Pets often suffer from the same ailments as their owners like arthritis, seizures, and stiff joints. It’s never easy watching a pet suffer, especially when you can relate to their pain.
If you’ve found relief for your ailments by taking CBD oil or other forms of medical marijuana, you might be tempted to give some to your pet. Although the sentiment is pure, it’s not a good idea.
Although the World Health Organization declared CBD safe for humans in November 2017, not all CBD products are pure. Some CBD products contain small amounts of THC, while others don’t specify the THC content. While there are no known human deaths from overdosing on THC, that’s not the case for dogs and cats.
THC can be toxic to pets
The psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be toxic to animals, and in certain quantities can be lethal. Smaller dogs are more at risk for THC poisoning than bigger dogs.
Don’t let the seemingly funny videos on YouTube fool you – a dog that got high from eating its owner’s edibles might look funny staggering around, but for them, it’s a medical emergency. Dogs that ingest THC experience diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures.
Don’t dose your pets from your stash
When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a veterinary neurologist from Colorado State University, fielded plenty of questions from pet owners and vets. McGrath discovered people were giving their pets edibles and other products made for humans. “That, as you can imagine, is not safe at all,” she told The Cannabist.
Although some people have been able to give their pets medical marijuana without incident, that’s a big risk to take. According to the Pet Poison Hotline, THC can be toxic and ingesting too much can become life threatening for dogs.
Even if you think you’re giving your pet a THC-free dose, don’t be so sure. Some products on the market are marketed as “hemp oil” and contain no mention of THC content. Other products contain minimal levels of THC that are unnoticeable to humans, but could be deadly for a small pet.
For humans, low levels of CBD lead to relaxation. “At higher levels (20mg+), you will feel very relaxed, and possibly sleepy,” says Healthy Hemp Oil. “Each person responds differently, so it’s best to start low and work up in serving size.”
For pets, the effects are amplified due to their faster metabolism. That’s why many companies produce CBD oil specifically formulated for pets. It’s not just a marketing gimmick – they use low-THC strains and the tinctures are formulated to make it easy to give low doses to pets of any size.
Pets should only be given pure CBD made for pets
As many humans are discovering, you don’t need to ingest THC to get the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant. That means pets don’t, either. NCBI states that the cannabidiol compound known as CBD is “devoid of psychoactive activity, with analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic and chemopreventive activities.” This compound has been proven to relieve pain, depression, anxiety, stress, and inflammation in humans. It’s also been proven to stop seizures in epileptic dogs and cats.
Despite the evidence, many pet parents and veterinarians still aren’t comfortable with the idea that CBD comes from the same plant as marijuana.
The effects of hemp oil and CBD on dogs is still being researched
In 2016, researchers at Colorado State University launched two double-blind studies to measure the medicinal effects of hemp oil: one study for dogs with epilepsy and one for dogs with arthritis.
The trials lasted twelve weeks, and owners were required to maintain a daily log of seizures and overall activity. Each dog received either CBD oil or a placebo for the first six weeks, and then received the opposite solution for the next six weeks.
While the results of the CSU trials have yet to be published, the use of CBD to treat epilepsy and arthritis in dogs looks promising. Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine announced the results of their clinical trial on the effects of using CBD to treat dogs in pain. In this study, over 80% of participating dogs experienced “significant improvements” compared to those who received a placebo.
There will undoubtedly be more trials in the future that will confirm the wide range of use CBD has in treating cats and dogs for common ailments, including post-surgical pain.
If you’ve never treated your pet with CBD, keep your pet safe and consult a pro-CBD veterinarian before you begin.