount of broth or water, or mixed into a soft food treat.

For edibles, there are a wide variety of treats and foods available that are marketed for animals. However, it is more practical to choose a single-dose type of products that can be given easily, quickly, and in the pet parent’s presence, rather than pouring the CBD edible in the dog’s food bowl and walking away.

Note that mixing CBD oil in the dog’s food may not be as effective if the dog is having appetite problems since not finishing food means not getting the full CBD dose.

The CBD edibles that have a measured amount of active ingredient (i.e. CBD or other cannabinoids) per treat or piece is ideal. 

CBD treats could be a fun way to help dogs feel calm as the treats can make them feel like they are getting a reward. 

Whatever form of CBD product a pet parents choose, a consultation with a veterinarian is the best course of action to find the best treatment option for them and their dogs. 

Understanding CBD

Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae) is a type of cannabis that is one of the most recognized ancient plants. Sativa is Latin for “useful”, and it is a term that is commonly used in plant names. 

A hemp plant and a marijuana plant both belong to the plant genus cannabis. Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States but is legally accepted in 16 states and the District of Columbia for therapeutic purposes. 

When people hear the word “cannabis,” marijuana comes to mind. However, the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is only one component of the cannabis plant. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the next most prevalent of the active constituents of cannabis, and it is a significant component of medical marijuana. 

Scientists have already discovered and identified more than a hundred different cannabinoids. 

CBD is naturally found in hemp plants, and this compound is commonly used to produce CBD hemp oil supplements. CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive. CBD derived from extracted from hemp is legal under U.S. federal law(42). 

One of the primary differences between CBD and THC lies in how they affect an individual who consumes them.

Although CBD and THC are similar in chemical structure, they do not share the same psychoactive effects. THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 or CB1 receptors in the brain and produces a sense of euphoria. THC is the cannabinoid that is mostly associated with marijuana or weed

CBD, however, binds inadequately to CB1 receptors. CBD can even disrupt the binding of THC and suppress its psychoactive effect, as researchers of a 2018 study published in the Neuropsychopharmacology Journal suggest. CBD, a non-psychoactive compound, does not induce the “high” associated with THC(43)

THC and CBD are both found in the flowers, seeds, and stalks of both hemp and marijuana. Both cannabinoids naturally exist in cannabis plants in a broad range of proportions. 

THC is most abundant in marijuana, while CBD is found in substantial quantities in hemp. The CBD oil ingredient that is found in most CBD oil products is extracted from the hemp plant.

Conclusion

As the use of medical cannabis and CBD oil has become more widespread, there has been an interest in CBD as a natural remedy for treating symptoms of cancer.

Studies have shown CBD’s potential therapeutic benefits for both humans and dogs, making it an appealing alternative or supplement for treating cancer symptoms in dogs. 

However, it is essential to note that CBD use for dogs poses risks as it does for humans. The lack of regulation surrounding CBD products and the proliferation of mislabeled products in the CBD market add to the risks that pet owners have to deal with during the difficult time of cancer treatment.

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expediting work to evaluate regulatory policies related to cannabis and cannabis-derived ingredients like CBD. 

For now, the best course of action for a pet owner who has a pooch with cancer is to consult with a veterinarian before giving CBD to a furry friend or supplementing its therapy with CBD.


