CBD or cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis and has been used to help people suffering from anxiety and pain. Recently people have been turning to CBD for their furry friends ailments as well.
CBD pet products have been hitting the market in recent years, as CBD has become legal in all 50 states. Most pet CBD products come in the same forms as ours do: edibles, oils and topical creams. But the question is does it work?
Colorado veterinarian Stephanie McGrath conducted her own study on how healthy dogs react to CBD in capsule, oil and a topical form in 2016.
"We measured the pharmacokinetics, which basically means you give the dogs a single dose of all three delivery methods and then you measure a bunch of different blood levels over a 12-hour period," says McGrath. "So how quickly is the CBD absorbed, how high the blood concentration gets at that single dose, and then how fast the CBD is eliminated."
The results from the study showed that the oil was the best form as it reached the highest concentration in the blood, stayed in the bloodstream the longest and performed the most consistently. The capsule came 2nd and the cream performed too inconsistently for them to draw a conclusion.
Dogs have an endocannabinoid system just like us but scientists still aren't sure if CBD interacts with it the same as humans. They do know that CBD seems to metabolize in their liver just like us.
"I would definitely be a little concerned about giving CBD to a dog that has known liver issues," says McGrath. "We don't really know how these things interact right now."
A number of small studies have been conducted and it seems that CBD may help lower seizures in epileptic dogs and help increase the comfort and activity of dogs with osteoarthritis.
“All we've basically done is give this drug to these dogs and said, okay, this is what we're seeing," says McGrath. "But whether or not the blood levels achieved are adequate enough to treat certain diseases, we don't yet know."
Larger studies are being conducted but it may still be a while before the results are published.
“CBD had helped curb my arthritis pain,” said Judy Hoover. “I also give it to my dog who is 20 years old and could not go up and down the stairs. She now runs up and down the stairs.”
There may not be enough evidence through scientific studies to prove CBD does help, but there are plenty of personal testimonies of people who administer CDB to their pets for their pain and anxiety.
“I gave my dog CBD oil in the last year of his life,” wrote Sharon Sloan in a comment. “He was able to walk again, smile again, eat again and stay awake. I believe it took his pain away.”
CBD is safe for dogs and cats according to a World Health Organization report and the American Kennel Club believes it has health benefits and produces a calm feeling for dogs. However, THC can be toxic to cats and dogs so look for only 100% CBD products when shopping for your pet.
You should always talk with your veterinarian before trying any alternative medicines or treatments on your pet.
"We haven't found anything that's super alarming about CBD," says McGrath. "But on the flip side, we still know very little about it and it's really important for owners to know that and use it with caution until we have more information."