With all the potential health benefits of CBD gaining popularity among US consumers, it has gained popularity for their pets as well. We all love our pets. They become embedded in our lives and become our family members and best friends. So, we are always going to want what is best for them and we want them to be with us if possible. While the research for humans is vaster, there have been some promising results starting to come around for the use of CBD in treating ailments for both dogs and cats.
But before we continue there is something you should know right off the bat. In most states (including CT) veterinarians are not really allowed to prescribe or recommend any cannabis/hemp products for a pet, regardless of the vet’s personal or professional position is on this topic. I am not saying you cannot have a discussion with them about it. However, each state has its own veterinary board, each of those boards adhere to federal law concerning cannabis/hemp products for pets. Which is not allowed. So, unless the products have been approved by the board, it is likely that it will not be offered.
Connecticut allows the sale of CBD hemp products following the enactment of Public Act 19-3. This means that Hemp products for animals in CT cannot claim to treat a medical condition and cannot be in animal feed. But otherwise, they are legally available.
So, to determine if this is best for our fur bearing quadrupeds, we ask ourselves the questions for our pets that we would ask for ourselves. What types of products are there? Is CBD effective for them? What is the correct dosing to recommend for our furry friends? Are there any harmful side effects?
CBD pet products come in many of the same applications you are probably used to seeing for people, like edibles (chewable treats and biscuits), tinctures (oils that can be added to food or placed under the tongue), along with topical creams and/or balms that are applied direct to the skin. Like the CBD products meant for humans, each of these CBD pet products will display different outcomes depending on the situation.
Mainly encouraged by anecdotal reports, people are turning to CBD to help manage health problems in their pets. However, there have been a few peer reviewed case studies that have shown success regarding arthritis and epilepsy. It has been shown both dogs and cats have endocannabinoid systems just like we do. So, these cannabinoids stimulate their receptors just they they do to ours, leading to many of the same results.
For dosing a certain level trial and error needs to be allowed. It is important to monitor your pet while determining what the best dosing will be for them. However, in case studies dosing was based on models that worked involving studies with humans. The dosing is 1-5mg per kg body weight.
There are little to no side effects from CBD use in dogs and cats based off available studies, but there are a few things to keep in mind to keep our furry friends safe and well. Be mindful that CBD can be complimentary to traditional medications, adding to their affects. In a few studies it was noted an increase in the liver enzyme alkaline phosphatase (ALP) during CBD treatment. Tests on liver functions were conducted to make sure the livers were not failing came back normal. So extra consideration should be considered for animals with known liver conditions.
Lastly it is always important to avoid potentially harmful ingredients. Only use products that come with a certificate of analysis, or COA (the batch number on the COA should match the number on the product's label or packaging). This gives full disclosure of a product. A COA is issued when an independent lab tests the product to confirm its ingredients and potency, among other things showing exactly what you are getting.
The Wakshlag/Cornell University study: Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs
A 2013 study on cannabis poisoning in dogs: Marijuana Poisoning
Harvey DJ, Samara E, Mechoulam R. Comparative metabolism of cannabidiol in dog, rat and man. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. (1991) 40:523–32.