  1. Massi P, Vaccani A, […], and Parolaro D. Antitumor Effects of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoid, on Human Glioma Cell Lines. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics March 2004, 308 (3) 838-845; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.103.061002.
  2. Davis, Mellar P. Cannabinoids for Symptom Management and Cancer Therapy: The Evidence. Volume/Issue: Volume 14: Issue 7. Jul 2016. DOI: https://doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2016.0094.
  3. Vail DM, MacEwen EG. Spontaneously occurring tumors of companion animals as models for human cancer. Cancer Investigation. 2000;18(8):781–792; Ostrander EA, Galibert F, Patterson DF. Canine genetics comes of age. Trends in Genetics. 2000;16(3):117–124.
  4. Roxburgh CS, McMillan DC. Cancer and systemic inflammation: treat the tumour and treat the host. Br J Cancer. 2014;110(6):1409–1412. doi:10.1038/bjc.2014.90;  Soderstrom K, Soliman E, Van Dross R. Cannabinoids Modulate Neuronal Activity and Cancer by CB1 and CB2 Receptor-Independent Mechanisms. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:720. Published 2017 Oct 10. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00720.
  5. Kriss, R. (2019, Oct 27). CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Massi P. et al. op. cit.
  8. Vaccani A, Massi P, Colombo A, Rubino T, Parolaro D. Cannabidiol inhibits human glioma cell migration through a cannabinoid receptor-independent mechanism. Br J Pharmacol. 2005;144(8):1032–1036. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706134.
  9. McAllister SD, Murase R, Christian RT, et al. Pathways mediating the effects of cannabidiol on the reduction of breast cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis [published correction appears in Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 May;133(1):401-4]. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011;129(1):37–47. doi:10.1007/s10549-010-1177-4.
  10. Davis, Mellar P. op. cit.
  11. Vail DM. op. cit.
  12. Freundt-Revilla J, Kegler K, Baumgärtner W, Tipold A (2017) Spatial distribution of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) in normal canine central and peripheral nervous system. PLoS ONE 12(7): e0181064.
  13. Silver RJ. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals (Basel). 2019;9(9):686. Published 2019 Sep 16. doi:10.3390/ani9090686.
  14. Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, et al. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2018;5:165. Published 2018 Jul 23. doi:10.3389/fvets.2018.00165.
  15. Kogan LR, Hellyer PW, Robinson NG. Consumers’ perceptions of hemp products for animals. J Am Holist Vet Med Assoc. (2016) 42:40–8.
  16. CBD for Dogs. Retrieved from http://thecbdbenefits.org/cbd-for-dogs/.
  17. Iffland, K. and Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2(1), pp.139-154; Reggio, P. (2010). Endocannabinoid Binding to the Cannabinoid Receptors: What Is Known and What Remains Unknown. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 17(14), pp.1468-1486.
  18. Roxburgh CS. op. cit.
  19. Ladin DA, Soliman E, Griffin L, Van Dross R. Preclinical and Clinical Assessment of Cannabinoids as Anti-Cancer Agents. Front Pharmacol. 2016;7:361. Published 2016 Oct 7. doi:10.3389/fphar.2016.00361.
  20. Soderstrom K, Soliman E, Van Dross R. Cannabinoids Modulate Neuronal Activity and Cancer by CB1 and CB2 Receptor-Independent Mechanisms. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:720. Published 2017 Oct 10. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00720.
  21. Silver RJ. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals (Basel). 2019;9(9):686. Published 2019 Sep 16. doi:10.3390/ani9090686.
  22. Freundt-Revilla J, Heinrich F, Zoerner A, et al. The endocannabinoid system in canine Steroid-Responsive Meningitis-Arteritis and Intraspinal Spirocercosis. PLoS One. 2018;13(2):e0187197. Published 2018 Feb 6. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0187197.
  23. Niu J, Huang D, Zhou R, et al. Activation of dorsal horn cannabinoid CB2 receptor suppresses the expression of P2Y12 and P2Y13 receptors in neuropathic pain rats. J Neuroinflammation. 2017;14(1):185. Published 2017 Sep 12. doi:10.1186/s12974-017-0960-0.
  24. Alessia Ligresti, Aniello Schiano Moriello, Katarzyna Starowicz, Isabel Matias, Simona Pisanti, Luciano De Petrocellis, Chiara Laezza, Giuseppe Portella, Maurizio Bifulco and Vincenzo Di Marzo. Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics September 1, 2006, 318 (3) 1375-1387; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.106.105247.
  25. Soderstrom K. op. cit.
  26. Kriss, R. (2019, Oct 27). CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/.
  27. YourHemp. (2019, May 29).Which Countries is CBD Legal in. Retrieved from https://www.yourhemp.co.uk/2019/05/29/which-countries-is-cbd-legal/.
  28. The CBD Benefits Organization. CBD for Dogs. Retrieved from http://thecbdbenefits.org/cbd-for-dogs/.
  29. ibid.
  30. Peachman, RR. (2019, April 11). Should You Try CBD for Your Pet? Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/cbd/should-you-try-cbd-for-your-pet/.
  31. Ibid.
  32. The CBD Benefits Organization. op.cit.
  33. Cancer Research UK. (2018, Dec 21). Budwig Diet. Retrieved from https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative-therapies/individual-therapies/budwig-diet.
  34. Goyal A, Sharma V, Upadhyay N, Gill S, Sihag M. Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. J Food Sci Technol. 2014;51(9):1633–1653. doi:10.1007/s13197-013-1247-9.
  35. Veterinary Cannabis Education and Consulting. Cannabis Guidelines for Pet Parents. Retrieved from https://www.veterinarycannabis.org/guidelines-for-pet-parents.html.
  36. Veterinary Cannabis Education and Consulting. Product Terminology. Retrieved from https://www.veterinarycannabis.org/product-terminology.html.
  37. USHA. Hemp Certification Is Here. Retrieved from https://www.ushempauthority.org/.
  38. Veterinary Cannabis Education and Consulting. op.cit.
  39. Ibid. 
  40. The Truth About Marijuana and Your Dog. https://youtu.be/zpjWLTJMhu4.
  41. Birnbaum AK, Karanam A, Marino SE, Barkley CM, Remmel RP, Roslawski M, Gramling-Aden M, Leppik IE. Food effect on pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol oral capsules in adult patients with refractory epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2019 Aug;60(8):1586-1592. doi: 10.1111/epi.16093. Epub 2019 Jun 27.
  42. US FDA. (2020, Feb 13). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd.
  43. Boggs DL, Nguyen JD, Morgenson D, Taffe MA, Ranganathan M. Clinical and Preclinical Evidence for Functional Interactions of Cannabidiol and Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018;43(1):142–154. doi:10.1038/npp.2017.209.

