It’s not only in the world of humans that cannabidiol (CBD) is making waves. More and more pet owners are also starting to use CBD for their pets. Pet-specific CBD products are more commonly found on the shelves of vet offices and pet boutiques alike.
But is it safe? How can CBD help your pet? What do you need to look for when buying a safe CBD product for your four-legged friend? Continue reading to learn more.
CBD for Pets: The Basics
Did you know that not only humans have an endocannabinoid system (ECS)? All vertebrates, including your cat and dog has one. This means that not only do their bodies produce their own endocannabinoids, but they also have all the cannabinoid receptors in place to interact with plant cannabinoids such as CBD.
Because of this, your pet can also benefit from all the potential health benefits of CBD that you do. Just as adding CBD oil to your health and wellness plan may help your body to create a sense of balance, so too does it create a sense of homeostasis in your pet’s body and potentially help treat a variety of different ailments.
Potential Benefits of CBD for Pets
Although research specific to using CBD for pets is in its infancy, the intended effects and benefits of CBD for many of the conditions listed below are well-recorded in both animal studies and human clinical trials.
Because many of these symptoms manifest pretty much the same way in both humans and pets, the anecdotal evidence from pet owners and veterinarians makes sense. It’s just a matter of time before the scientific evidence bears out.
Let’s take a look at the different symptoms and ailments CBD can potentially help your pet with.
The anti-anxiety effects of CBD are commonly known and many pet owners are turning to CBD oil for helping their pets cope with things such as anxiety and reactivity. Although studies on treating canine anxiety with CBD are few, human trials have repeatedly shown that it can be highly effective with reducing the symptoms of anxiety, panic disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.
One area in which research has grown extensively regarding CBD for pets is with regard to osteoarthritis. One study in particular found CBD to be both effective and safe for treating this crippling disease in dogs. Not only did the study show a significant decrease in pain and an increase in activity in the dogs that were given CBD, but there were also no reported side effects. Researchers suggested a twice-daily serving of 2 mg of CBD per kilogram of weight to aid with pain relief and increased mobility.
3. Epilepsy and Seizure Control
It’s estimated that up to 5 percent of dogs suffer from epilepsy or some kind of seizure disorder. For owners of pets with epilepsy, the condition can be incredibly distressing and debilitating to the animal. CBD for epilepsy and seizure control has been studied extensively, with evidence dating as far back as 1980 showing that CBD has powerful anticonvulsant properties. Luckily, researchers are now also investigating the use of CBD for canine epilepsy, with a preliminary study from Colorado State University in Fort Collins showing that CBD can significantly reduce the frequency of seizures.
Inflammation is a major cause of pain for many animals. In an attempt to help relieve symptoms of pain, veterinarians typically prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, these have recently come under the spotlight due to concerns around their safety, particularly in aging dogs that have compromised immune systems. Long-term use of NSAIDs are associated with a variety of side effects including issues with the gastrointestinal tract, liver function, renal failure and even death. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are widely reported in scientific literature, which can make it a safe and side-effect-free alternative to NSAIDs for many pet owners.
For many pet owners, CBD seems to be a safe and effective option for helping to relieve painful conditions. Just as with humans, pets can suffer from something known as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency in which their bodies become deficient in cannabinoids. This causes the ECS to become unbalanced, not only reducing the body’s ability to effectively deal with pain signals, bu also inducing many of the ailments that cause pain. By supplementing with CBD, cannabinoid levels are increased, which helps to restore balance to the ECS system while simultaneously helping to reduce pain.
What to Look for When Buying CBD for Your Pet
CBD products for pets come in a variety of forms. These can range from CBD oils and tinctures, to CBD-infused treats and even topicals such as gels and creams. A topical might be great for localized relief, and a CBD treat might be the easiest way to give your pet a daily serving of CBD.
However, it is important to choose a product that is safe. Animals, in particular cats and dogs, are highly sensitive to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and it can actually be toxic to them. When purchasing CBD for you pet, take the following tips into consideration:
1. Buy a product made specifically for pets.
Human products can include other ingredients and flavorings that might be harmful to animals.
2. Buy organic.
Refined or poor-quality products can contain harmful toxins, heavy metals and pesticides that are sometimes used in industrial hemp farming.
3. Consider a high-quality broad-spectrum product.
As mentioned, even a little bit of THC can be toxic to animals, so avoid a full-spectrum extract. However, with all the THC removed in broad-spectrum extracts, your pet can still benefit from what is known as the entourage effect.