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CBD is safe for pets, but does it actually work?

(Photo by Yerlin Matu on Unsplash)

If you know what CBD is, you may have noticed it’s everywhere these days. If you don’t know what it is, check it out:

“CBD and marijuana are both cannabis plants but they’re two different strains entirely. So CBD is derived from industrial hemp and has virtually no THC. It absolutely will not get [you] high. It’s impossible if it is hemp based CBD,” said Annie McCall, marketing director for All The Best Pet Care, a Seattle area pet chain.

All The Best, and many other companies, are selling CBD products specifically for pets, to ease pain from arthritis and cancer, to calm anxiety and to encourage appetite. McCall says it’s wildly popular, a big seller.

“The upside is there is just no detriment to it,” she said. “There is no known toxicity, there’s no known negative effects of CBD. So it’s such a great thing to try. If you’re having any of these issues there is just really no harm.”

They don’t get high, they can’t overdose, but Ohio-based veterinarian Carol Osborne, who believes CBD is an excellent form of treatment for pets, says the problem is you don’t actually know what you’re getting.

“Whatever that label says, if it’s a pet product, the label means basically nothing,” Dr Osborne said. “There’s nothing that’s standardized in any way, shape or form. There’s not really a very good way to know what is or is not in that product when, unfortunately, it comes to pets. There’s all kinds of people, all over the country, including Washington, spending all kinds of money buying all kinds of these products. But as a veterinarian who knows that marijuana has many useful properties for pets, who purchases these different CBD type products for my patients only to find out, that in my personal experience, they did absolutely nothing.”

CBD, like many supplements, is an unregulated industry. But McCall says they do test the CBD products they sell, referring to their private label, Wisely. And customers consistently write them to say how much better their pets are doing since using the product.

“If you are interested in trying the product just make sure it is tested and those results are shared,” said McCall. “So our manufacturer does testing when they are bottling the product and then we pay for additional third party lab testing and post those results along with our products because you have to know. It’s a plant and of course CBD levels might vary, so we have to be careful that it’s exactly the product we want to carry on our shelves.”

Dr Osborne says not everyone is doing such vigorous testing.

“We need to get legislation passed so we can standardize dosages because there are many great things about cannabis that are desperately needed. It’s a wonderful alternative to many of the harder core drugs veterinarians are left to prescribe to these animals with cancer and appetite loss and suffering from all kinds of pain and inflammation.”

It’s very important that you only give your pet CBD that’s intended for animals and never give them any marijuana product that contains THC. It’s very toxic to animals and they can easily overdose.

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