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A quarter of all dogs will have cancer before the age of 10. However, if cancer in a dog is caught early enough, it may be treatable. The good news is that CBD oil can help pet parents deal with cancer in their dogs and ease the dog’s discomfort.

What Cancer Is

Cancer happens when cells in the dog divide and multiply too quickly. This creates growths or tumors. This happens because of genetic mutations in the cells that cause the cell’s growth to be unregulated. There are a few signs of cancer in dogs that dog owners should be aware of:

  • A wound that does not heal or go away
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Lameness or limping for no apparent reason.
  • An abnormal lump, especially one that seems to be changing

Many times, dogs will not show any of these signs during the early stage of cancer.  Because it can be difficult to find a tumor on a dog, it is recommended that all dogs see the vet at least once a year for a physical examination.

Tumors

When many dog owners hear that their furry friend has a tumor, they start to panic. However, a tumor in itself is not necessarily a problem. A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells in the dog’s body. If the tumor is benign, it is not cancerous and will not spread. However, some tumors are malignant, which means they are cancerous and can spread.

It is usually difficult to see a tumor on a dog, especially when the dog has much fur. Generally, tumors are discovered when the owner is petting the dog, or when the dog goes to the vet.

There are several different types of tumors a dog may have. Some of them are more serious than others.

  • Lipoma: These harmless tumors are made up of fatty skin cells. Pet owners do not need to be concerned about them unless they are causing the dog problems.
  • Papilloma: A Papilloma is a wart in dogs. They are not cancerous, but they can cause problems for a dog with chewing and eating.
  • Cysts: While cysts are generally benign, they can sometimes be harmful. They are filled with fluid, and sometimes they can be a sign of cancer.
  • Mast Cell Tumors: This is a type of skin cancer. Mast cells are in areas that are close to the surface of the skin, such as the nose, skin, and mouth. Their location determines how severe the cancer is.
  • Osteosarcoma: This is the most common type of bone cancer in canines. While any breed of dog can have bone cancer, larger breeds most often get it. This cancer may eventually require amputation of the affected limb.
  • Hemangiosarcoma: This is the most malignant type of tumor, and it is an extremely aggressive form of cancer. Because it usually begins in the heart or spleen, it is usually at an advanced stage before it is discovered.

