What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the flowers and buds of cannabis (marijuana or hemp plants). CBD, however, doesn’t produce the “high” associated with marijuana because it doesn’t contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

For further clarification, hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant but contain different levels of THC. Marijuana can contain as much as 30% THC while the hemp plant has a max of only 0.3% THC. So, while marijuana-derived CBD oil is still illegal in most states, the hemp-derived oil is legal in all 50 U.S. states.

Is Cbd legal?

CBD comes mostly from hemp plants, which contain a trace amount (0.3%) of THC. In December 2018, Congress legalized hemp in all 50 states, removing hemp from the controlled substances list. But there are still restrictions and regulations in place at the federal level that dictate where, how, and if CBD products can be sold. For example, CBD-infused edibles cannot be sold across state lines but may be legal within your state, and all CBD supplements are illegal if they are marketed with medical or therapeutic claims.

But laws are changing rapidly; it may or may not be legal to buy or possess CBD-infused products in your state, and you may or may not need a doctor's prescription, depending on laws in your community.

Contact a pharmacist or your local health or police department for more information.

CBD can also come from marijuana plants, which are abundant in THC but have less CBD. Marijuana use is legal for recreational use in 10 states and the District of Columbia. Medical marijuana use is legal in 33 states.

How is CBD used?

People typically take CBD by mouth (such as a drop or two of oil placed under the tongue, or in pills or edible products like gummies) to help reduce symptoms of many conditions, including anxiety, bipolar disorder, arthritis, diabetes, a muscle disorder called dystonia, seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Crohn's disease, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and insomnia.

CBD is also used in many other products: liquids that are vaporized and inhaled; creams that are rubbed onto aching joints; and cosmetics such as creams, lip balms, and even salt scrubs.

CBD Oil vs Hemp Oil: What’s The Difference?

Many people think CBD oil and hemp oil are essentially the same, but they’re not.

CBD Oil

CBD is an active cannabinoid compound that comes from the leaves, flowers and sometimes stems from mature cannabis plants. It’s this compound that provides the medical and therapeutic benefits you get from CBD oil.

Hemp Oil

In contrast, hemp oils are made from cannabis seeds, which contain little to no CBD (or THC, for that matter). While hemp seeds don’t share the same therapeutic characteristics as CBD, hemp oils have their own unique nutritional benefits. Many pet owners use hemp oil as a nutritional supplement because it’s vitamin and mineral-rich.

Dosage Considerations, How much should I take?

Determining the best CBD dosage generally depends on the following factors.

  • Concentration: Concentration, or strength, refers to the total amount of CBD in a given product. Concentration is measured in milligrams (mg). This is different from dosage, which indicates the amount of CBD per serving. For instance, let’s say a bottle of CBD tincture has a concentration of 1500 mg and contains 30 milliliters (mL) of tincture, with 1 mL as the standard serving size. This means each 1-mL serving will contain approximately 50 mg of CBD; the consumer is not ingesting 1500 mg with each dosage.
  • Body weight: A person’s weight often plays a role in how much – or how little – CBD affects the body. Generally speaking, heavier people need higher doses to experience the calming effects of CBD; lighter people, on the other hand, may feel the same effects with a lower dose.
  • Desired effects: For many, the optimal dose comes down to the level of pain or discomfort they are experiencing. Someone with chronic pain or severe anxiety may need a higher dose to alleviate their symptoms, whereas a person with a milder condition may prefer a lower dose with less pronounced effects.
  • Tolerance: CBD consumers may develop a tolerance over time, which can result in reduced effects from the same dosage. Higher subsequent doses may be needed to achieve the desired results.

Using the criteria above, first-time CBD consumers should be able to determine a good starting dosage. Next, we’ll look at some typical starting doses for CBD consumers with different weights and desired effect levels.

Calculating the Best Dosage

The table below breaks down starting doses based on body weight and effect level. These dosages are approximations and highly subjective due to the nature of CBD consumption; always consult your physician about the best starting dose before trying CBD for the first time.

Is CBD Safe For Dogs and Cats?

Human use of CBD oil is growing in popularity, but can you give CBD oil to dogs? Is it safe for our canine friends and other pets? Many vets have started recommending CBD oil for dogs, even as veterinary scientific research into this new treatment is in its infancy.

One small study from Colorado State University found that healthy dogs overall tolerated CBD well, with reports of some mild diarrhea and slightly elevated serum ALP (liver enzyme) levels. Researchers say that more extensive studies are necessary to determine any long-term effects of CBD on dogs’ livers but found no immediate threat of liver toxicity.

Many studies in humans show that cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory effects and can help with anxiety, aggression, pain, seizures, muscle spasms and neurological disorders.

There’s also a ton of anecdotal evidence from pet parents on online forums, social media and other channels about the benefits they’ve seen in their dogs from CBD use. It’s also important to note that we haven’t seen any reports of major side effects or negative health concerns from pet parents (or veterinarians, for that matter) using CBD oils or treats.

How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?

Vets and experts urge using caution when giving CBD for dogs, mainly because there haven’t been enough scientific studies to prove its efficacy or safe dosage level. Still, many vets already recommend CBD oil for dogs. 

Here are some tips from holistic veterinarians, who have loads of experience using CBD for pets:

  1. Consult your veterinarian before you give your pet any treatments.
  2. Start with a very low dosage (0.2 mg per pound of your dog’s weight once a day) and slowly increase if needed. Monitoring your dog’s response to CBD (or any medication) is crucial.
  3. Take into account your dog’s weight, size and activity level — these factors can help you determine how your dog will metabolize CBD (and other medications).
  4. Consider your dog’s other health conditions that may affect his ability to react to or metabolize CBD, e.g., liver or kidney problems
  5. Find a high-quality CBD oil that’s free of any kinds of toxins. Since the industry isn’t yet regulated, there are some potentially sketchy products out there.
  6. Buy the correct potency for your dog’s size. Most oils come in different CBD potencies, e.g., 75mg for small dogs; 300+mg for large dogs. Each company differs in the potency levels offered. Note: this is not the THC potency.