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For many of us, our pets aren’t just animals that live in our house. They’re part of our family. We love them, and we would do anything to help them. All animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates, are known to have an endocannabinoid system with endocannabinoid receptors. Just like in humans, when our pet’s endocannabinoid system is out of whack and out of homeostasis, health problems occur. Our furry friends can suffer from cancer, arthritis, anxiety, epilepsy and seizures, and chronic pain – just like we do. It makes sense, as the interest in CBD oil continues to grow, that people have started to investigate the benefits of CBD oil for their pets.
Interestingly, the push to give pets CBD oil did not originate with veterinarians. In fact, in many areas – including areas in which cannabis is legal – vets aren’t even allowed to discuss cannabis treatment with pet owners. Even though physicians and health food store owners can suggest CBD oil, vets can be held legally responsible if they discuss or prescribe cannabis treatment. In September 2018, California passed a law that would allow vets to at least discuss (not even prescribe) cannabis treatment with pet owners. This is a first step in helping responsible pet owners have candid discussions with their vets about alternatives that could help their pets.
Beyond these laws that keep vets and pet owners from discussing a possible treatment plan to help their pets, there is the issue of the lack of available scientific studies regarding CBD oil use and pets. The breadth of research on CBD oil and animals is very small. However, within the last year, Cornell University and Colorado State published studies examining the effects of CBD oil on dogs with arthritis and epilepsy, respectively. The results are encouraging, and they indicate that a quality CBD oil can, in fact, offer significant pain relief for dogs.
This is not to say that all CBD oils are the same or that all CBD oils will help your pet. The same rigorous standards you employ before buying a bottle of CBD oil for yourself should also govern what you give your pet. The old adage “You get what you pay for” is glaringly true as it relates to CBD oil for you and your pet. Running to grab the cheapest CBD oil you can buy is the worst thing you can do. Those oils are often full of impurities, toxins, and metals. They may lack the levels of actual CBD that you want. As I’ve written many times before, CBD oil should be pure and grown in an organic environment. Every batch should be third party tested, and you should examine those test results. CBD oil should have only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and below the legal limit of .3%. THC toxicity is a real danger to animals, and often presents in pets who have been nibbling on a marijuana plant. Using a CBD oil with levels of THC that fall below the legal limit is critical in keeping your pet healthy.
Even though there are not that many scientific studies available yet, and it may even be difficult for you and your vet to have a conversation about CBD oil, anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of CBD abounds. Pet owners have been giving their pets treats and dropping bacon flavored CBD oil in their pets’ food for a while now. CBD oil seems to help pets with arthritis, anxiety, and seizures. As with any treatment, it is important to pay attention to the dosage, so pets don’t experience gastrointestinal issues, sedation, dizziness, disorientation, or tremors. Tell your vet that you are giving your pet CBD oil, so your fur baby’s doctor has the full story if a complication or health problem should arise.
The world of CBD oil is still in a bureaucratic black hole, though we’re slowing pulling back the curtains and allowing the light to flood in. This leaves pet owners and CBD oil users trying to advocate for the health of their pets on their own. Be very careful of the CBD oil that you buy, follow the dosing on the bottle, tell your vet about your decision to give your pet CBD oil, and watch your pet very carefully for any possible side effects.
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