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As the popularity of CBD rises and people see the benefits of it in treating their own conditions, more and more pet owners are getting curious about the potential of CBD to help their animals as well. Naturally, there are a lot of questions and things to consider before giving CBD to your pets. We’ve done some research for you to answer a handful of FAQs on the topic.
Is CBD safe for animals?
While the science and veterinary industries are still in the early stages of conducting studies and gathering research, all signs point to YES for hemp-derived CBD! All animals have endocannabinoid systems as we do, so their bodies are built to be able to interact with the cannabinoid compounds found in hemp and cannabis plants. That doesn’t mean all compounds, though. Cannabis flower and the THC compound within it is toxic for dogs in high dosages, so it’s crucial to consider only CBD products with very low levels of THC or none at all.
Always be sure to consult your veterinarian before you give CBD to a pet. If your pet is being treated in other ways for any medical conditions, ask your vet or a holistic vet if and how CBD will change your pet’s treatment and how you should go about incorporating CBD into your pet’s regimen, including product and dosage recommendations. Hemp-derived CBD is safe to use alongside other medications, but the dosage is important and each animal will dose differently.
Which animals can safely use CBD?
As of now, CBD has been tested and used mainly on dogs and cats. More studies have been done on dogs, with a few additional studies focusing on cats, and vets and pet owners have documented anecdotally what benefits they’ve found further. However, beyond dogs and cats, CBD use with other animals has not been broadly tested and is not currently advised.
What conditions in animals does CBD help?
One of the first major studies done on CBD and dogs was published in 2018 by Cornell University showing the positive impact of CBD use in helping ease pain in dogs with osteoarthritis. The study found that 80 percent of the dogs tested experienced relief.
Other studies have found CBD to be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety, gastrointestinal upset, psychotic behaviors, and non-arthritic pain and inflammation. Preliminary data from clinical trials conducted at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital in 2018 also show significant promise for CBD in reducing the frequency and intensity of seizures in epileptic dogs. Essentially, the benefits could be vast and cover a wide array of conditions, just as they have in humans.
Is CBD for pets legal?
There are currently no FDA approved CBD products for pets. However, CBD products with 0.3% THC or less were taken off the federal controlled substances list, and in many states, it is legal to buy. If you live in a state where it is legal, you can purchase CBD products for your own pets at your leisure.
Vets, on the other hand, have a harder time of it. Even in states where CBD is legal, veterinarians don’t get mentioned in the law. So, the veterinary board of each state has to adhere to the federal law on medical cannabis, and are thus most often barred from instigating a conversation around CBD and other alternative treatment options. So far, only California has passed specific legislation allowing vets to talk about cannabis options with clients. If you’re curious about giving your pet CBD, you’ll have to be the one to bring it up to your vet.
What do I need to look for?
We are ever an advocate for safety and quality when using CBD products, and that is only more pronounced when looking for products for your pets. First, always look for a certificate of analysis to know exactly what is in the product—and be sure to double-check that it does not contain fungicides, pesticides or fungal toxins. Because the arena for pet products is newer with less regulation than that of products for humans, these certificates are all the more important.
Second, find products that have a seal from the National Animal Supplement Council or claim Good Manufacturing Procedures. Products with these stamps of approval are guaranteed to be produced in safe environments with good, natural ingredients.
Any other considerations?
Dosage is potentially the most major component changing how your pet responds to CBD. As a general rule, be more cautious with dosing for your pets than you would be for yourself. In humans, the recommended dosage for CBD is between 1-5 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight. In light of this, one study opted for using 2mg of CBD per kg of body weight for dogs in order to have enough CBD that it would provide relief and results, but not too much that it would be too expensive or cause any potentially negative reactions with other medications.
Additionally, dosing will be significantly different between cats and dogs. There are not enough studies done on cats as of yet to determine a recommended dosage by weight. However, they should not merely be treated like small dogs. Cats metabolize CBD and cannabis very differently than dogs, so we highly recommend consulting with your vet on your cat’s best options and dosing plans.
Which brands offer CBD pet products?
Many companies make CBD products for pets now, and some exclusively so. Two top companies that we’ve profiled in our “Meet the Producer” series on this blog, Frontier Jackson and Populum, both sell CBD pet products in addition to their products for humans. However, we also feature pet-specific brands in our shop, like:
Other widely used brands like RE Botanicals, Joy Organics, Nova, Mana Artisan Botanics sell pet-specific products that we trust as well. See all of the CBD pet products in our online shop here.