What pet health problems might CBD help manage?
CBD has shown benefit for animals in a range of conditions including, but not limited to, inflammatory problems, seizures, pain relief, and anxiety. Using CBD for pet health problems is based on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The goal of the ECS is to achieve and maintain balance of all processes in the body. This is thought to be the reason CBD may have so many potential benefits.
Keep in mind that every pet’s ECS functions a little bit differently, so CBD may work better for some than others.
Much like humans, many pets experience anxiety, leading to several troublesome behaviors like urinating inappropriately. CBD is thought to ease nervousness and provide feelings of calm. Experts believe this is because CBD may activate some of the same areas of the brain as serotonin — the hormone that helps us feel happy and relaxed.
Once absorbed by an animal’s body, CBD may play a role in lowering inflammation and relieving pain. While experts are still learning exactly how CBD may relieve pain, it’s believed to affect the ECS and other nerves that are involved in creating pain sensations. More specifically, studies have shown that reducing joint inflammation relieves osteoarthritis aches and pains in pets.
CBD has been shown to help with epilepsy in dogs by lowering the frequency of seizures when used in combination with traditional antiseizure medications. Although experts don’t fully understand how CBD treats seizures, it is thought to prevent nerves in the brain from firing too much and lower the number of electrolytes believed to have a role in seizure conditions.
A prescription CBD medication called Epidiolex was FDA-approved for two severe seizure conditions called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in humans in 2018. It is also approved for the treatment of seizures associated with tuberculosis sclerosis complex. However, studies have not been conducted for its use in animals, so it is not recommended to use it in pets.
What is CBD?
The marijuana plant has two main active ingredients — delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). FYI our CBD products contain no THC, however, THC is the substance responsible for the “high” people experience when they use marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, does not cause a “high” and studies suggest it has a range of potential health benefits. Again, our CBD products contain no THC!
While restrictions for purchasing CBD products vary from state to state, many people across the U.S. can easily purchase these items both in stores and online.
But it’s important to note that the FDA hasn’t yet determined whether or not CBD is safe as a food additive, dietary supplement, or treatment in pets. Although there is one FDA-approved human medication containing CBD, no products have been approved in animals.
The side effects of using CBD in animals are very similar to those experienced by humans. In most every case, the side effects are minimal. The most common issues include changes to appetite, fatigue, and possible diarrhea. Typically, the higher the CBD dose you give to your pet, the more likely they will have side effects. So act slowly in increasing the dosage and keep an eye on your pet.
In most cases, it is not necessary to treat these reactions, as they are generally pretty mild or get better with time. If these side effects don’t get any better or become more severe, you should contact your pet’s veterinarian and keep a close eye on your pet to make sure they don’t hurt themselves.
As mentioned earlier, CBD does not cause a “high” or euphoric feeling. Some people, however, do say it seems their pets are a little out of sorts when they take CBD. If your pet looks like they could be “high” after their dose, there is a reason why this might be happening.
Before purchasing any CBD product, carefully read the label for specific information about its contents. If the product is described as “full spectrum,” this means the product may have up to 0.3% THC in the product — the legal limit according to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. This seemingly small amount could be enough to cause this side effect in your pet, especially if they are extra sensitive to it.
Products meant for humans have the same CBD that would be found in products designed for pets. So, human CBD might be OK to give to your pet, but you’ll want to follow any recommendations from your vet. If the product is not made specifically for pets, it is important to read the label to double-check for ingredients that could be toxic to pets like chocolate, certain essential oils, and artificial sweeteners. These products could make your pet sick.
Besides being made without these harmful ingredients, pet-specific oral CBD products are usually also flavored with your furry friend in mind — chicken and fish chews, for instance. Be aware that some CBD products have a grassy taste that can make it more difficult to give to your pet. If you find your dog or cat turning their nose up at the product you’ve chosen, try disguising it in a spoonful of peanut butter or your pet’s treat of choice.
Since there aren’t any FDA-approved products for use in animals, and we don’t have many studies looking at safety and efficacy, further research is needed to determine more exact doses. If your veterinarian recommends CBD, make sure to follow their instructions since dosing may vary depending on why you are using the product.
One study looked at the efficacy of CBD oil in helping to alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs. Researchers found that 2 mg per kilogram of body weight given twice a day reduced pain without owners reporting any side effects.
As with humans who have never taken CBD before, it is important to start your pet on a low dose and raise it slowly.
For example, you can start with one-quarter or one-half of the dose on the label to see how your pet reacts to a small amount of CBD. If your pet does not experience symptom relief, you may have to give another dose of the same amount in 30 to 60 minutes and continue to see how they respond.