CBD and Pets
CBD has become very popular for pets and the products include treats, infused chews, capsules, topicals, and CBD oil added to food or directly into the mouth. It turns out that pets like all mammals and many other species have an endocannabinoid system. That means pets have the CB1 and CB2 receptors which allow them to make use of the therapeutic benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids.
The difference between humans and pets regarding CBD is that the smaller size of most pets means they need a much smaller dose. Another difference is that animals are generally more sensitive to the psychoactive effect of THC than humans. Too much can result in toxicity. It’s not lethal, but it could be unpleasant. Veterinarians generally recommend not exposing pets to any form of THC.
The presence of THC in products for pets is not relevant for those CBD companies that have the THC removed as part of their extraction process.
There hasn’t been much research on how CBD affects dogs or cats. In one recent study at Colorado State University, a neurologist treated 16 dogs that suffered from seizures. Nine of the dogs were treated with hemp-derived CBD for 12 weeks, while the remaining seven were given a placebo. The study found that most of the dogs receiving CBD had a reduction in the frequency of their seizures.
Another study in 2018 at Cornell University involving dogs with multi-joint pain concluded that 2mg of CBD twice daily “can help increase comfort and activity” in dogs with osteoarthritis. In the study, 8 out of 10 dogs had a significant or dramatically positive response to the treatment with CBD. Another study underway at the University of Florida is focused on CBD use for pain management and oncology in dogs.
Anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggest CBD might be a good option for treating pain and controlling seizures. Studies are underway to look at the effect of CBD on osteoarthritis and anxiety. Another unique application reported by pet owners is using CBD to calm their pets when exposed to loud noises like fireworks, lightning and thunderstorms, as well as anxiety associated with separation, traveling or visiting a veterinarian.
The veterinary community remains split regarding the use of CBD as part of a treatment plan. Holistic veterinarians are generally more knowledgeable about CBD and more open to including the compound as an option. Some are using CBD for treating arthritis, cancer, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, chronic upper respiratory infections, and seizures. You can source out holistic veterinarians in your area through the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.
Veterinarians also remind pet owners that CBD can interact with other medications. That’s another good reason to keep the doses smaller and to pay close attention to your pet after it consumes CBD.
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