The Science Behind Giving CBD And Cannabis To Cats And Dogs

CBD products for pets are seeing an upsurge these days, as most pet owners now prefer it to treat different ailments in their furry friends. 

This makes everyone wonder why is CBD gaining this much attention? What extraordinary power does the compound have? 

Fortunately, we can now come across dozens of research proving the therapeutic benefits of the cannabinoid to get the answers to these questions.

If you wonder about the science behind CBD for pets, especially cats and dogs, you’re at the right place. In this article, you will find some significant takeaways on this topic. 

So let’s get started!

CBD As a Natural Alternative

In case you missed it, many Americans have already started using CBD oil products after discovering their benefits. According to a 2019 Gallup report, 14% – about 1 in 7 – adults in the USA use CBD.

Two cats laying down.

Luckily, scientists and medical researchers have also suggested CBD’s promising results on animals as well.

So whether you want to use CBD for your muscle recovery, or treat your pet’s anxiety, using natural full-plant supplements is known to work effectively and safely. 

Not surprisingly, a study also provided evidence for the efficacy of CBD for pets. It indicated both THC and CBD could prevent seizures in animal models. 

Moreover, CBD pet products can reduce:

  • Stress-levels
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Inflammation
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety

This proves that CBD can replace numerous medications to treat different illnesses in your pals.

How Good Is CBD for Cats and Dogs?

Despite all the benefits of CBD for pets, it is still too early to term CBD as an effective pet medication. 

However, there are promising signs from whatever research has been concluded so far. 

CBD research on cats and dogs answers questions like those for humans. But, it’s a bit more complicated to answer right now as there is no definitive answer given by researchers yet.

However, on the brighter side, they hope to find how efficiently the cannabinoid works for dogs and cats by researching this niche more.

Promising Studies Conducted on Arthritic Dogs

The first groundbreaking research work focused on CBD for dogs was conducted in July 2018. The study subjects were arthritic dogs, which were administered with CBD oil to treat their condition.

It was found that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice a day can calm and comfort the dogs with Osteoarthritis (OA). 

Dr. Joseph Wakshlag and his team, researching at Cornell University, noticed how hemp-based CBD worked for pain relief in arthritic dogs. It was a hemp blend oil, tested on a sample of a few dogs. 

Remarkably, there was a considerable decrease in pain and better mobility in more than 80% of the dogs.

These tremendous outcomes appeal for more research in the same area.

A Remarkable Study on Epileptic Dogs

Idiopathic epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions in dogs. Around 5.7% of the total population of dogs suffers from this disorder globally.

Hence, it became crucial for medical researchers to find a potent and effective treatment for dog seizures.

In 2019, Dr. Stephani McGrath of Colorado State University conducted a study on 16 epileptic dogs to observe CBD’s effects on their seizures. 

She divided the dogs into two groups and then gave nine of them CBD-based medication while the remaining seven were treated with a placebo. The former group was administered CBD oil for 12 weeks. 

Moreover, all 16 dogs were given anticonvulsant drugs at every CBD dosage to keep their condition under control.

As a result, around 89% of the dogs treated with CBD oil showed a remarkable reduction in the frequency of seizures. These outcomes also got published in the Journal of American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA).

CBD for Pets With Anxiety

Our pets become anxious due to several factors, including traveling, moving to a new place, overcrowded areas, fireworks, or PTSD. 

Luckily, CBD can be the natural alternative for your dogs’ anxiety with zero-to-no side effects. 

Although there is no specific research conducted on this topic yet, studies conducted on CBD’s potential in treating humans with anxiety prove the cannabinoid’s efficacy. 

Besides, many dog owners have also claimed that CBD has helped their anxious pets a lot. For instance, Kristina King, a proud owner of two dogs, revealed that CBD treats made her pets a lot calmer and friendlier with people. 

The Need for More Studies

Although the above studies may seem promising, it’s too early to predict any workable solutions. So, if you’re looking for CBD for pets’ recommendations from a professional doctor, you may not find them on the internet easily.

Therefore, as a concerned pet owner, it may not be the right time to go feeding CBD to your cats and dogs. 

Instead, you must wait for a more factual database to prove the cannabinoid’s effectiveness. There is a reason why CBD regulations for pets are still under consideration!

Vets and CBD for Pets

If you want your vet’s assurance to start using CBD for pets, the chances are that you may not get it. 

