Your pet is a valued member of your family, and wanting to do what’s best for them can be an upward slog through misinformation, salesmanship and exaggeration. To help you make an informed decision about your pet’s health, we’ve put together this ultimate guide to CBD for pets, to help you make the right choice for you and yours.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is made from a plant called cannabis sativa, also known as hemp. Hemp is not the same as marijuana – it is a strain of cannabis plant that contains little to no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is where the ‘high’ from marijuana comes from. Whilst majiuana is not legal, the cultivation of hemp for use in supplements, personal care products and fabrics is. The government restrictions on the sale of CBD say no more than 0.2% of the cannabinoids in CBD oil can be THC.
What animals can I give CBD oil to?
Under the regulations of the VMD (Vetinary Medicines Directorate), vets are allowed to prescribe CBD products to animals – though many are awaiting more legislation for CBD regulation, and will only give advice about food supplement CBD. However, it is generally believed to be safe to give dogs and cats a CBD supplement – with a few caveats. Whilst cannabinoids are generally safe, most animals are very sensitive to THC, even in small doses, so it is recommended that you use either a broad-spectrum oil or a CBD isolate – both are THC free (though you should check the product label carefully).
Is CBD for pets effective?
The answer is complicated. A lot more science needs to be done before anyone can say definitively CBD is good for all pets. But anecdotally and in smaller studies – yes! A study in the Frontiers in Veterinary Science found that CBD oil showed a reduction of pain and and an increase of activity when CBD oil was given to dogs with osteoarthritis. And a survey of vets in the same publication found many vets felt comfortable discussing the topic with their clients when it came to anxiety, chronic pain, and epilepsy in pets.
As for risks, veterinary practitioners tend to say that they know of no major side effects for low doses when your pet is not taking any other medications. CBD can change how the liver metabolises other drugs, like anti-seizure medication or pain medication – so you should be mindful and seek out your vet’s advice. It can also cause drowsiness. The only other thing you should be mindful of is if your pet is already having liver problems, you should avoid CBD at all costs, as CBD can increase inflammation and injury to already stressed livers.
And finally, you should always seek veterinary advice before giving your pet a new supplement or medication – CBD or otherwise – as they will be able to ensure you aren’t doing more harm than good.