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Can CBD Oil Help Your Pet?
By Julia Williams
CBD oil is a really hot topic right now. Everyone's talking about it, and many people are taking it to help with pain and other health issues. Some pet owners are even giving CBD oil to their dogs and cats. But does it help? Is it legit, or just another hyped up "snake oil" product created to capture our almighty dollar? Today I wanted to share my personal experience with CBD oil and then give you more information about it, so you can judge for yourself.
By Julia Williams
CBD oil is a really hot topic right now. Everyone’s talking about it, and many people are taking it to help with pain and other health issues. Some pet owners are even giving CBD oil to their dogs and cats. But does it help? Is it legit, or just another hyped up “snake oil” product created to capture our almighty dollar? Today I wanted to share my personal experience with CBD oil and then give you more information about it, so you can judge for yourself.
Did CBD Oil Help My Cat?
Earlier this year my cat, Annabelle, had a particularly bad pancreatitis flare. She vomited a lot, was lethargic and in pain, and she barely ate. Under my vet’s guidance, I tried all sorts of things to get her back to being her loving, happy self. I gave her daily sub-Q fluids and two medications for nausea. She’s always been a good eater, but despite trying two different appetite stimulants (not at the same time) and dozens of flavor-enhancing “toppers,” it was a daily struggle to get calories in her.
This ordeal went on for six long weeks. She lost about a pound, which is a lot for a small 8 pound cat, and I was beginning to despair. I was considering having a feeding tube put in as a last resort. But I had one more thing to try. I’d heard about CBD oil from a Facebook group for IBD cats. A number of people were giving it to their cats with much success. Because it’s still so new, I was naturally leery; after getting the go-ahead from my vet, I decided to try it.
One week after starting Annabelle on the CBD oil, she regained her appetite and was obviously feeling much better. She was “present” again, and I was delighted. Now, the question is … was it because of the CBD oil or because the pancreatitis flare had finally run its course? I have a gut feeling it was the CBD oil, but I don’t have any proof. I stopped giving it to her after a few more weeks, and she’s been a healthy kitty ever since (yay!). However, if she ever has another similar episode, the CBD oil will be the first thing I try.
What Is CBD (Cannabidiol) Oil?
CBD is a naturally occurring, therapeutic phytocannabinoid found in agricultural hemp. This plant-based compound is nontoxic and nonpsychoactive. Ok, but why is it thought to have positive health benefits for us and our pets? Without getting too technical on you, it’s said to work with the Endocannabinoid (EC) system, a vast network of receptors that all mammals have throughout their body. The EC system supports every major organ and helps maintain overall wellbeing. CBD and other cannabinoids stimulate the cannabinoid receptors in the EC system. Most CBD oils also contain many of hemp’s other natural phytocompounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, that work together to bolster the positive effects.
What Can CBD Oil Help?
There’s a long list of ailments that CBD oil is reported to help, including pain, nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, arthritis, inflammation, stress, seizures, gastrointestinal problems, aggression, behavior issues, symptoms of cancer, and end-of-life comfort. Although there isn’t much in the way of scientific data proving that CBD oil has health benefits, plenty of anecdotal evidence does exist, and more testimonials are surfacing every day. Scientists continue to study CBD oil and its apparent positive effects, so hopefully in the near future more will be known about it.
Will CBD Oil Get Your Pet High?
No. Although hemp and marijuana are both classified as cannabis, they are distinctly different. CBD oil from hemp is not psychoactive because it has high levels of cannabinoids and only traces of THC (the component in marijuana that gets you high). Hemp-derived CBD oil is not regulated as a drug and has no known toxic level.
How Do You Give It To Your Pet?
CBD comes in liquid form (mine was in an olive oil base) that you can just squirt into your pet’s mouth. It tastes a bit like grass and my cat didn’t really care for it, but she didn’t fuss about it too much. Some people put it on their pet’s food, but I don’t recommend that because if your pet doesn’t care for the taste it could put him or her off his food. Plus, it makes consistent dosing more difficult than just giving it orally.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
This is tricky. The online sites that sell hemp-derived CBD oil say that because it has only minute amounts of THC, it’s legal in all 50 U.S. states. While some other countries classify it as a medication, it’s currently available in the U.S. without a prescription. On the site I got mine from, I didn’t see anything that would prohibit someone in the U.S. from ordering it. However, I did read an AP article which stated, “Veterinarians in California and other states are legally barred from prescribing or recommending cannabis. They risk losing their veterinary licenses if they do.” If in doubt, ask your veterinarian. You should not give CBD oil to your pet without first discussing it with your vet anyway.
Is CBD Oil Safe?
The makers of CBD oil say that cannabinoids have no known toxicity level and no negative side effects. On the other hand, some veterinarians say there isn’t enough scientific data to show that CBD oil is safe and/or effective for animals.
If your veterinarian feels that your pet might benefit from it and you’re comfortable with the risk of giving your pet a relatively new product, you may want to try it. I was at the point with my cat where I felt I had tried everything else and nothing was working, so I tried it. If you’re considering CBD oil for your pet, please consult your veterinarian.
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