Studies suggest CBD can be a safe, effective treatment option for pets
It’s well-known that CBD benefits humans, but did you know it can have similar positive effects on dogs and cats? Thus far, existing studies and anecdotes have shown promising results for how CBD can be used in pet pain management.
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Traditional Pet Pain Management
As veterinarian and CBD proponent Dr. Courtney Campbell observes on his blog, the conventional approach to managing the pain of pets is aggressive.
The first choice for pain relief among many clinicians are the medications that have been more extensively studied, including anti-inflammatories, gabapentinoids, opioids, local anesthetics, and other analgesics (acetaminophen, amantadine, Cerenia, etc.). These medications or a combination thereof have been prescribed to treat pain from orthopedic surgery, soft tissue surgery, intestinal surgery, and surgical neuropathic conditions, to name just a few.
However, many of these drugs, in particular opioids, have serious side effects, and some of these courses of treatment can harm your pet. On the other hand, CBD has no proven adverse side effects; it is safe, nonaddictive, and nontoxic for pets.
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Should You Consider Using CBD for Pets?
Although more research about the effects of CBD on animals is needed, safer and more effective methods of providing pain relief for pets are also needed. This is where CBD for pets comes in.
Interest in CBD goes back centuries, but it intensified in the 1980s after Allyn Howlett, a scientist at St. Louis University Medical School, discovered what she would eventually call CB1 receptors. In the early 1990s, a second receptor, CB2, was identified.
These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors and cellular activators that regulate many physiological processes involving the brain and immune system. These processes include inflammation, stress, mood, and pain.
CBD was shown to interact with both of these receptors and impact these processes. In the late 1990s, scientists at the National Institutes of Health discovered that CBD could also protect cells from oxidative stress.
These discoveries inspired much research on the benefits of CBD for human beings, but investigators in the field of veterinary medicine also became very interested. Almost all mammals have an ECS that is similar to our own. Canines have both CB1 and CB2 receptors, and felines have CB1 receptors.
The Science So Far on CBD for Pets
Although more research is needed about its effects on animals, many studies indicate that CBD can relieve animal pain. For example, studies from Cornell University and Colorado State University have documented the pharmacokinetics of CBD in dogs. The CSU study shows that “orally administered CBD was absorbed better than CBD applied transdermally, although transdermal application does show significant absorption.” The researchers also experimented with dosage, finding that even a relatively high dose of oral CBD of 20 milligrams per kilogram per day is well tolerated.
A 2018 clinical trial evaluating the effect of CBD on osteoarthritis in dogs showed reduction in pain with no harmful side effects. Another study, on the use of CBD to treat seizures, showed a statistically significant “89% reduction in seizure frequency in dogs.” The subjects also received conventional anti-seizure drug therapy.
Surveying the evidence in favor of CBD use in pets, Today’s Veterinary Practice concludes:
Pre-clinical and human studies have shown cannabis’s potential efficacy for neuroprotection, anxiety, cancer, gastrointestinal support, and other conditions. Although veterinary clinical trials are the gold standard, the available current data and a wealth of anecdotal evidence show cannabis (and CBD in particular) to be safe when used appropriately.
Veterinarians Are Paying Attention to CBD
Regulators of veterinary medicine have been cautious about accepting CBD as a treatment option. The American Veterinary Medical Association has stated that the research on the treatment of animals with CBD is still limited and that the laws governing CBD products are evolving. A new California law allows vets to discuss cannabis products with their patients as long as they are not administering, advertising, or selling these products themselves. Many other states lack policies about whether vets may discuss pet CBD or prescribe CBD for pets.
In any case, pet owners are interested. According to one recent survey of veterinarians, clients ask quite often about the possibility of using CBD to help their pets. The survey also found that:
- About 80% of respondents have neither observed negative side effects from CBD nor received reports about such side effects.
- More than 90% of respondents said that CBD products have been helpful in relieving common pain, including 56% who said that CBD has been somewhat helpful and 34% who said that it has been very helpful.
- More than 87% found CBD products to be somewhat or very helpful in reducing the anxiety of dogs.
- Respondents reported that they and their clients most often discussed CBD as a treatment for managing pain, anxiety, and seizures.
All this makes sense. If CBD works for humans, why not for pets? Although scientists have only scratched the surface of its potential to treat pain and other symptoms in animals, CBD clearly holds great promise.
Interested in trying CBD for your furry friend? Crescent Pets CBD Drops are available with 400 mg CBD for small pets or 800 mg of CBD for medium to large pets. You can try either in all-natural peanut butter or bacon flavors.
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