A Report of Adverse Effects Associated with the Administration of Cannabidiol in Healthy Dogs

Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (JAHVMA). Article first appeared in Volume 52, Fall Issue, 2018.

1) The purpose of this study was to determine the tolerability of cannabidiol (CBD) by healthy dogs. The scientists hypothesized that CBD would be tolerated in a healthy population of dogs. A group of 30 healthy Beagle dogs were randomly assigned to receive CBD in the form of microencapsulated oil beads (capsule), CBD-infused oil, or CBD-infused transdermal cream at a dose of 10 mg/kg/day or 20 mg/ kg/day for 6 weeks. Complete blood counts, chemistry panels, urinalysis, and bile acids were performed at 0, 2, 4, and 6 weeks.

2) Clinically significant results were recorded as binary data indicating the presence or absence of the clinical outcome. Contingency tables were constructed for each of the analyses; and the Fisher's exact test was used to evaluate the significance of association between the formulations at each time point, and between the time points within each formulation for both doses of CBD. A P value of 0.05 was used to determine statistical significance.

3) Throughout the 6-week study period, gastrointestinal upset was the most frequently recorded adverse clinical sign. All of the dogs in the study developed diarrhea, and 6/30 (20%) dogs had single episodes of vomiting. The dogs that vomited were in the groups that received CBD orally in the form of capsules.

4) Erythematous pinnae was the second most common adverse clinical sign reported at week 2 and 4. A mild erythematous reaction of the pinnae occurred in 11 dogs (36%), 9 of whom belonged to the group that received the transdermal cream.

5) Limitations of this study include the lack of a control group and the short duration of the study period. Each dog served as its own control but an actual control group would have helped to confirm if adverse effects were secondary to CBD versus other causes, such as being housed in an unfamiliar setting or eating unfamiliar food especially with regard to the diarrhea.



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