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Need to Know about CBD for Pets

Updated: Mar 21, 2021

Over the last few years, CBD has become more mainstream as a supplement for relief. Studies show a variety of potential benefits including anxiety reduction, joint and muscle pain relief, lower inflammation, and more. Every day new CBD retailers are popping up coming up with creative products to help take advantage of this lucrative market.

One burgeoning but often overlooked market for CBD is for our furry little friends. People love their pets like they love their own children. They don’t want to see them in pain, and they are willing to go outside traditional medicine to help their four-legged family members. CBD retailers are well aware of this and are creatively marketing CBD oils, CBD topicals and more for pets.  If you’re looking to enter the CBD industry pet products are a very hot and potentially lucrative niche.

Because CBD for pets is a relatively new product and because the DEA has not given veterinarians the authority to possess, administer, dispense, or prescribe CBD, pet owners understandably have many questions. Here are some answers.

How Does CBD Interact With Pets?

CBD is a compound from the cannabis plant that interacts with your body via the endocannabinoid system. There are two main receptors, the C1 and C2. These two receptors not only communicate with the body natural through endocannabinoids, but they also interact with plant-based cannabinoids like CBD. Unlike its counterpart THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and will not get you high.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system the same way for all mammals. According to Dr. Gary Richter, a holistic vet based out of Oakland. “CBD effects the endocannabinoid system, which is a system of neurotransmitters in the body that helps balance and maintain normal body function. CBD has much the same effect in animals as it does in people.”

This means your dog and cat can enjoy similar relief from CBD without worrying about getting high and without any major side effects just like you.

How Can CBD Help Pets?

  • It Reduces Anxiety 

Common signs of anxiety in pets CBD compounds work with the Endocannabinoid system to induce calming effects in both pets and humans. One of the most common ways brands market CBD is to lower anxiety in dogs, especially during the 4th of July.

  • It Reduces Seizures

The Epilepsy Foundation has reported CBD has been proven to help reduce seizures. Not only can CBD help reduce the number of seizures, but can help reduce the episodes as well.

  • It Relieves Arthritis

Arthritis and joint relief has been a major selling point for brands. This Holistapet review shows how pet CBD suppliers are creating and marketing dog treats intended to help with joint and mobility pain.

  • It Fights Cancerous Cells

Some report that CBD helps reduce or slow tumorous growth cells in pets.  This report on PubMed supports Cannabidiol as a potential anticancer drug.

  • It Helps Boost Appetite

CBD not only helps boost appetite in humans, but works similarly with pets. Yes, they too can get “the munchies” without feeling high.

Related: Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: What's the Difference?

So What's the Problem?

This all sounds great -- and it is. Because CBD is typically derived from hemp oil and doesn’t contain THC, pet CBD products are widely available in stores across the U.S.  Retailers are allowed to legally sell it both online and in stores. Bizarrely, the one place you won't find CBD is at veterinary clinics. The Federal Government does not allow veterinarians to prescribe or sell CBD. This is true even in states like California, where Prop 215 was very specific about medical cannabis being for humans, not animals.

This means that the most influential potential proponents for pet CBD have been virtually silenced for fear of losing their licenses. 

"By far and away the biggest challenges are the legal issue and the lack of understanding on the veterinary community’s part of what they have at their fingertips," Dr. Richter told HelloMD in an interview.  "I’m working with the California Veterinary Association in hopes that legislation will introduce a bill that will amend and allow cannabis for animals."

Here's hoping he's successful. 

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