CBD and Pets


CBD and Pets

Three Minutes
Apr 27, 2022

The buzz around cannabidiol commonly referred to as CBD, seems to be everywhere. CBD, which is primarily derived from the hemp plant, has transformed from a relatively unknown substance into a dizzyingly fast-growing industry in just a few years. Sales of CBD have skyrocketed as people flock to stores to purchase CBD products.

What about pets, though? Can CBD help our pets? 

Defining the Terminology 

Discussions about CBD can quickly become confusing without an understanding of certain terms. Here are some helpful definitions: 

    Cannabis: A plant family that contains many plant species 

    Marijuana: A plant species within the cannabis family  

    Hemp: Another plant species within the cannabis family 

    Phytocannabinoids: Naturally-occurring substances that are derived from cannabis; examples are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD  

A key difference between marijuana and hemp is the level of THC, the psychoactive substance that produces a ‘high.’ Marijuana is cultivated to have very high levels of THC, while hemp has less than 0.3% THC.  

CBD in Pets 

CBD is not psychoactive. In human health, scientific research and anecdotal evidence have highlighted CBD’s many health benefits, including anti-inflammation and anti-anxiety. 

Very little is known about CBD in pets, though, in large part because of the continued legal confusion, on both the state and federal levels, surrounding CBD. The health benefits of CBD in pets mainly come from anecdotal reports. Such benefits include pain reduction, anti-inflammation, and anti-anxiety. 

Fortunately, there are a few scientific studies of CBD in pets.

One study, conducted at Cornell University, evaluated the use of CBD oil in dogs with osteoarthritis, a common canine orthopedic condition. Study results suggested that a low dose of CBD oil, when given twice daily, can reduce pain and improve physical activity in dogs with osteoarthritis.

An ongoing study at Colorado State University is studying the effect of CBD in dogs with treatment-resistant epilepsy. 

The potential negative effects of CBD in pets still need to be determined.  

Selecting CBD for Your Pet 

Giving your pet CBD first requires careful consideration and evaluation of CBD products. Below are some guidelines for choosing a product: 

    Talk with your veterinarian. Veterinarians have become increasingly knowledgeable of the CBD’s benefits in pets. However, in many states, veterinarians are legally barred from recommending medical cannabis or related products as a treatment option. Thus, your veterinarian may only be able to discuss medical cannabis in general terms. 

    Get the certificate of analysis. This analysis contains pertinent product information, including the phytocannabinoid profile, pesticide analysis, microbe analysis, and batch number. Contact the product’s company to obtain the analysis; be very wary of a company that refuses to provide you with this information. 

    Go organic. Choose a product that is free of pesticides, fungicides, solvents, and additives. 

    Select an oil formulation. CBD oil is easy to dose and administers to a pet.

Bringing it Together 

CBD use in veterinary medicine is an exciting frontier, but many questions remain about its safety and therapeutic benefits in pets. If you’re interested in using CBD in your pet, do your homework first and talk with a veterinarian who is up-to-date on medical cannabis use in pets.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.