//Your Vet and Your Pet. How to introduce them both to CBD

Your Vet and Your Pet. How to introduce them both to CBD

Hemp-obtained CBD products for pets are still new in the veterinary realm, so the scientific conclusion is still out on what CBD can and, just as importantly, cannot do from a medical perspective. Hemp-derived products operate collectively with a pet’s natural endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate many of the different internal tasks in our dogs and cats. Based on both human and veterinary literature, CBD products may also help pets in the following ways:

  • Reduction in pain
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Reduction in seizures and convulsions
  • Anti-inflammatory (i.e. hypersensitivity, dermatitis)
  • Immune system support (i.e. autoimmune disease, cancer)
  • Nervous system support
  • Gastrointestinal support
  • Cardiovascular system support

There is also circumstantial evidence to support the use of hemp-derived CBD products for pets. A 2018 survey discovered that pet owners advocated for hemp CBD treats and products because of perceived improvements in numerous ailments including pain, inflammation, anxiety, digestive system issues, and to aid with sleep. A select number of published peer reviewed studies showed that using hemp-derived CBD oil improved the lives of dogs with osteoarthritis (4) (5).

How to Talk to Your Veterinarian About CBD

If your pet is suffering from anxiety, arthritis, or other medical conditions, and you believe they may receive aid from CBD products, it’s essential to have a conversation with your veterinarian to discuss treatments that make the most sense for your pets’ specific lifestyle.

It is important to note that research on CBD products is still a work in progress, and some veterinarians may not be legally allowed to discuss, recommend, or dispense products, or they may not feel comfortable doing so. 

Here are some ways to get the conversation started: 

Know your state’s laws. Your veterinarian is bound by your states veterinary medical board as to how much they are allowed to guide you regarding CBD products. Some states—like California—allow veterinarians to discuss cannabis but not advocate, manage, distribute, or prescribe it. There is activism work being organized to change certain laws to give veterinarians more room to talk about, propose and hopefully one day dispense CBD products in their practices, but knowing your current states stance on CBD is an important place to start. 

Be open and sincere. When beginning the topic with your veterinarian, start with an open dialogue about why you are interested in starting your pet on a CBD regimen. If you have already begun administering a product, consider bringing the product to their clinic so that your veterinarian can evaluate the product with you.

Share information with your veterinarian. Some states regulations limit a vet’s ability to discuss or recommend CBD products to their patients. Oftentimes, it’s up to the pet owner to bring up the topic of CBD with their veterinarian and sharing information can be one way to get the conversation started. 

Be prepared for setbacks. Medical boards in each state are still working on procedures to provide veterinarians with regulations surrounding CBD. Due to the unclear legal environment, some veterinarians may have limited knowledge on the subject. However, most veterinarians can provide you with some information on how to reduce the risk of adverse reactions occurring if you decide to use a CBD product on your own.  

How Do Cats and Dogs React to CBD? 

Considerable research still needs to be presented to carefully compare the differences between the endocannabinoid system of pets and how this system responds to phyto-cannabinoids (synthetic and plant-based cannabinoids) like CBD. 

There are two major varieties of cannabinoid receptors in all mammalian bodies—CB1 and CB2. These receptors help to regulate and balance the central nervous and immune system. In the long run, these receptors can influence inflammation, pain, allergies, and mood. 

The endo-cannabinoid system is comprised of three main components: the receptors, the endocannabinoids and the enzymes. The endocannabinoids (which are the chemicals naturally produced inside the body) are created on demand and bind to the receptors, notably in times of stress, disease or injury. Phyto-cannabinoids, like CBD, work similarly to the endo-cannabinoids by also binding to the cannabinoid receptors.  

Dogs have the richest density of CB1 receptors in the brain compared to any other species, including humans. A recent study indicated that cats seem to have lower absorption and possibly faster removal of CBD compared to dogs. Therefore, cats may need to be medicated more often to maintain suitable blood levels of CBD. 

Every pet is unique, not all dogs and cats will see the same results from using CBD products. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any worries or questions about how your pet is responding to a specific product.

Are CBD Products Legal for Pets?

The short answer is Yes. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal for pets, as long as they meet the requirement of containing less than 0.3 percent of THC. 

It’s crucial to do your research on products before dispensing anything to your pet. Not every producer and product are created equal. Carefully research the base material, spectrum, where your products are derived from, and verify that the company producing it is a reputable one. 

How to know if CBD is right for your pet?

Choosing the right CBD product for your pet’s unique needs is a task that requires research, talking with your veterinarian, and trial testing. It is true that not all products work for all animals, and some pets react differently to CBD and other cannabinoids compared to similar animals. 

You are the expert on your pet—so if you think a CBD product can be advantageous, the topic may be worth exploring further. In addition to talking with your vet, here are some tools to help you choose the right product.

Understanding your pet’s needs. Selecting the right product for your pet will depend largely on your pet’s overall wellness and health needs. General reasons why people choose a CBD product for their pet includes nervousness, discomfort, stiffness, cancer, convulsions, allergies, and more. If your pet has anxiety, a complete product like a Full-Spectrum CBD oil may be a good fit. If it is a localized problem, researching topical products is a good place to start. 

Ask others and read reviews. If you have a buddy, colleague, family member, or neighbor that has had success with CBD products for their pets, it’s worth talking with them and discussing their pet’s conditions and what products worked and didn’t work for them. This is true for internet reviews, forums, or chats, where you can research the types of products that worked for other pets and their owners who might have had the same symptoms as you have encountered. This will help organize your thoughts and can be beneficial when talking with your veterinarian. 

Do extensive brand research. As mentioned previously, not all CBD brands are created equal. Prior to choosing a product, research the company and manufacturing method behind it. Look for products from brands that are transparent and up front about their policies and procedures. Investigate how companies source their materials and understand where those materials come from. Search out products that are formulated by or endorsed by veterinarians with CBD awareness and experience. Since these are products you’ll be giving to your pet, having confidence in the brand that is creating them is a vital part of the path to better tomorrows.