by Erica Garza
You may have already heard how cannabidiol, or CBD, can relieve pain and anxiety in humans, but did you know that CBD also helps pets? From tinctures to capsules to chew treats, cannabis products have burst onto the market to help pets live better lives. Learn why researchers and pet owners have started using CBD for pets.
From fireworks to long plane rides, there are many reasons why your pet might become fearful and anxious. Research shows that CBD has the potential to relieve anxiety in both animals and humans. There are also several anecdotal success stories, such as those found in the popular Facebook group CBD Oil for Pets, in which members swap tips on using CBD with their animals, some saying CBD has relieved even an “extreme degree of anxiety.” In pets, anxiety can manifest in a number of ways. Some telltale signs include aggression, destructive behavior, hyperactivity, trembling, digging and having accidents in the home.
CBD is lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties, relieving pain and stiffness in humans, from athletes to the elderly. Pets who are in pain can experience the same benefits of CBD as determined in one Cornell study of dogs with osteoarthritis. Researchers found that dogs that received CBD oil every 12 hours over four weeks showed a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity compared to dogs that received placebo oil.
In a study at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, neurologist Dr. Stephanie McGrath found that CBD can successfully stop seizures in dogs with epilepsy. Based on her groundbreaking research, she found that 89 percent of dogs receiving CBD in a clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures. “Overall, what we found seems very promising,” she concluded.
Where to Find CBD for Pets
If you live in a state that offers legal CBD, your dog may benefit from a few drops of oil on their food, or you can purchase several cannabis products specifically designed for dogs. However it’s always a good idea to speak with your vet first if you have any concerns. Unless you live in California, the only state that’s legally cleared the way for veterinarians to discuss CBD treatment, many vets will not bring the topic up first. Still, while CBD can interact with other drugs if animals are already medicated, the overall consensus of doctors is that CBD is a safe form of treatment.
Dr. Cornelia Wagner, owner of Hawthorne Veterinary Clinic in Portland told Forbes that any pet’s treatment plan with cannabis should begin with the lowest dose possible. “The upper dose limit for CBD products recommended is around 1 mg/kg/day orally, but one should start with a much smaller fraction of this dose such as 0.05 mg/kg/day,” states Dr. Wagner on Hawthorne Clinic’s website. “For THC products, start with an oral dose of 0.1-0.25 mg/kg THC once or twice daily.” If there are no negative side effects like sedation or disorientation, this dose can be increased if the pet has developed a tolerance.
While the research on administering CBD to pets is limited, new studies are emerging at a rapid rate. Even in its earliest stages, cannabis for pets reveals extraordinary promise.
“People are using CBD and they are excited about its potential,” said Dr. McGrath. We’d guess their pets are excited too.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in Time, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, The Telegraph and Vice. She lives in Los Angeles.