That’s because vets are restricted by the higher authority to prescribe CBD products. So no matter what their professional qualifications are, they cannot recommend such products yet. 

In terms of CBD prescription, the state veterinary boards must follow the federal regulations on Cannabis.

For instance, Cannabis is legal for adults in California. However, the California Veterinary Medical Board disapproves of vets prescribing CBD to pets. Anyone who does so will be violating the state law.

Furthermore, Dr. Richter, a Cannabis advocate for veterinary use, is a dynamic personality in the political circle. Being a first-hand witness of CBD effects, he says that many vets in California will be putting their license on the line if they recommend CBD to their patients.

Richter believes anything that works for humans has a high percentage chance of working on pets too. 

Also, he thinks that CBD can treat problems like inflammation, pain, stress and anxiety, seizures, cancers, etc., so why not try such medications for cats and dogs too.

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CBD Regulations for Pets are Tough in Some States

States where CBD is still illegal, have even worse situations for pets. Dr. Dawn Boothe from Auburn University, Alabama, mentions how she has faced problems carrying forward her research. 

According to the DEA, all CBD products are dealt with similar to marijuana, so they are banned from the public.

Hence, if researchers wish to take up CBD research, they must undergo a formal procedure to acquire a federal permit. Thus, the research becomes much more complicated than it already is.

The Problem with Research

There have been a few pieces of research published on cannabis use for veterinary purposes. 

A study in 2004 discusses 213 recorded instances of the side effects of oral marijuana consumption in dogs. It was based on the data collected from Jan 1998 to Jan 2002.

In the study, almost all the dogs showed neurological signs. Plus, nearly 30% of them also experienced gastrointestinal problems.

The problem with such research is that it focused on the negatives of cannabis consumption. As we all know, CBD is much different from other components of the Cannabis Sativa plant (marijuana and THC) as it doesn’t make the users high. 

Still, studies like these take CBD into its shadow and make it an iffy substance for pets. 

Moreover, most people often confuse CBD and THC with each other. That’s why medical experts require authentic and detailed research to guide the newbies better.

Avoiding THC

Since THC is intoxicating and banned by the FDA and DEA, researchers stay away from it. Hence, it is recommended not to use THC-containing meds for pets. 

That’s the reason why Cornell’s study used hemp oil free from THC. 

CBD for Dogs: How They React to It?

A 1988 study measuring the effects of CBD oil in dogs showed that the pills didn’t do too well for the dogs and had minimal impact. 

Dr. Wakshlag talks about the study, saying that the initial research focused on how dogs absorb CBD. However, in comparison to the older literature, the new findings were quite promising.

He terms the oil base as the critical difference in the effectiveness of CBD. 

The earlier studies focused on intravenous transmission or power-based capsules. However, the new method involved oil-based Cannabidiol, which the dogs absorbed much better.

CBD for Cats: What Do We Know?

Unfortunately, there is no evidence of how CBD works with cats from whatever research we have for its use on pets. 

Science says that cats have a much different anatomy to dogs, so there is no point in treating them the same way. 

Moreover, it is suspected that cats can turn sick if given CBD treatments. Hence, you will find very few safe CBD options for cats right now. 

Two dogs next to each other.

Additionally, CBD dosage for cats also differs from dogs. This is because they need a higher dosage of hemp oil than dogs due to their faster metabolisms.

The Right CBD Dosage

Finding the right dosage for the pet is also a big challenge. 

Many popular CBD brands like ElleVet Sciences offer hemp oil and similar products with a predefined content of CBD. Remember that any dosage won’t work for your pet if it doesn’t have the required CBD content.

Therefore, Wakshlag focused on the proper CBD dosage in his study at Cornell. 

He mentioned how they modeled their dosages on the few research types on humans that had previously shown effective results. 

They decided to go with a 2mg dose for dogs. The idea was to keep the medicine affordable and effective at the same time.

So whether you’re determining CBD dosage for yourself or your pet, you should always start with the lowest dose. Then, after some time, you can increase the amount gradually according to your pet’s reaction to the set dose.

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Although researchers like Cornell are helping bring forward the idea of CBD for pets,  considerable time is still required to say anything conclusive. 

Luckily, the signs are pretty promising, and with more research and studies, we can soon have regulations regarding CBD use for pets.

If things go well and state bodies start taking measures for Cannabis for pets, there can be a big boost in the CBD market globally.

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