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Treating Pets with CBD

by Jenny Robinson

With the increased use and legalization of cannabis and the growing market of CBD products across the United States, the conversation has recently expanded past simple human use. Our furry friends are beginning to get in on the benefits of CBD. Though clinical data on the efficacy of CBD products in animals is in its early stages, CBD treats, as well as CBD oils and creams, are generally considered safe for dogs and cats. Here’s all you need to know before treating your pets with CBD.

 Most CBD products on the market currently are made from hemp rather than marijuana. While these two are technically the same species of plant, hemp is a cannabis plant with less than .3 percent THC while marijuana is a cannabis plant with more than .3 percent THC. Because of the lower concentrations of THC, hemp is most commonly used when making CBD products and is legal in more states than marijuana. CBD is considered safe for human and some animal use by the World Health Organization (WHO), a leading authority on health and safety.

 Though research into how CBD affects pets is still in its infancy, there is anecdotal evidence that it can treat pain, anxiety, arthritis and possibly seizures in dogs as well as some cats. Most research is still in its early stages, but all studies have been peer reviewed and follow standard scientific practice. Veterinarian Stephanie McGrath has led research on how CBD products affect pets. She tested different edibles, oils and topicals to gauge their effects on dogs and cats. She found that different methods of administration have different effects. CBD oil is the most effective and long-lasting in the bloodstream, with edibles being more mild. The oil was most consistently effective in treating joint pain and anxiety. Because there is no lethal dose, CBD is generally considered safe for most pets barring those with specific allergies. Potential side effects are mild, with dry mouth, low blood pressure and drowsiness being the most common.

 While CBD products are generally safe for dogs and cats, there is little to no research on how it affects smaller mammals like guinea pigs or more exotic pets like lizards, snakes or birds. Before using it on any pet, make sure to ask a vet and double check for allergies. Similarly, it is important to compare different brands to see which one works with your pet, your budget and your conscience the best. It is advised that any CBD products used on pets come from organic hemp that was not treated with pesticides. This prevents any adverse reactions to any additives or chemicals that may be extracted from nonorganic hemp.

 With a little brand comparison, your pets can reap the positive benefits from CBD products that many humans are already feeling.

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