As cannabis products have grown in popularity, the stigma around them is falling, while knowledge is increasing. CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis known for its relaxing effects, is particularly popular. And its usage is growing not just among humans- but their pets too.
Proponents for CBD usage in pets say it is effective in treating a variety of health problems- from anxiety to various skin conditions. This may be the case as one study showed that dogs in particular have large numbers of cannabinoid receptors. Other studies have shown that CBD can also decrease pain from arthritis and control seizures in dogs.
Despite this, however, there is still very limited peer-reviewed research looking at CBD for dogs and other animals, and the few that have been conducted have had small sample sizes. More than this, although an increasing number of CBD products targeting pets are available both in stores and online, they have yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, meaning that veterinarians can not recommend them.
As such, the chief veterinary officer for scientific affairs and public policy at the American Veterinary Medical Association, Gail Golab, asks pet owners to be cautious.
“It’s not that we don’t see potential in these products because we do,” says Golab. “It’s that we want their potential to be demonstrated through FDA approval, and we want to make sure that owners can be confident that what they’re giving their animal is something that’s actually going to help them.”
While some may report that CBD oil and other products seem to have relaxing effects on their pets, vets warn that dogs instinctively try to hide their pain. This comes especially as, in certain studies, Golab explains owners tend to observe more positive effects on their pets after they are given CBD than biological measures pick up.