Since the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp, more and more CBD companies have been free to enter the marketplace. As a result, consumers have seen a whole slew of novel CBD applications and products—even things as unique as CBD-infused pillows. The proliferation of new CBD products has exposed a new customer base to the benefits of CBD, including the unlikely demographic of dogs and cats.
Today, let’s talk about CBD and pets and answer some common questions that pet-parents considering cannabidiol often have. How is CBD designed for our furry friends different from the CBD made for human consumption? What are the benefits of CBD for pets? Is it even safe?
What Is CBD For Pets?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound derived from cannabis and hemp plants. Unlike its cousin THC, CBD doesn’t produce any of the intoxicating effects associated with marijuana use. Since CBD is THC free and doesn’t get you high, consumers are free to access the potential medicinal and benefits of cannabis without worrying about becoming impaired.
So what is the best CBD for pets? The CBD marketed towards pets is chemically identical to the CBD designed for humans. The only difference is that pet CBD is formulated in smaller doses suitable for dogs or cats.
Are CBD Pet Treats Legal?
Federally, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and therefore legalized hemp-derived CBD. However, each individual state still sets its own laws regarding the cultivation of hemp and the sale of hemp products. So whether CBD is legal or not will depend on where in the country you live, though almost all states have followed the federal government’s lead in legalizing the cannabinoid.
Though the compound is legal, it still hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an additive to food. Since that includes pet treats, CBD-infused dog biscuits fall under the umbrella of the unapproved designation. But just like CBD edibles for humans, that doesn’t mean they aren’t widely available for sale. You can even buy CBD pet treats from major established retailers like Petco. So while CBD dog treats are in a somewhat grey legal area, consumers won’t have to worry about the DEA busting down their doors.
Potential CBD Benefits For Pets
With the exception of Epidiolex, CBD has not been approved by the FDA for use in humans or animals. However, preliminary research into the compound as a medical agent has been incredibly promising. While we still need more clinical trials to confirm the early studies and centuries of anecdotal evidence, many pets and pet owners are already using CBD to treat a myriad of ailments.
One 2015 study indicates that “CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.” This potential anxiety-reducing effect could be life-changing for dogs with severe separation anxiety or who are extremely frightened by thunderstorms and fireworks. A more recent study from 2019 published in the Frontiers of Veterinary Science found that according to practicing vets, “CBD was also deemed to be helpful for reducing anxiety and seizure frequency/severity by over 75% of participants.”
That same study found that the vast majority of vets surveyed believe in their professional opinion that CBD can be helpful in treating chronic pain conditions. One of the hardest parts of pet ownership is watching our beloved dogs or cats age so much faster than us. As they get older, pain visibly increases. Unfortunately, many of the current mainstream pain management therapies come with debilitating side effects that drastically reduce our pet’s quality of life. That’s why many pet owners are switching to pet CBD oil to help their elderly furry friends cope with chronic pain.
The most researched benefit of CBD is its anti-seizure properties. Cannabidiol has been proven to be so effective at reducing seizures in humans that even the FDA has approved its use for the treatment of severe epilepsy disorders in the form of Epidiolex. Burgeoning research indicates it may be just as useful for pets as well. One Clinical trial studying the effects of CBD on canine seizure sufferers found that 89% of dogs treated with CBD experienced a reduction in seizures.