CBD for Pets: Is Cannabidiol Safe for Cats and Dogs?
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Cannabidiol (CBD) is associated with plenty of health benefits for humans. From pain relief to stress & anxiety relief, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep, it has given millions of people a new lease on life. Therefore, it is only natural to wonder if you can use CBD for pets. After all, why shouldn’t beloved cats and dogs experience the same relief and comfort that humans do from using CBD?
Weed Review presents a brief outlook on the current research on the scope of using CBD products like cannabidiol oil for dogs and cats, whether it is safe, and how to go about it.
CBD Basics: What is it and the legality of it
Cannabis plants have over 400 compounds known as cannabinoids. Of these many, only two are of main interest: CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC is the fun substance that gets you high; it is highly psychoactive and is associated with the euphoria, joy, hunger, paranoia, anxiety, and everything else that people generally experience when they smoke or eat cannabis.
CBD, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. It is non-psychoactive – whether you consume it in tinctures, gummies, or plain old smoke. It does not cause any intoxication and, instead, may assist in relieving your symptoms.
Legally speaking, many countries worldwide have banned or prohibited the use of marijuana because of THC. However, CBD tinctures are permitted in some countries – as long as they do not contain more than 0.2-0.3% THC by weight. A few examples are Vietnam and India.
In the case of Thailand, the government fully decriminalised cannabis to promote its medicinal use – starting with CBD. That’s why it is common to see plenty of CBD products pop up all over the country.
CBD for pets: the scope of current research
While plenty of clinical studies have been conducted evaluating the impact of CBD on humans, it is not quite the case for animals – yet.
The current information around CBD wellness for canines and felines comes from a handful of studies, recommendations from veterinarians, and word-of-mouth stories from pet parents. That said, there are a few studies that back the positive trend of cannabidiol oil supporting pet health:
- A 2021 study observed that CBD in canines induced a positive anti-inflammatory response. Inflammation markers in stimulated blood treated with CBD were reduced, thus indicating that it can have a beneficial effect.
- An extensive review published in 2021 noted that CBD could alleviate chronic osteoarthritic pain in dogs – when used together with other medication for the condition. It ties in with the direction that CBD has analgesic properties that can treat pain in canines.
- A 2020 study published in the PAIN journal further verified this: CBD significantly improved the mobility of large domestic canines affected by osteoarthritis and relieved arthritic pain.
- There is also a promising indication that CBD can help treat canine epilepsy. In 2019, a clinical trial observed that cannabidiol might help reduce the number of seizures experienced by epileptic dogs.
Giving CBD to your pets: What you need to know
Although existing studies indicate a favourable link between CBD and pets, the fact of the matter remains that more research is needed.
For instance, there needs to be more literature that has explicitly examined the effect of CBD on felines – notably cats.
Secondly, the absorption of CBD from various products available differs significantly. Therefore, a topical cannabidiol cream may not be as effective as CBD oil or treats – or even suitable for the condition in question.
The biology of animals and humans varies vastly. Plenty of research shows how humans absorb CBD, but the data is scarce when it comes to pets. In addition, there needs to be more information on the pharmacokinetics of CBD and animals to determine accurate dosing information.
Thirdly, CBD is well-tolerated in humans and is non-toxic. The existing pet trends are similar, but more tests and research are needed. For example, some of the studies mentioned in this article noted an increase in the liver enzyme alkaline phosphatase (ALP), indicating damage to the liver. However, it wasn’t clear if the ALP levels rose because of CBD.
Lastly, care must also be taken when evaluating what kind of CBD products you give your pets. The cannabidiol found in products meant for humans is the same as the ones meant for pets; however, they may be sensitive to specific ingredients like THC, chocolate, certain essential oils, and artificial additives.
For this reason, you must buy your pet CBD products from a reputed brand that shows their certificate of analysis (COA) and ingredients list.
CBD dosage for pets
Due to the lack of research surrounding CBD for pets, there is no concrete information on how much cannabidiol you should give to your cats and dogs.
To that end, Weed Review recommends the following:
- Consult your veterinarian before adding CBD to your pets’ daily routine. They are the best judge regarding essential elements like dosage and the kind of products that can best help your pets. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian.
- You should start with the lowest indicated dosage, closely monitor your pets’ progress, and see how they react to CBD. Just like humans, start slow, start small, and increase it gradually. Observing their behaviour is the best way to tell if CBD is working.
- CBD takes time to work and requires consistent use. Your pets may experience symptom relief within 30 minutes to an hour of taking it. However, for best results, it is recommended that you maintain a steady, consistent routine for 30 days at least.
- CBD oils and tinctures are an excellent way to start, as it is easy to adjust the doses. Products like edibles and treats have fixed quantities and may be difficult to change.
Side effects of CBD
Pets experience side effects similar to humans when using CBD. The common ones are:
- Dry mouth
- Change in appetite
Generally speaking, the more CBD you give your pets, the more likely they will have side effects. Often, these side effects do not need to be treated and will get better with time. However, if they persist or your pets’ health worsens, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Remember that using CBD for pets may not be suitable if they suffer from liver problems.
All in all, CBD can be a good supplement for your pets – provided you use a quality product from a trusted brand. Since the research in this field is still growing, remember to speak to your veterinarian to find the best dosing regimen.