How Cancer Is Treated in Dogs

By itself, CBD and medical marijuana cannot get rid of cancer in canines. Cancer requires one or more treatments:

  • Surgery: This is the most common treatment and the first step in treating cancer in dogs. This is especially effective if the tumor is only in one part of the body, and the vet can remove the entire tumor.
  • Chemotherapy: Similar to the treatment used in humans who have cancer, chemotherapy for dogs involves powerful drugs that kill the cancerous cells. Dogs may receive pills or injections directly into the tumor. The good news is that dogs generally do better with chemotherapy than humans do.
  • Immunotherapy: In this form of cancer treatment, antibodies are used to stimulate certain parts of the dog’s immune system to fight cancer. It works because cancer often sends signals that suppress this system. Immunotherapy counteracts these signals. This is considered a very safe way to treat cancer in canines.
  • Cryotherapy: If the tumor is small enough, a vet may choose to use extremely cold temperatures to kill the cancerous cells. This treatment works best on superficial areas, and so it is most often used in areas such as the eyelids, the skin, and the mouth.
  • Radiation Therapy: If surgery cannot remove the cancerous cells, a vet may recommend also using radiation therapy. In this treatment, the vet will use carefully targeted radiation to destroy cancerous cells in the area. This can either destroy cancer or significantly shrink the tumor, depending on its size.
  • Palliative Care: Sometimes, a form of cancer – such as hemangiosarcoma in the heart or spleen – is too advanced to treat. In this case, the vet will work with the pet owner to manage pain in the animal. Palliative care is offered as the dog nears the end of its life. This can involve low doses of radiation to help reduce pain and bleeding. CBD oil can also offer relief from pain to dogs with cancer.

A vet will work with the pet owner to determine which treatment or treatments will be the best for the dog that has cancer. The vet will decide which treatments are best based on factors such as the type of cancer, where it is located, and how advanced it is. These treatments are needed to fight cancer itself because CBD will not kill the cancer cells.

However, cannabis oil can be used to help treat other problems that come with cancer.

What CBD Oil Is

CBD comes from the hemp plant. It is only one of many cannabinoids found in the plant. A cannabinoid is a substance that is specific to the cannabis plant, and there are more than 60 of them in the marijuana plant. However, CBD is by far the best-known one. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a person to experience a feeling of being high. This means it is legal across the United States.

The CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and added to a carrier oil – usually hemp oil. Some CBD products that are especially for dogs have coconut oil instead, which can be easier on the digestive system. It usually comes with a dropper to allow for precise measurements of the CBD. This tincture can be added to a dog’s food at mealtimes.

Some CBD oil is full spectrum, which means it contains all the cannabinoids that are naturally found in the cannabis plant. Some research shows that this may be more effective than isolated CBD. This is because of something called the entourage effect. The entourage effect means that each cannabinoid works with the other components to produce an effect that is stronger than if any one of the components was working by itself.

The Endocannabinoid System in Dogs

Like humans and other vertebrates, dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system consists of receptors for cannabinoids that the body naturally produces. The receptors are tiny proteins that are attached to different cells throughout the body. Different stimuli cause the responders to react.

The ECS regulates everything from mood to pain to inflammation. It also maintains homeostasis by sending signals to the body that make sure it does not go too far in one direction or another.

Benefits of CBD for Canine Cancer

While a dog is going through treatment for its cancer, it may suffer from several problems related to cancer and the treatments. These problems range from loss of appetite to pain to nausea.

Endocannabinoids and Cancer

Even though CBD cannot cure cancer by itself, it may be able to help the body fight off cancer. While no studies have been done in dogs as of now, there are several studies that look at how the ECS can help fight cancer. One study in humans found that the endocannabinoid anandamide can help reduce how quickly cancer grows, spreads, and survives. The study looked at how anandamide can help reduce breast cancer, partly because anandamide enhances the response of the immune system. It can also help reduce depression and anxiety.

CBD helps anandamide stay active in the ECS for a longer period of time. This makes anandamide more effective.

Appetite Stimulation

Many times, dogs with cancer do not eat as much food as they need. Treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation may account for this loss of appetite. It is also possible that cancer itself causes the dog to be less hungry. The good news is that CBD is known for stimulating the appetite.

One reason that CBD may stimulate the appetite is that it boosts anandamide. Anandamide binds to the CB1 receptor, which is responsible for regulating the appetite.

Pain Relief

Cancer in dogs can lead to chronic pain or long-term pain. Cancer that is spreading is especially likely to cause pain. This may be caused by cancer growing into nearby tissues. As the tumor becomes even larger, it can begin to put pressure on the surrounding area. Some types of cancer tumors can even release chemicals that cause pain in the area.

