Pets & CBD

Published on 30 August 2023 at 09:30

Tendy Tips: Pets and CBD


A growing number of pet owners are using cannabis-derived products with high doses of CBD (cannabidiol) and low or negligible doses of THC to alleviate pain, seizures, and other conditions. But what is known about the science of cannabinoid medicine and pets?

Unfortunately, not a lot. The question of using medical cannabis to improve the health of a dog or cat is a complicated one, and there isn’t a lot of solid, peer-reviewed research examining its safety or effectiveness. But that’s slowly changing.

In July 2018, the first clinical study examining the effects of hemp-based CBD on arthritic dogs was published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, a leading international journal. The results were extremely encouraging.

In the study, Dr. Joseph Wakshlag of Cornell University and colleagues measured the effects of a particular hemp-based CBD product—ElleVet Sciences’ proprietary hemp oil blend—on pain and arthritis in a small sample of dogs.

The results were remarkable: More than 80% of dogs in the study saw a significant decrease in pain and improved mobility.

That’s only one study, though, and as promising as it is, nobody should rely on a single study to decide the right path for their dog or cat. It’s important to understand the political, ethical, and scientific implications of using medical cannabis in animals.


Most vets can’t touch CBD


You should know this up front: In many states, a veterinarian is not allowed to prescribe or recommend a cannabis product for your pet, regardless of the vet’s personal or professional opinion. Each state has its own veterinary board, and that board adheres to federal law concerning medical cannabis, so even if a state has legal recreational cannabis laws, your vet still may not be able to advise you.


“Vets have been restricted from getting involved,” said Dr. Gary Richter, a veterinarian based in Oakland, CA, who has advocated to allow the use of medical cannabis. “It was crazy that the 16-year-old kid at PetSmart could give you that advice, but I couldn’t.”

“Almost anything that cannabis would be used for in a human, from a medical standpoint, has the potential to be equally as valuable in dogs or cats,” said Richter. “Pain, inflammation, arthritis, gastro-intestinal related things, stress, anxiety, seizures, cancer, you name it. We’ve seen the benefits in all of these areas.”

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