The establishment is in shock.
Pet owners in the U.S. are estimated to spend 1.16 billion dollars by 2022 on a pet product that isn’t yet approved by the FDA.
Painkiller? Seizure relief? Anti-inflammatory?
The biggest pet food trend of 2018 is claimed to be all of those and more.
It’s CBD Oil for cats and dogs.
In this article, we’ll talk about what CBD Oil is, why (or why not) you should consider it, if you should buy it and where, and certain precautions to take.
Context on CBD Oil
Pet owners are turning to CBD Oil when traditional painkillers and prescription medications fail them. As it was the biggest pet trend of 2018 and has only increased in popularity in 2019, some people want to know exactly what CBD Oil is.
CBD Oil is a liquid derived from cannabis plant. Several methods of extraction are used to formulate the ideal ratio of cannabinoids for the oil.
Because it’s derived from cannabis, CBD Oil is often confused with marijuana. However, marijuana contains the psychoactive chemical THC, which gives people that ‘high’ feeling. However, CBD Oil does not; instead it consists of cannabidiol (a.k.a. CBD), which is a chemical that can do your pet a whole lot of good – but we’ll get to that.
In fact, certain brands of CBD oil are not derived marijuana. They’re derived from hemp, which is still classified under the cannabis plant.
When CBD Oil is derived from marijuana, it can contain up to 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive chemical. Unless given an extraordinarily large dose, an animal will not get the least bit high from such trace amounts of THC.
Even better news accompanies CBD Oil derived from hemp. Because hemp does not contain any THC, neither will the CBD Oil.
Though understandably skeptical at first, veterinarians across the U.S. have come to the conclusion that CBD Oil has no negative effect on dogs or cats. In other words, “[Your] dog is not going to get high,” says Dr. Gary Richter, owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California. Nor does CBD Oil induce toxicity when your dog/cat consumes the proper dosage.
But this question still lingers among medical circles: does CBD Oil do anything good for pets?
Pet owners’ anecdotal evidence and small university studies have shown that CBD Oil may have good, lasting benefits for dogs and cats.
One such study was conducted by Cornell University in the summer of 2017. The researchers found that 2 milligrams of CBD Oil per 2 kilograms of the weight of the animal made dogs more comfortable and more likely to move. These dogs had osteoarthritis, and they were given the above dosage twice per day. Cornell University subsequently conducted a similar study on cats, and they received similar results.
Another 2017 study was conducted by Colorado State University. The lead researcher was Dr. Stephanie Mcgrath of Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The goal of the study was to see if dogs with epilepsy could be treated with CBD Oil. After 12 weeks, the team gathered the results, and they were beyond promising. 89% of dogs with epilepsy who were given CBD had a reduction in the number of seizures. Dr. Stephanie Mcgrath is currently conducting more studies on CBD Oil’s effects on dogs.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil
When a dog or cat consumes CBD, the cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors that run throughout the body of animals. Dr. Tim Shu, an expert on veterinary medicine, explains, “The cannabinoids interact with the receptors in the body and modulate things like pain, anxiety, and nausea.”
That leads us to the pros of using CBD Oil. Small university studies, combined with lots of anecdotal evidence from pet owners, have showed that CBD Oil can act as painkillers, provide relief from seizures, and serve as anti-inflammatories. Here is a list of 5 things CBD Oil can potentially do for your pet:
- Act as a natural painkiller: The most common use of CBD is to numb pain in your pet’s body.
- Help with epilepsy/seizures: The study conducted by Colorado State University showed that CBD can reduce the number of seizures dogs may have.
- Natural Anti-Inflammatory: Anecdotal evidence from pet owners have said that CBD Oil has reduced inflammation in their pooches and feline friends.
- Aid in cancer recovery: One pet owner (I’ll save the details for another time) reported to a veterinarian that, when their dog was diagnosed with bone cancer, they did several things to cure him. One of those things was giving the dog CBD. The pet owner said that the CBD Oil helped tremendously.
- Help with joint disease: The study conducted by Cornell showed that dogs with a joint disease, osteoarthritis, felt less pain when given regular doses of CBD.
However, there are some potential cons with CBD Oil. Here are a list of potentially negative things to keep in mind when contemplating CBD Oil:
- It is not approved by the Food and Drug Association: The FDA has not approved CBD Oil for dogs or cats. There is reportedly some work going on in the FDA to get it approved.
- The studies supporting it have been on small scales: The studies I talked about above have only consisted of a couple dozen dogs or cats, sometimes a few more, sometimes a few less. Larger studies will need to be conducted to obtain more accurate results on the effects of CBD.
- Potential side effects include vomiting, nausea, and drowsiness: When given too high of a dosage, your dog or cat may vomit it up, appear nauseas, or even drowsy. It is imperative to administer a small amount to your pet.
- Some versions won’t be legal in all states: CBD Oil derived from the marijuana plant will not be legal in states that outlaw the use of medical marijuana. However, CBD Oil derived from the hemp will be legal in all states.
Buying CBD Oil
Veterinarians say it is imperative to learn how to properly buy CBD Oil.
Most vets recommend that you buy it at a local store, not online. Also, you must check to see if the CBD Oil has been outsourced, meaning that it has been shipped under fair trade. If it’s not, be skeptical of the brand.
It’s a must that the CBD Oil be organic. You do not want to give your pet CBD that’s been derived from a plant sprayed with pesticides.
Finally, make sure you request a ‘Certificate of Analysis’ to check if the THC is below 0.3% Do not buy CBD Oil with THC above 0.3%!
I am by no means an authority on this topic! 🙂 So, I’ve made sure to cite my sources so that you can check them out yourself. The below sources were written by authorities and experts, all veterinarians who have done their own interviews and research:
Becker, Karen. “The Effective Pain Treatment Your Vet May Not Want to Talk About” Mercola Web. 6 June 2019
Becker, Karen. “Why Pet Owners Seek Cannabis for Their Pets” Mercola Web. 6 June 2019
Wooten, Sara. “Cornell takes the lead in cannabidiol research” DMV 360 Web. 6 June 2019
“Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Presents First Pharmacokinetics Study on Cannabinoids for Dogs” Cision PR Newswire Web. 6 June 2019Semigran, Aly. “Cannabis Oil for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know” PetMD Web. 6 June 2019