As legalized medical and recreational marijuana becomes more widespread, more and more people are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) oil because of its multiple health benefits and easy use. But can those same benefits and easy use apply to using CBD oil for pets?
About CBD Oil
CBD oil is extracted from different parts of the hemp and marijuana plants, including the buds and flowers, just as essential oils are extracted from more familiar plants such as lavender, lemongrass, and eucalyptus. The quality of CBD oil can vary greatly depending on the quality of the plants the oil is extracted from, including the health and variety of the plants, how they are cultivated, and how the oil is processed as it is extracted and concentrated. Unlike other forms of marijuana, however, CBD oil contains little or no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for intoxicating “high” effects.
There have been only a few documented studies of the effectiveness of cannabidiol oil for treating different medical conditions in humans, but it shows strong promise for alleviating the severity of different forms of epilepsy. Other medical issues that have shown improvement with the use of CBD oil include anxiety, inflammation, and sleep problems, among others. Unfortunately, there are even fewer studies involving CBD oil use on pets, and pet owners should take great care if they decide to use this treatment to help their four-legged friends.
CBD Oil for Pets
While there have not been strong, scientific studies regarding CBD oil use on pets, there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence that supports its use as an alternative treatment for seizures, stress, anxiety, arthritis, and other medical conditions that can cause chronic pain and discomfort. CBD oil is available in drops that can be mixed in with a pet’s food or administered under the tongue, on the inside of the cheek, or along the gum line for easy absorption. Topical treatments may also be absorbed through the skin, and a wide range of treats that incorporate CBD oil are available in flavors to tempt even the pickiest pet, including coconut, peanut butter, maple bacon, pumpkin, kale, carrot, and apple.
The exact dosage of CBD oil suitable for any pet can be difficult to calculate. The pet’s size, age, general health, the condition to be treated, and the concentration and quality of the oil can all affect how much oil may be needed for an effective dose. As with any experimental treatment, it is best to start with slow, gentle dosages and watch your pet’s reactions carefully to be sure there are no adverse side effects. Before starting any treatment, you ought to consult your veterinarian for personalized recommendations.
After CBD oil is administered, it could take just a few minutes to see results, though most conditions take 24-48 hours to see noticeable changes. For chronic treatments, it may take 2-3 weeks to see significant improvement.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Your Pet
When administered at the proper dosage, there tends to be low risk of any harmful side effects or complications for most pets. Because high quality CBD oil does not contain significant levels of THC, it does not create the psychoactive behavior or sedation common with typical marijuana usage. While studies are limited, CBD oil does show beneficial results when treating a wide range of chronic conditions, helping alleviate pain and discomfort for pets, particularly those with ongoing health concerns or those suffering from increased aging. Health issues as well as behavioral and temperament issues, such as anxiety, stress, depression, and aggression, can see results with properly used CBD oil. When treatment is stopped, pets suffer from little or no withdrawal symptoms because the compounds in the oil are administered at such low doses.
Beware of the Risks
Before using CBD oil on pets, it is vital that pet owners take note of potential treatment risks. While the oil is generally labeled as organic, all-natural, or non-GMO, that does not necessarily mean it is safe for all pets or all conditions. After all, many natural compounds, such as certain houseplants, herbs, vegetables, or fruits, are perfectly healthy and even beneficial for humans but can be dangerously toxic for pets.
First, always consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis of your pet’s conditions to determine if CBD oil can be an appropriate option. Choose the highest quality oil to treat your pet, and purchase it from a reputable, authorized dispensary to be sure the oil is not inaccurately labeled or potentially contaminated. Watch your pet carefully after administering the oil, taking note of any change in behavior or physical condition, such as vomiting, tremors, disorientation, or drowsiness. If your pet shows a severe reaction, seek emergency veterinary care.
CBD oil may offer many benefits to pets if used carefully and appropriately. Pet owners who are interested in this alternative treatment should consult their veterinarian and do research on the oil before administering it to their pet, and always be careful to keep their pet’s best interest in mind.