Cannabis or more specifically cannabidiol (CBD) products have been popping up everywhere claiming to ease inflammation and reduce anxiety. Some people swear by them and use them with great success – but what about using them with our pets?!
Although CBD comes from cannabis or hemp, it will not get your dog high like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is non-psychoactive chemical derived from cannabis, while THC is a psychoactive chemical derived from the same plant. Most products on the market attempt to put consumers’ minds at ease by stating their products are 100% THC free.
Most CBD products on the market come from hemp since it is legal everywhere thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the controlled substances list. PetMD states, “Hemp products, on their own, contain less than 0.3 percent THC.”
“To be clear, ‘hemp’ refers to the male cannabis plant, which is rich in CBD and very low in THC. ‘Marijuana’ refers to the female cannabis plant, which is rich in THC and very low in CBD. Marijuana produces what is commonly referred to as ‘bud,’ and when consumed by animals, marijuana can indeed be highly toxic,” warned Andreana Pena, founder of Blooming Culture.
How It Works
Dr. Tim Shu, founder and CEO of a pet cannabis company in California said, “It’s a series of receptors that run throughout the body. The cannabinoids interact with the receptors in the body and modulate things like pain, anxiety, and nausea.”
There are no listed side effects if the pet is given the proper dosage. “It doesn’t damage the kidney, liver, or GI tract. The dogs aren’t high or sedated,” states Shu.
With the recent boom in soft chews, oils and other products for pets with CBD, a few reputable institutions performed studies to test the effectiveness and possible benefits of these products.
Cornell University performed a study testing CBD and arthritis in dogs. They found the dogs with osteoarthritis “showed a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity (p < 0.01) with CBD oil. Veterinary assessment showed decreased pain during CBD treatment (p < 0.02). No side effects were reported by owners, however, serum chemistry showed an increase in alkaline phosphatase during CBD treatment." Colorado State University studies CBD as a treatment for epilepsy in dogs. The results were “89 percent of dogs who received CBD in a clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.”
Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital said, “Overall, what we found seems very promising.”
No scientific studies have been performed with CBD and cats. Other institutions are starting to conduct studies with CBD oil as an alternative treatment for ailments in dogs.
Conditions CBD May Help
Clearly, the two studies above showed promising results for senior dogs and any dog with osteoarthritis and/or epilepsy. Other possible conditions that might benefit from CBD are:
– Separation Anxiety
– Loss of Appetite
– Mobility Loss
– Fungal Infections
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, joint problems or any inflammation – you might want to consider CBD products. Of course before you start anything new, you would want to consult your vet.
Unfortunately, many vets can not openly talk about marijuana because it is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, the same as ecstasy and heroin. Vets risk losing their license if they discuss, recommend, or prescribe cannabis for their patients, even in states where marijuana is legal.
Many vets are speaking up and asking for marijuana to be reclassified so they are able to study and converse with their clients about CBD. Many people are curious about the product and look to their vet for guidance. If they are unable to provide it, then people will experiment on their own which could be harmful to their pets.
Dr. Richard Sullivan of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) suggested to Congress that marijuana be classified as a Schedule II drug, same as opioid painkillers. He said, “Clients are asking us, and it’s our obligation morally and ethically to address these cases. We need the research, and we need our national association to represent us at FDA and get things moving … and get some action done, soon. We do need to be in the conversation.”
California just passed bill AB 2215 earlier this year which allows veterinarians in the state to discuss cannabis with their clients.
There are many testimonies online posted by grateful pet owners stating how CBD products have enhanced the lives of their senior pets. However, vets caution that it is not a cure-all and proper dosage and monitoring is necessary.
Now the choice is up to you. Would you consider giving your pet CBD? We would love to hear your opinion through the survey below.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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