As busy pet owners, it can be difficult to keep up with the current trends and research. Should you feed grain free or is that detrimental? What proteins are best for your pet? How old should your pet be when she is spayed? What immunizations should your pet have? The list can go on and on. There is always new information, new technology, and new safety protocols for caring for our pets. One of the newer trends is the increased use of CBD products for pets. What is CBD? Should you consider using it for your pet?
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound extracted from the cannabis sativa, or hemp, plant. It is derived from the non-intoxicating portion of the plant (high in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, omega-9, amino acids, proteins, and other healthy nutrients) independently of THC, as opposed to marijuana. Definitions of hempseed oil or CBD versus marijuana are dependent on the amount of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol – a psychoactive compound, in the product. According to the Pet Safety Crusader, “the top portion of the cannabis plant where the flowers are, include the highest concentration of THC, while the stalk, stem, seeds, roots, and lower leaves house shallow levels of THC and a more significant concentration of CBD. The hemp plant’s medicinal and therapeutic properties live here.”
Products that are derived and labeled as hemp or CBD must contain less than 0.3 percent of THC. The American Kennel Club’s chief veterinarian Dr. Jerry Klein says “it is essential to note that in most cases, CBD oil does not contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. In fact, most CBD products are derived from hemp and not from marijuana.”
CBD is an all-natural supplement that partners with the endocannabinoid system. This system, in both humans and pets, is comprised of multiple receptors that interact with other body systems to maintain balance and well-being. For more detail about CBD and the endocannabinoid system the Pet Safety Crusader has a great post.
CBD comes in a variety of forms and formats. According to Only Natural Pet, CBD can come in 3 forms: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate.
- Full Spectrum: Full spectrum CBD is a hemp extract that contains all of the naturally-occurring compounds in the plant, including terpenes, essential oils, and important cannabinoids (such as CBC and CBG) that have been shown to support healthy inflammation response and cell health. Full spectrum hemp-derived CBD contains trace amounts of THC (less than the legal limit of 0.03%). Since the amount of THC is so low, full spectrum CBD is non-psychoactive.
- Broad Spectrum: Broad spectrum CBD is a manufactured alternative to full spectrum. During the manufacturing process, the hemp plant components are isolated and then reintroduced in specific ratios. This allows any THC (the psychoactive component) to be completely removed from the final product.
- Isolate: CBD isolate is pure CBD that has been isolated from other parts of the hemp plant. It may be sold as a powder or mixed with a base oil (like MCT oil). CBD isolate does not contain any other cannabinoids (including THC) or compounds that occur naturally in the hemp plant.
The most commonly found format for CBD is an oil or tincture, but you can also find capsules, topical lotions or creams, and infused treats and food. Finding non-GMO, quality CBD is as important for pet consumption as for human consumption. Most CBD experts recommend getting an organic CBD oil. Being organic means it is free of any pesticides, fertilizers, or fungicides. Especially be certain your pet’s CBD is free of additives. Oils are ideal because you can dispense or adjust the correct dose by an individual drop.
What to consider (is it safe)?
Because CBD products are still fairly new and have not been subjected to FDA oversight or regulation, it is difficult for veterinarians to recommend their use. The American Veterinary Medicine Association cannot allow veterinarians to make recommendations without extensive research being completed. While several universities and clinics have begun studies on the efficacy of CBD products, their long term results will not be known or widely circulated for some time. The laws regarding recommendation and dissemination of hemp products (as opposed to marijuana based products) are also often hazy or complex. Many veterinarians are unable to legally discuss any cannabis based products, either hemp or marijuana, depending on state regulation.
However, this does not mean you should not use it. The studies that have been performed all found potential benefits without harmful side effects. CBD could offer many of the same benefits to pets as it does to humans. According to the AKC “while there’s no scientific data on the side effects of CBD usage for dogs, there are potential side effects based on how CBD affects humans.” These potential side effects of CBD usage for pets include temporary drowsiness, temporary drop in blood pressure with high doses and increased thirst and are considered very mild. For this reason, CBD is considered safe as long as you follow the dosage instructions and any of your veterinarian’s recommendations.
The biggest risk seems to stem from buying from a less-than-reputable supplier. As with any medical decision, extensive research as a pet owner is critically important when selecting a supplier! Regardless of where you get it, the label should indicate the strength of formulation and recommended dosage. The products should also come with a certificate of analysis. According to Dr. Downing, a veterinary pain specialist researching CBD, “this is a way for a producer to affirm and assure the public that what they produce is consistent, not contaminated, and has a specific concentration of active ingredients. Reliable companies are interested in acquiring and repeating independent analyses.”
Does it work?
Many pet owners have reported positive results when giving their pets CBD products. In theory, CBD can provide the following benefits:
- Pain relief: CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect that can help relieve pain associated with joint disorders, arthritis, and even tumors. Joe Wakshlag, DVM, a veterinarian at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, completed a CBD study that showed a reduction of pain in dogs with osteoarthritis.
- Anti-Tumor/Cancer properties: Cancer is scary and many treatments for cancer in both humans and pets can be harsh, with plenty of unfortunate side effects. CBD can help alleviate those side effects and can potentially help shrink tumors if taken internally.
- Anti-Nausea properties: Your pet may be prone to car sickness or has eaten something that makes her ill. Several studies have shown that CBD can reduce nausea and vomiting.
- Epilepsy/Seizure relief: Much like in humans, CBD can help to calm the neurotransmitters that tend to over-fire in epileptic pets. CBD can reduce the number and severity of seizures, often without the side effects of traditional drugs
- Stress/Anxiety relief: Anti-anxiety meds are expensive, sometimes addicting, and can have negative side effects. CBD interacts with serotonin receptors in the brains of animals with anxiety giving them some relief from stress and/or anxiety.
- General health and balance: If your pet seems a little “off” but you and your vet cannot put a finger on it, CBD might be beneficial. Because CBD triggers the endocannabinoid system to promote overall health and balance, it might helpful in getting your pet back to normal and helping to keep her that way. Natural Living Ideas states that CBD can restore appetite, protect the nervous system, and even help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Where can I find it?
Finding a supplier of a CBD product that is trustworthy, derived from hemp-only and containing only CBD is absolutely essential. We recommend purchasing your pet’s (and your) CBD from Healthy Solutions, right here in Minnesota.
Healthy Solutions is a women-owned local business with extensive knowledge and ties to national leaders in the industry. Teresa and Tessi, the owners, only distribute locally sourced organic products that are top of the line. We’ve personally known these two women for over a decade and are confident in their knowledge of CBD products and their passion for improving the lives of people and their pets.
Healthy Solutions offers a full menu of products for pets and humans. For information on what products would be best for you and your pet, contact Tessi or Teresa.
Healthy Solutions has partnered with us to offer our clients a 10% discount on their first purchase. To purchase their products click here. Be sure to enter the discount code word “pets” to get your Whiskers to Tails discount.