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New in the Medicine Cabinet: CBD Oil for Pets

If you’ve heard the whispers at the doggy park you might have heard the new treatment for various disorders in pets – CBD oil.  CBD oil is closely associated with cannabis, despite not always being produced from marijuana plants, so its use in veterinary medicine is very new and relatively unstudied.  Now, however, vets have started turning to CBD oil as a solution for a wide variety of symptoms in pets – from seizure prevention to pain management.

Here is some information about what CBD oil is, what it is being used for, and why this new treatment is so controversial.

CBD Oil, What It Is and Why People Want It:

Once closely associated with marijuana, CBD oil is usually produced from the hemp plant.  Hemp is part of a plant group that naturally contains cannabinoids (or CBD), a chemical which reacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body (Gardner 2014).  A relative of hemp, and another source of CBD, is marijuana.

Despite being a good source of CBD, marijuana also carries a chemical that causes hallucinations when ingested, called tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC).  Because of marijuana’s ability to cause hallucinations, both hemp and marijuana were legislated against despite only marijuana being used recreationally. Hemp is unique in that it only carries CBD, with very little THC.  Recently, legislation has been introduced to allow hemp to be grown for scientific purposes in the United States, which could signal new acceptance for the plant (Dykema 2016).

The reason that CBD is so useful in pets is because of the way it interacts with the chemical receptors.  When the body absorbs CBD, it works to regulate the body’s response to pain, anxiety, and sleep. When CBD oil made from hemp is dosed correctly for body weight, it can relieve a wide variety of symptoms with no dangerous side effects.  It is impossible to become high from hemp oil unless taking an extreme amount because of the low amount of naturally occurring THC.

Symptoms Treated by CBD Oil:

CBD oil can be used for a wide variety of symptoms due to how it interacts in the body.  The oil is usually available in the form of an oil compound, with owners giving the dose directly in the pets’ mouth under the tongue.  With an increase in availability, pills and topical applications are starting to be developed. CBD oil is used for relief from pain due to arthritis, as well as symptoms of nausea, seizures (especially when used with other seizure medications), symptoms from anxiety, and is used to help treat cancerous tumors (Jones).  

Many owners reporting an almost complete disappearance of pain symptoms in their pets after using CBD oil. Currently, studies examining how effective CBD oil is have all supported their claims.

Are There Any Risks with CBD Oil:

Because CBD oil is not a narcotic, it has no known negative effects like most medications currently prescribed for these symptoms.  For instance, when looking to relieve symptoms of pain from arthritis, many dogs are prescribed Rimadyl, which is a best-seller for many vet offices.  Despite relieving symptoms for the majority of dogs, it also can cause liver failure and death in some (Adams 2015). Currently, CBD oil is rarely mentioned as an alternative to powerful medications when discussing pain management due to current legislation and lack of acceptance in the medical community.  

The only known dangers of using CBD oil is when using the oil derived from marijuana, which is currently illegal in Michigan unless users have a medical marijuana license.  In these cases, it is possible for overuse to lead to the pet becoming high. This can result in difficulty walking and eating, and may need support through vet care (Semigran).  When using hemp-based CBD oil, though, this risk is next to zero.

CBD Oil in Michigan:

Hemp was grouped with marijuana during initial regulation efforts, despite having different chemical properties, and was made illegal to grow or process inside the United States.  Because of this, nearly all CBD oil is made from imported hemp products (Gardner 2014). With hemp being in a gray area for regulation the FDA Office of the Commissioner has released several warning letters to providers which sell CBD oil that contain almost no cannabinoids.  Some of the companies named in the FDA warning lists are still open and operating in Michigan, so use caution if looking to buy CBD oil.

Currently, products from marijuana are illegal in Michigan without a license, but hemp products are not specifically legislated against.  CBD is more effective when taken with THC, as they enhance the pain-blocking effects, a process known as synergy (Johnson, et al. 2019). Despite this, CBD alone is very effective in most cases, even without THC.  

CBD oil, though controversial, may be the perfect answer to many symptoms plaguing pets with no risk to the kidney or liver.  If you are interested in using CBD oil for your pet, it is highly recommended your first stop is to your vet in order to find a reputable source and correct dosing for your pets’ symptoms.

Any readers currently using CBD oil to manage symptoms in your pets?  Please let us know how it is going in the comments!

References:

“Will HB 4209 Allow Hemp to Be Grown in Michigan?” Dykema Gossett PLLC, Dykema, 9 Aug. 2016, www.cannabis-law-blog.com/will-hb-4209-allow-hemp-to-be-grown-in-michigan-08-09-16.

Adams, Chris. “Most Dogs Do Well on Rimadyl, Except the Ones That Die.” Dogs Naturally Magazine, 14 Feb. 2015, www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/most-dogs-do-well-on-rimadyl-except-the-ones-that-die/.

Commissioner, Office of the. “Public Health Focus – Warning Letters and Test Results for Cannabidiol-Related Products.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Office of the Commissioner, www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm484109.htm.

Gardner, Robby. “What Studies Say About Hemp CBD.” Https://PhoenixRisingAlternativeRemedies.com, 18 Nov. 2014, phoenixrisingalternativeremedies.com/index.php/what-studies-say-about-hemp-cbd/.

Johnson, Jeremy R., et al. “Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of THC:CBD Extract and THC Extract in Patients with Intractable Cancer-Related Pain.” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, vol. 39, no. 2, Feb. 2010, pp. 167–179., www.jpsmjournal.com/article/S0885-3924(09)00787-8/abstract.

Jones, Andrew. “[Marijuana to Be Legalized] Safe for Pets?” Veterinary Secrets Blog with Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM, Veterinary Secrets, www.theinternetpetvet.com/marijuana-to-be-legalized-safe-for-pets/.

Semigran, Aly. “Cannabis Oil for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know.” PetMD, PetMD, www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/cannabis-oil-dogs-everything-you-need-know#.

Comments

  1. Its a great thing for pets. I am using it for my pets and the result is quite good.

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