Wednesday May 23, 2018

By Erin Hiatt


No one wants to see their beloved four-legged, furry family member suffer from ailments like cancer or arthritis. Pets often struggle with many of the same illnesses that humans do, and there is veterinarian-prescribed medicine that can help. But, just like humans, the medicine can often create unwanted side-effects and reduce a pet’s quality of life. Luckily, pets have more in common with humans than a love of snuggling. And just like a human, a pet’s life can be improved with the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD.

What Conditions Can CBD Treat?

Hemp CBD can be used to treat all kinds of conditions for an ailing family pet. For acute pain, like pain from cancer, leg breaks and healing after surgery, CBD can help because of its anti-inflammatory properties to ease swelling, stiffness and pain. The healing properties of CBD work equally well for chronic conditions like arthritis, digestive troubles, anxiety, and vulnerable immune systems. Many pet owners have also found that CBD can help soothe an anxious animal and improve quality of life for pets getting ready to cross the rainbow bridge.

If you’re interested in seeing if CBD helps improve your pet’s quality of life, check out some great pet CBD products from our friends at Direct CBD!

Show Me the Evidence

Unfortunately, the benefits of CBD for pets are lacking in institutional research. But there are mounds of anecdotal evidence showing that animals experience healing with CBD. Pets do not experience the placebo effect, since animals have no way of “believing” that medicine is working for them. It either works, or it doesn’t. If your animal is improving on a CBD regimen, then the proof is in the pudding.

Happy Cat
Increase in mood or playfulness is a great sign that CBD is working for your pet. photo credit

Turns out that pets benefit from CBD the same way humans do, via the endocannabinoid system. Pets have both CB-1 and CB-2 receptors in their bodies that respond to cannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system helps regulate physiological systems like mood, appetite, pain and the immune system. So, if a human would benefit from it, chances are the family pet will benefit, too!

Is the Pet CBD Market Growing?

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) keeps track of pet industry size and ownership statistics. They estimate that in 2017, Americans spent $69.36 billion dollars on their pets. $14.71 billion of that total was spent on supplies and over-the-counter medicine to keep their pets happy and in good health.

How much of that amount is spent on pet CBD is hard to quantify, but what’s easy to figure out is that the pet CBD market grows by leaps and bounds every year. The Hemp Business Journal recently estimated that that the hemp CBD market will be worth $450 million by 2020, up from $90 million in 2015.

Can CBD Get My Pet High?

CBD alone is a non-psychoactive substance, so the short answer is no. However, many CBD products contain trace amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC. The allowable THC threshold for hemp CBD products is 0.3 percent – a very small amount and not nearly enough to make your pet high.

Hemp Plants
Hemp has a very low THC percentage, resulting in CBD extracts with 0.3 percent or less THC.

If you were to use CBD that has more than 0.3 percent THC, say a cannabis-derived CBD product, your pet may begin to feel psychoactive effects. That’s why it’s always best to stick with reputable, pet CBD providers who use hemp-extracted CBD with minimal THC content.

You would never get your human children high, and the same goes for your furry children. If your pet does get into your marijuana stash, consider taking them to the vet immediately. Signs of a stoned pet are lethargy, drooling, vomiting, being off-kilter, twitching and dilated pupils. If the dose was high enough, they’ll need proper medical care until the effects wear off.

Dosing and Consistency

Your pet will get the most benefit from CBD when it is dosed correctly and consistently. And while every pet’s dosing will be different, deciding how much to give your pet should always be based on weight and the severity of condition.

For a pet weighing around three pounds, 0.25 to 0.5 milligrams twice a day would be a good starting point, whereas an animal over 100 pounds would get 15 to 30 milligrams twice a day.

Once you’ve given your pet a dose of CBD, keep a close eye on them to know whether or not their condition has improved. Give it a couple of weeks, then adjust the dosing upward or downward accordingly.

More and more Americans have access to legal cannabis, and as barriers to acceptability keep tumbling down, more people than ever will be looking for complementary healing methods for their pets. Even veterinarians in California are hoping to one day be able to write cannabis recommendations for the family pet, just like a human doctor can for their two-legged patients. So, if your pet is in pain and you want to give them a better quality of life, consider trying CBD – it could really help!

Have you used any CBD products for your pets? What were the results?

Photo Credit: Cannabis Reports (license)

Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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