Pets May Benefit from Adding CBD to Their Diet

We ask a lot of the animals that live with us, particularly if that includes urban living, where there seems to be no end of things that stress us out. And while having pets may alleviate our stress, it seems likely that our pets get stressed out by the never-ending clamor, light and general busy-ness of city living.

More and more, pet owners and more than a few veterinarians are exploring whether or not the use of cannabis, so helpful to so many of us, might also be useful to our pets. And while much more research needs to be done, it seems that the dogs and cats that allow us to live with them can benefit from cannabis.

Dr. Sarah Brandon, a veterinarian and a founder of Canna Companion USA, a manufacturer of cannabis supplements for pets, said that in her company’s research, some cats got a “side benefit” of cannabis.

“We administered it to several older kitties with joint discomfort and histories of FIC (feline interstitial cystitis),” she told Animal Wellness Magazine. “All responded well regarding their joint aches, but the surprise came after two months of supplementation when their FIC symptoms also resolved.”

Cannabidiol advocated for pets

There are no shortage of animal advocates willing to push for CBD (cannabidiol) as possible treatments for any number of feline and canine maladies ranging from pain to allergies to anxiety. CBD interacts with human – and most mammalian – endocannabinoid systems, the effects of which are still the subject of research.

CBD for pets – study

Colorado State University’s veterinary school is in the midst of a long-term study on the effects of CBD on pets, including therapeutic benefits. While it is in the early days yet, indications are that much promise lies ahead.

The Guardian reported that a team led by Dr. Stephanie McGrath studied epileptic seizures in dogs and found an 89 percent reduction in seizures in dogs who’d been treated with CBD. The study is moving on to determine whether or not marijuana derivatives might also be useful as a treatment for osteoarthritis in dogs.

CBD oil best for dogs

For the most part, these pets are being given drops of liquid CBD oil, either by itself or mixed with food or drink. But pets being pets, they can ingest CBD edibles in other ways, including getting into the owner’s supply of marijuana, gobbling up pot brownies or other food sitting around or by second-hand smoke. Symptoms that might develop include lethargy, dilated pupils, difficulty walking, whining or crying and/or vomiting.

If a dog or cat has ingested too much marijuana, veterinarians will look to regulate the animal’s body temperature while making sure the animal is properly hydrated.

CBD and veterinary medicine

However, as complicated as the rules are for humans to get and use marijuana and its products in the U.S., the rules concerning cannabis and pets is equally convoluted. Depending on where you live, just talking with your vet about cannabis for a pet is dicey. California vets are legally prevented from giving pet owners advice or recommendations regarding the use of medical cannabis for their pets. If the vet broaches the subject, the possibility of losing his or her license is looming in the background. Thankfully, the acceptance of non-narcotic CBD use for pets is opening the door to more discussion of medical cannabis treatment in veterinary medicine.

Unlike California, Colorado veterinarians are not shackled by such restrictions. Robert Silver, a retired vet of 35 years from Boulder, Colo., is also a veterinary herbalist and a past president of the Veterinary Botanical Medical Association. He was a cannabis skeptic at first, but he told he’d come around over the years.

“As I explored this phytopharmacological aspects of this plant, I fell in love with it,” he said of cannabis as an aid for the pets he’d treated.

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