Canada legalized the medical and recreational use of cannabis in 2018. In the U.S., more than half of the states considered it in 2019. While progress is slow, its legalization across all countries is becoming more a reality each year.
This is thanks to the many anecdotes and pieces of evidence about its healing benefits. As of the moment, it has shown capabilities to help with cancer, anxiety, epilepsy and much more.
Given its effectiveness toward human disorders, it makes sense to try it on pets, too. If you’re interested to try using it to help your pet get some relief, read this first to learn all you need to know about cannabis and hemp oil for pets.
How Hemp Oil Works
First, let’s take a look at how CBD works to understand how it can help your pets.
CBD is a compound from cannabis exhibiting the same therapeutic benefits as THC. THC has one characteristic CBD doesn’t have, though: making people high. That’s because THC is the compound responsible for the psychedelic high from marijuana.
This explains why medical professionals and patients alike use this substance instead
Without going into the science side of things, CBD helps lessen inflammation and relieve pain. Because a lot of diseases involve inflammation either as a cause or an effect, CBD, therefore, helps people manage these diseases by extension.
It helps by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the human body. This is, however, also present in animals.
Animals Have an Endocannabinoid System, Too
The endocannabinoid system (or ECS) in humans help regulate hormones, fine-tune our body functions, maintain energy homeostasis, and more. In other words, it helps our systems maintain balance inside our body.
Due to its important function in the body, all animals have it, including cats and dogs. Even an animal that has evolved 600 million years ago has an ECS.
This leads us to believe that animals can also enjoy the therapeutic effects of CBD. After all, we’ve seen numerous instances of pets getting high by accident. This only proves that THC works on them, as well.
What Health Problems Hemp Oil Can Treat
That said, what animal health problems can hemp and CBD oil treat?
Medical professionals know the benefits of CBD on epileptic patients. Yet, we still don’t have hard evidence that says it works for animals. Even so, pet owners have seen great results from giving their pets CBD.
A mini-study in Japan also backs this up. The research involves three dogs who experience seizures in a regular pattern. The researchers gave all three CBD oil for 8 weeks, and two of them provided promising results.
The Chihuahua and Labrador Retriever saw a decrease in symptoms during the treatment and afterward. The Papillon only had slight improvements but recorded no adverse effects.
Is your pet afraid of pretty much everything? Loud noises, a new person, a new environment, or traveling?
It may be suffering from anxiety. This can cause behavioral problems and may even stress you out as an owner. Humans can use CBD for this condition, so why not dogs and cats?
The substance interacts with the ECS to produce calming effects.
It stimulates the production of serotonin. This is the hormone associated with feelings of happiness. This hormone regulates the mood among other things.
This explains why humans can feel calm after consuming marijuana. But since doctors only recommend consuming CBD without the THC, your pets will only feel calm and happy, not extreme euphoria.
Most disorders and illnesses involve pain, so any natural solution that can ease it is always welcome. While CBD may not always treat the underlying cause of pain, it can help your pets manage it better. It can ease pain from arthritis, surgery, cancer, and more.
This means you can use CBD for horses with arthritis or to aid dogs with recurring pain.
Thousands of people have seen firsthand the effects of CBD on the above conditions of their pets. Other than those, however, the substance can also help with:
- Joint Issues
- Neuropathic Disorders
- Other Neurological Disorders
- Blood Disorders
It can help prevent diseases, too, because it helps fight off free radicals. This can help prevent the development of cancer cells and other disorders. It can also stimulate the appetite, keep the heart healthy, and prevent nausea.
Scientists are still exploring the exact effects of CBD on dogs, cats, and other animals. It won’t be long until we get conclusive evidence about its benefits against disorders on pets.
Potential Risks for Pets
The risks of hemp oil for pets are about the same as for humans. There’s the risk of overdosing, but this is greater for your pets. The effects of an overdose may be more crippling to them, too.
It’s easy for them to overdose because of their small size. They’re more vulnerable to THC toxicity, which can get them “high” for days. Depending on the strength of the THC, they may be unable to walk or eat.
Some pets getting high by accident are in no real danger, most of the time, though. The most significant risks to them would be the other ingredients they consumed. If it contains chocolate and coffee, for example, these may be the ones to cause an issue.
Nevertheless, it’s still dangerous for any living thing to consume any substance more than their body can handle.
Stick to CBD oils with little to no THC content. Your pet will have lower risks of developing dangerous side effects.
They can, however, get the following potential side effects. Note that this list is from the side effects observed in humans.
As discussed above, CBD has potent calming effects. This can cause drowsiness.
CBD can decrease the production of saliva, leading to dry mouth and increased thirst.
Temporary Drop in Blood Pressure
If your pet consumes a high dosage of CBD, they can feel a little lightheaded. Humans feel the same way when there’s a slight drop in blood pressure.
How to Make Sure It’s Safe for Your Pet
To avoid some nasty side effects and to keep your pet safe, you can take the following measures:
Choose Products with Care
If you’re buying a product formulated for animals online, look for the seal from the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) or those that follow the Good Manufacturing Practices. These show that the process took place in a safe environment using safe ingredients.
If you’re buying CBD oil for humans, though, be wary of the ingredients that might be harmful to your pet. Ingredients like grapeseed oil and xylitol can be toxic to animals. When looking at a product, comb through the ingredient list for anything that might harm your pet.
Get a Certificate of Analysis
You’ll be giving your pet the same product a human would consume. In that regard, you will also have to make sure it’s safe for human consumption.
Only buy CBD oil from a reputable company. It should be able to provide you a certificate of analysis from the manufacturer.
This indicates that the claims on the label are true. The ingredients and percentages are accurate.
Remember, don’t give your pet any human product you wouldn’t consume yourself.
Consider the Size of Your Pet
The smaller your pet is, the smaller the dosage it will need. A typical dosage is 1 to 5 mg for every 10 lbs.
To be safe, start small and increase the dosage only when you see fit. It should take effect within 30 minutes, but wait for an hour to see if there are any changes. If there are none, increase the dosage.
You may also have to give more than one dosage per day. This will vary depending on the condition you’re trying to treat. To be safe, consult a veterinarian first.
Talk to a Veterinarian
A veterinarian will know better about your pet’s physiology than you. Still, you may know better about its behavior.
Work together to determine the right amount of dosage and to come up with a treatment plan.
This is also important when your pet is taking other medications. CBD might interact with other substances. When it does, the reactions can make the medicine ineffective or even dangerous.
Consider the Means of Administration
The next thing to consider is the how – how are you going to administer the hemp oil to your pet?
By good luck, hemp oil is a convenient form. You can put some drops into your pet’s mouth or you can add it to their treats and food.
Cannabis also comes in other forms, such as biscuits, capsules, and ointments. Experiment what will work better for your pet, and make sure it’s safe.
Buy Safe Hemp Oil for Pets
CBD is an individualized medicine – its effect depends on the body’s reaction to it. Many pet owners see good results from using hemp oil for pets, though, so it’s worth a try as long as you follow the precautions above.
It doesn’t end here! Feel free to read our other blog posts to learn more about CBD and its beneficial effects.