The CBD cannabinoid has been tested on animals since the 1960s. These animal tests also provided important information about the efficacy and safety of human consumption of CBD products. It’s only after science-backed proof of the health benefits that cannabidiol can provide to people that the question of administering CBD to pets started coming up.
What Is CBD For Pets?
CBD is one of the chemical compounds found in the marijuana and hemp plants, alongside THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). For those not familiar with the latter compound, THC is the psychoactive part of the plant, and is thus categorized as a psychoactive substance, for legal purposes. To provide more specific clarification, a hemp plant which contains more than 0.3 % THC is classified as marijuana. However, a plant which contains less than 0.3% THC is classified as being simply hemp. While CBD can be derived from either plant, it’s more prevalent in the hemp plant. In this article we will focus on THC-free CBD oils, as Hong Kong regulations prohibits any product containing even a trace of the plant’s psychoactive component.
CBD oil is currently being used to ease symptoms of numerous of health conditions in people, including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, skin problems like acne, and heart diseases.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved of Epidiolex- an oral solution containing a purified form of CBD- for treating seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes in patients one year of age and older. Considering its proven benefits when used by humans, CBD advocates are now promoting the use of CBD for dogs and cats to help manage conditions such as arthritis, pain, anxiety, and cancer.
The cannabidiol oil used for CBD oil for cats and dogs is not any different from CBD oil for humans. However, while the two are technically interchangeable, it’s highly advisable to use CBD oil for pets that has been specially formulated for animals. Why this is necessary will be answered in the following sections as we discuss the dosage, effectiveness, and safety concerns when using CBD to treat cats and dogs.
How Does CBD for Pets Work?
Scientists and researchers have yet to figure this out. While there is tangible proof of how CBD works in humans, the study of how CBD oil work on pets is still in its infancy. The one thing which is for certain, though, is that CBD in animals is metabolized in the liver just as it is in humans.
After absorption into the pet’s bloodstream, there are speculations that CBD works in a way that is similar to its interaction with cannabinoid receptors in human beings. Like other mammals, dogs and cats also have an endocannabinoid system(ECS).
The ECS is a complex cell signalling system comprising endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes, all of which are involved in regulating various functions in the body.
Like in humans, CBD is thought to interact with cannabinoid receptors in animals to produce effects. However, while human and animal endocannabinoid systems are highly similar, a study published in 2019 shows that dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than humans. Thus, the effects of CBD and THC are theorized to be more dramatic in pets and dogs than in people.
Benefits of using CBD for dogs and cats
Hemp-derived CBD, in its pure form, is used by humans for various purposes. However, as noted in this article, the veterinary jury has yet to come to a clear scientific verdict on what is the exact range of benefits which dogs can derive from being given CBD.
All in all, the available literature and anecdotal evidence show that CBD can be used in the following ways in cats and dogs to help with: the following conditions:
- Reduce anxiety
- Improve social behavior
- Supporting the immune and nervous systems
- Boosting cardiovascular system
- Reducing convulsions and seizures
- As an anti-inflammatory (dermatitis and hypersensitivity)
- Reducing pain
- Gastrointestinal support
- Aiding with sleep
Presently, the limited information available regarding the administration of CBD to animals suggests that there are no potential significant risks. However, veterinarians agree that the lack of enough research into this subject is a cause for concern by itself. Therefore it is highly recommended to talk to your vet before deciding on a course of action.
Is CBD Safe for Animals? What Do Vets Say?
Yes- CBD is safe for dogs and cats. Studies are underway on the long-term effects of CBD on pets. But results from one short-term study in 2019 didn’t show any negative reactions when pets were given 2 mg of CBD per kilogram twice daily for 12 weeks.
However, in another 2018 study, the subject dogs experienced mild diarrhea after being given 136 mg to 272 mg (a rather high dose) of CBD per day, although no severe effects were reported.
Generally, most experts agree that CBD for pets is safe. On this note, a report by the WHO indicates that CBD can be safely administered to pets to manage various conditions, including anxiety and nausea. The report further states that CBD does not cause dependence or abuse when used for animals.
Most vets are optimistic that CBD products for animals won’t have adverse effects in the long run. Although vets can’t legally prescribe CBD-based medicine for animal pets (except in California), they agree that CBD is a much better alternative to using NSAID drugs as it does not come with most of their debilitating side effects.
If you’re considering buying CBD for cats and pets in general, a question you’re probably asking yourself is, “Do I need a vet’s approval before administering CBD to my pet?”
The short answer is NO. This is something that you must decide for yourself. Just bear in mind, CBD oil products for pets are legal, provided they contain 0.3% or lower THC. However, it’s imperative to seek your vet’s advice due to the current lack of clear guidelines with respect to administering CBD products to pets. .
Nothing super alarming has been highlighted regarding CBD for pets. But although life-threatening cases from CBD are rare, it’s crucial to keep in mind that pets’ endocannabinoid (ECD) system is more susceptible to the effects of CBD and THC than in humans. As always, start with a small amount to check your pet’s reaction and increase its intake slowly, if needed.
Also, ensure that your choice of CBD oils for dogs and cats has clear dosage information or consult your vet to find out what amount of CBD would be most suitable to administer to them.