Dogs may also feel pain from some of the cancer treatments. For example, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can all cause pain while they are treating cancer.

While more research is needed, CBD oil can help reduce pain from cancer in canines. One study showed that CBD helps reduce pain by targeting certain receptors in the body. CBD can also change the way the brain reacts to pain by lessening it.

CBD is also effective at soothing joint pain. Cancer in the bones can cause pain in joints near the affected area. CBD will target the dog’s pain receptors to provide relief.

Reducing Nausea

Dogs that are going through chemotherapy treatments may experience nausea because of the powerful drugs. One study showed that CBD could help reduce both nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients. CBD will likely work the same way in dogs.

Dosage of CBD

People who own dogs should consult with their dogs’ vets to determine the dosage of CBD that is right for their dogs. The right dosage will be determined by several factors, including the dog’s weight, the desired result of the CBD, and the dog’s breed.

Generally, the smaller the dog, the smaller the dose of CBD should be. For example, small dogs, such as Yorkshire terriers, should only start with one milligram of CBD per dose. On the other hand, larger dogs, such as rottweilers, can handle 20mg to 45mg of CBD per dose.

Usually, dogs should have about one milligram to 5mg of CBD per 10 pounds of dog weight in each dose. It is a good idea to start out on the smaller end of the range and gradually work up if the CBD does not seem to be working. It usually takes about half an hour before the CBD will start working in dogs.

Companies that sell CBD for dogs will generally give a recommended dose for each product. It is important for owners to monitor their dogs closely while giving CBD, especially for the first several weeks.

Side Effects of CBD

Like any cancer treatment, CBD comes with its side effects. Pet owners will usually not have to worry about these effects, but they may be noticeable if the owner accidentally gives the dog too much CBD. Having too much CBD is extremely unlikely to lead to long-term side effects in the dog. However, a few temporary effects that dogs may experience from CBD include:

  • Dry mouth: CBD can sometimes reduce how much saliva is produced. Owners can tell if their pooch is experiencing this effect because the dog will be more thirsty.
  • Drowsiness: Because CBD has a calming effect, the dog may feel so calm that it will be sleepy.
  • Lack of coordination: A dog that is extremely drowsy after taking CBD may appear to be more clumsy than usual.
  • Lower blood pressure: Sometimes, CBD can cause blood pressure to drop slightly. This may cause the dog to feel lightheaded.

The good news is that these undesirable effects are relatively minor, especially compared to the dog’s cancer. CBD oil is safe and effective to use on dogs.

Tips for Purchasing CBD Products

Because CBD is gaining so much popularity, there are more products out there than ever before. It can be difficult to find the right product to use. There are a few tips pet owners should follow when choosing CBD oil for dogs.

Cheapest Is Not Always Best

When it comes to CBD, it is important to choose one that is high-quality and free of toxins. With CBD, people often get what they pay for, and lower-priced options may contain toxins such as pesticides, heavy metals, or herbicides. Often, organic CBD oil is the best choice because it does not contain these toxic substances.

Purchasing CBD for Dogs

While CBD for dogs comes in many forms, such as treats, it is usually best to stick with the oil form. When a dog is just starting out taking CBD, the owner does not know what the ideal dose will be for the dog. Later on, as cancer progresses, the dosage may need to be adjusted further. Dog treats make it more difficult to adjust the dog’s dosage. They contain a premeasured amount of CBD, but if the dog needs to take more or less CBD than is in the treat, it is difficult to get a precise amount.

The exception to this will be if cancer or treatments have made a dog a picky eater. In this case, the dog may not eat food if it has CBD oil on it. Choosing dog treats here would be the best option.

Research the Product

Reputable CBD manufacturers will send products off to a third-party lab to be tested for toxins. If they have done this, they should be able to provide potential buyers with a certificate that says what is in each product. Cannabidiol products for dogs also should not contain any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the psychoactive element of the marijuana plant, and it is what gives users a feeling of being high.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve and set out guidelines about CBD, studies in humans suggest that it may be effective on the ECS system. While it cannot cure cancer in canines, it can help alleviate the symptoms that come with cancer and its treatments. There is also some early research that CBD may help the body fight off cancer.

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