The CBD craze has seeped into every corner of health markets. With products designed for everything from pain relief to skincare, it is no wonder that people have become interested in how CBD can benefit pets. In just the past year, celebrity product lines, like those of Martha Stewart and Mike Tyson, have begun including CBD supplements for pets that have skyrocketed in popularity. In fact, Martha Stewart predicts that pet CBD will be a $10 billion industry in just a couple of years!
Pet-owners want the best for their furry friends, and many often see natural remedies like CBD as better options for a variety of medical conditions. On the other hand, other people are more hesitant to give their beloved pets the cannabis-derived chemical. Cannabis is still quite controversial and there are many who tie CBD to its naughtier sister THC, which can be harmful to your cat or dog. However, the vast majority of CBD products for pets have a negligible amount of THC as they are extracted from hemp as opposed to marijuana.
What is CBD for pets?
Although it doesn’t stand for “Cats, Bird, & Dogs,” the all-natural chemical CBD shows great potential for pet health. Cannabidiol, as it is scientifically known, is found in the flowers and leaves of cannabis plants. Both hemp and marijuana are considered cannabis plants, however, the main difference lies in the THC content.
Marijuana can have up to a whopping 30% THC content, a chemical deemed unsafe for pets. Hemp plants, on the other hand, max out at 0.3% THC and tend to be higher in CBD content. While CBD oil extracted from marijuana is still illegal in most states, hemp-derived CBD products are completely legal in all 50 states.
Virtually all CBD-for-pet remedies on the market are extracted from hemp, so the chances of your kitty cat getting stoned off THC after using these products are slim-to-none. CBD is not psychoactive like THC and has many similarities to a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen.
Through an extraction process, CBD is isolated from the plant and becomes the star ingredient in many products. As it is not water-soluble, CBD will often be mixed with oils in order to ensure proper delivery and dosage.
What are the benefits of CBD for Pets?
There are endless stories and endorsements from pet-owners that trumpet the benefits of CBD for pets.
The most convincing evidence of CBD’s positive effects for pets involves epilepsy. On the human side of things, there is only one FDA-approved pharmaceutical drug that is cannabis-derived, and that is Epidiolex. The FDA’s lengthy, stringent requirements for drug approval have shown that CBD, the active ingredient in Epidiolex, is a solid and legitimate remedy for epileptic seizures in people.
As many pet parents know, dogs and cats are often prescribed the same pharmaceutical medications as humans, such as pain-killers and anti-anxiety medicines (although usually at much lower dosages). It is only natural that veterinary medicine sees great potential in CBD as a remedy for epilepsy in pets. Colorado State University is conducting a study on the effects of CBD in epileptic dogs, specifically in treatment-resistant dogs. The data collected thus far has led Stephanie McGrath, the leader of the study, to label CBD as a promising medication for dogs with epilepsy.
One of the most popular uses for CBD is calming pets. Do you come home to find your cat scratched up your leather couch, or your dog left an unwanted smelly “present” in the middle of the floor? Your pet could be experiencing separation anxiety. Many veterinarians prescribe strong, synthetically made medicines for anxious animals, such as Xanax. CBD can be an effective, natural alternative to these other anti-anxiety drugs. The well-documented calming effects of CBD can be useful for aggressive animals as well. Turn your ferocious felines into calm kitties!
Here are some additional conditions that CBD can address in your pets:
- Moderate to severe pain
- Chronic inflammation
- Arthritis & joint pain
- Digestion problems (also see information about dog probiotics and tips to cure a dog’s upset stomach)
- Neurological disorders
- Symptoms from cancer
- Various studies have shown that CBD can inhibit cancer cells (prostate, breast) from developing further in the human body, and a multitude of pet-owners have reported their animal’s cancer has improved after a CBD regimen.
Is CBD safe for my pet?
As of now, there is no long-term safety data that analyzes the effects of CBD in dogs and cats. That being said, there are no reports of major side effects or detrimental health concerns from pet parents and veterinarians when it comes to CBD. In fact, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association states that it has found CBD to be well tolerated in dogs. There is no noted damage, thus far, to suggest life-threatening side effects brought on by cannabidiol. Specifically, the research conducted so far finds that CBD does not negatively affect the kidney, liver, or GI tract.
There are a few reports of pets who experience vomiting, low appetite, and diarrhea after ingesting CBD products. And some anecdotal evidence suggests that large doses of CBD may lead to a pet becoming sleepy and sedated, or have lowered blood pressure. It is important to note that these negative effects are short-lived.
While many veterinarians are intrigued by CBD, some are wary to recommend products that have not been approved by the FDA. In Nevada, state law does not explicitly enable veterinarians to even discuss the benefits and detriments of CBD with pet owners. Attitudes are changing, however, and state legislators recently considered a bill that would allow veterinarians to administer or recommend CBD for pets with any medical condition.
It is important for pet owners to do thorough research and consult with professionals, like veterinarians, before administering any medication to their furry friends. Although CBD has great potential for pet health, there just isn’t ample scientific data and the existing data is drawn from small participant pools. The copious amounts of anecdotal evidence, including stories, experiences, and reviews, points to a bright future in the pet CBD market.
Which CBD products work best for pets?
The main issue with many CBD products is the lack of regulation in the market. This leads to untested, unwanted ingredients which can actually be harmful to your pet. There are, however, pure, legitimate, and safe products available if you know what to look for.
The most important thing a pet owner can look for in a CBD product is third-party testing. Labs can run a variety of tests including microbiology, heavy metals, pesticide, mycotoxin, residual solvents, and more. A certificate of analysis or “COA” from a third-party lab can give pet owners peace of mind that their pet isn’t ingesting mold, pesticides, THC, or any other harmful ingredients. And although products with a COA can be more expensive, quality and safety is invaluable when it comes to our furry friends.
Oral application is the most common way of administering CBD to pets, being applied under the tongue or mixed with food. CBD as a liquid is favored as dogs will ordinarily lick it right off of the dropper.
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