CBD for Your Pet – the Pros and Cons

The good and bad in CBD for pets

Owning a pet is one of the most wonderful experiences a person can have. The joy and satisfaction you can derive from looking after them and the love they give you is immense. This owner and pet bond is why we love looking after our pets and it’s also why we take their care very seriously.

No matter what your pet is whether it is a dog, cat, mouse, hamster or even a snake, their health will always have an impact on us. In this article we provide details regarding the pros and cons of CBD (cannabidiol) for your pet and if it can help them when they get sick. It must first be stated that so far clinical studies into CBD have only been carried out on rats and mice. However, the development of CBD based treatments for a wide variety of pets have still been created.

The CBD (Cannabidiol) Cannabinoid

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical component found in cannabis known as a cannabinoid. Cannabidiol, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the other most commonly researched cannabinoid, is non-psychoactive. This means that CBD does not produce any “high” usually associated with the cannabis plant.

When CBD oils are created they can either contain small minute traces of THC or are completely absent of THC. It all depends on which treatment you wish to use. Trace amounts of THC within CBD oils are known to have little to no psychoactive effects.

The use of CBD as a supplement for pets is legal. However, as mentioned above, research has lagged on how it affects individual animals (our pets) because of its association with an illegal (in most states) substance. Also because clinical studies are not performed on cats and dogs, they are preformed on rodents, findings regarding specific pros and cons for individual pets are hard to come by.

Benefits CBD may have for your Pet

Just as CBD oil has shown potential benefits for humans your pet may also experience similar improvement in their health. CBD oils for pets such as dogs, cats, mice and rabbits have been shown to help in a variety of ways including chronic and acute conditions. Some anecdotal evidence has shown it to be able to help relieve

  • Arthritis pain
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Skin diseases

CBD for pets is also said to treat temporary conditions like joint and muscle pains. It can also be useful for helping lower anxiety in some pets and to manage weight. There has been evidence that it reduces inflammation, swelling and stiffness.

The growing evidence among pet owners themselves suggests that cannabis-based treatments have a range of benefits. Below are some symptoms that CBD oil has been known to help with.

Symptoms Treated by Cannabidiol (CBD)

  • pain relief
  • increase in blood circulation
  • improvement in cognitive functions
  • lowering of blood sugar
  • muscle and bone repair

One of the most encouraging things regarding CBD oil is that current evidence shows it does not have any major side effects on humans or the rat and mice models during clinical trials. You do however need to make sure that you get the dosage that suits the needs of your pet which can be difficult to figure out since they are animals.

Risks CBD may have for your Pet

Apart from raw unprocessed cannabis anything you get will have been processed or altered in some fashion. It must be made clear that you should absolutely not give your pet raw cannabis, they cannot cope with the mind-altering experience in the way a human can.

Sometimes, natural does not always mean better. Certain natural things can be dangerous to animals. Xylitol, for example, is a natural sugar-free sweetener which it turns out is highly toxic to dogs.

Not all CBD treatments will be the same which is why it is important to check the ingredients of the treatments you are using before you use them or seek advice from a vet.

The fact is that your vet prescribes certain medications (whether they are synthetic or natural) for a very good reason. That is because they have been vetted, regulated, studied and well-documented. Your vet is also there to answer your questions about side effects, proper dosages and when it might be time to change medication or stop altogether.

Always check where the CBD you are giving your pet comes from. Some CBD treatments available may come from industrial hemp that might have originated in somewhere that regulates it, or it could have come from somewhere with more relaxed regulations and from a processing facility where the CBD oil is extracted using less-than ideal methods. There are numerous processes that can be used to extract CBD from cannabis, but one of the cheapest and quickest involves the use of solvents such as hexane and butane. This can leave a toxic residue if it is not correctly handled.

If in doubt make sure you consult and check with your vet before giving your pet any medications. They can also check treatments you have purchased to see if they are safe as well. As with anything you give to your pet it is very important to make sure you know when something isn’t quite right. If you happen to notice any of these symptoms in your pet, take them to the vet immediately.

Potential Negative Side Effects

  • Increased Water Intake
  • Body Tremors
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Disorientation or Dizziness
  • Oversleeping

These symptoms are rare and have not been fully linked to the use of CBD on pets, but it is important to keep an eye out for them.

The use of CBD for pets does require more clinical scientific studies. However, since this is unlikely to happen in the near future we must content ourselves with the information we have. As with anything you are planning to give to your pet please discuss it with your vet first. Also, make sure you do as much research as possible and remember what might work for some pets may not work for others.

Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty is a writer and multimedia producer for cannabisMD where she is constantly evaluating the continued growth of CBD and its presence in the news. Her research and writing on cannabis and CBD can be found at niamhtumilty.com.

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