CBD products are growing in popularity for people trying to gain relief from any variety of conditions that plague them, but more recently it has found its way into the pet care industry and pet owners across the country are turning to CBD to help their pets too. Does CBD work for pets? Is it dangerous? What kinds of conditions does it help with?
In this article we’re going to explore those questions and help you determine if CBD has the potential to be helpful in your pet’s treatment plan. Just like most other studies about CBD, the research has been limited so far, but scientists have been working on how CBD affects pets and what kinds of results pet owners can expect to see. Most of the studies we’ll explore focus on dogs, as they are the species that has been most researched in regards to CBD. Studies are starting to emerge on CBD for cats, but data is still new and in review.
Studies on CBD for Dogs
Unfortunately there aren’t many studies on the science of CBD and pets, but this is changing as the industry continues to grow and interest continues to climb. Currently there are only a handful of studies that exist about various pet health conditions and how they react to CBD.
A recent study — the first clinical study of its kind — explored the effects of cannabidiol on dogs with arthritis. The study showed very promising results and veterinarians across the globe were encouraged by those results. In the study, researchers used a CBD oil to treat dogs who were experiencing pain and arthritis and found that it helped more than 80% of the dogs achieve reduced pain and improved mobility . That number is remarkable and has turned the heads of many in the veterinary science community.
However it should be noted that this is just a single study and not definitive in regards to what CBD can do to help pets. A single study cannot be relied on for conclusive data, but as time passes and more of these types of studies are performed and information released, those in-depth results will help cement the data.
At Colorado State University, scientists are beginning to dig deeper into how CBD helps humans with seizures and how to harness that same power to help dogs suffering from epilepsy. The study revealed that a stunning 89% of dogs taking CBD in the trail experienced a reduction in the frequency of seizures. These results are incredibly encouraging and have led the institute to put together further studies on the effects of CBD on dogs in larger numbers and for new other ailments, like osteoarthritis .
There are currently no scientific studies about the benefits of CBD on pets suffering from anxiety, but there are anecdotal stories of people using CBD products on their animals who suffer from anxiety related to thunderstorms. Those people reported a significant decrease in their pet’s level of anxiety, especially in those who had previously been so stressed, they injured themselves trying to run away.
CBD for Cats
Cats are very different from dogs in what their bodies can handle. For instance, if you were to give a cat a pain reliever meant for a dog, you would risk severely impairing the cat’s liver function. Their livers just aren’t made to filter the level of medicine a dog’s can.
What researchers have discovered, though, is that cats generally respond to CBD for anxiety more positively than dogs. And like dogs, cats do see a decrease in pain and inflammation from CBD. However, cats metabolize the cannabinoid much faster than dogs, meaning they need larger and more frequent doses than dogs of a similar size .
Absorption and Dosage
The CBD molecule is absorbed differently in dogs than it is in humans. On an empty stomach, it won’t be absorbed properly, leaving the dog without the intended relief. Researchers claim it is the oil base of CBD that accounts for the results. In previous studies, researchers gave dogs doses of CBD intravenously or in a gelatin capsule, but recent evidence suggests that absorption in dogs is maximized when it’s combined with a lipid carrier, like an oil based product .
Once absorption in dogs was more clearly understood, the next obstacle was determining the correct dosage for them. Finding the right blend of absorbable product and one with a high enough dose for the animal to feel the effects proved to be a challenge. For the recent study, researchers based their dosage off the equivalent body weight of humans and the dose that worked for them. The dosing was also based on what was an effective level or medication without being prohibitively expensive for the pet owner .
CBD vs THC
There is a huge difference between these two substances and knowing what you’re giving your pet is absolutely crucial It’s important to understand that THC is toxic to dogs and should not be given to them under any circumstances. When selecting a CBD product for a dog, or any pet, make sure it is CBD sourced from hemp. Since law restricts the levels of THC present in hemp, you can feel safe knowing that the CBD you purchased does not include toxic levels of THC.
Notable regarding THC is that some scientists believe it is safe and beneficial to pets in certain doses. This theory has not been proven and is speculative at best, so do not attempt to give your pets THC products. It is just notable because researchers are still investigating this claim and trying to uncover the truth behind THC and pets.
Veterinarians and CBD
It’s important to note that in most states, veterinarians are not allowed to prescribe or even recommend a cannabis product for your pet. This is true even if the veterinarian believes in the ability of CBD to help your pet. It just isn’t simply something they are allowed to do. Each state has a veterinary board and that board always adheres to federal law in regards to things like cannabis, even when it’s considered medical. Even in states where cannabis is legal for all adults, veterinarians are still not allowed to prescribe it to their furry patients because it is not legal at a federal level. In most states, if a veterinarian does recommend or prescribe cannabis, they risk having their license revoked.
Most of the country still treats cannabis as an illegal substance so in those states, gaining access to CBD for pets is especially frustrating and often impossible. Even researchers looking to study the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids on pets have trouble getting the projects launched because cannabis is still considered illegal in their state. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of hemp, CBD is becoming easier to access in states where cannabis is illegal, however there are still difficulties when it comes to cannabis produced CBD and the inclusion of certain levels of THC.