The Science and Tech Behind CBD Oil & Cannabis Treats for Dogs & Cats


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Whether you’re a smoker or not it’s very likely you’re aware of the growing use of cannabis as a treatment option, as well as a recreational. Smoker or not the benefits of cannabis extend further than recreational use and medicinal purposes for humans. The facts behind cannabis-based plants have continued to show support for medicinal use in humans and now, additionally, animals.

What is CBD oil?

CBD, which stands for Cannabidiol, is a cannabis extract – taken from certain flowers, marijuana and hemp plants – used in many treatment purposes such as anxiety, cancer, joint pain, and depression. CBD oils should not be confused with tetrahydrocannabinol – more familiarly known as THC. Where CBD differs from THC is the psychoactive effect. Simply put, it doesn’t get you high. The success of CBD oils in treatment is largely due to the high concentration of CBD. Our bodies contain cannabinoid receptors that regulate vulnerability to pain, anxiety and other sensory discomforts. Likewise, cats and dogs have these same receptors; adding to the reason why doctors feel comfortable with treating them with CBD oils.

The Science of Cannabidiol

There must be extensive amounts of research out there relating to CBD oils and animal use, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There’re still substantial amounts of research to be done regarding the impact of CBD cannabis oil in humans and in the case of cats and dogs, research is very limiting. Despite a lack of research, there have still been strides made worth recognizing. For example, in 2018, a clinical study was done, on the effects of hemp-based cannabidiol on dogs with arthritic problems, titled, “Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs.” The research, which took place at Cornell University, found that over 80% of dogs from the study saw a considerable reduction in pain and even increased joint mobility.

Dogs and Cats share the same special receptors as humans, therefore, adding to the justification for CBD usage. All three organisms share, not only cannabinoid receptors but endocannabinoids and enzymes. The endocannabinoids work like passwords and the receptors act as the entry point. Enzymes are the cleaning team, ensuring all endocannabinoids are used and put away. This is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD blocks enzymes within the ECS, allowing the ECS added endocannabinoids to work with; creating an efficient system.

Much of the information used to support CBD oil use in animals is based on findings from human studies. Reason for this has more to do with money than interest. Pharmaceutical companies just don’t want to fork up the cash to go through the process of approving specific drugs for dogs and cats. That reason, coupled with ethical complaints, are factors as to the inadequate development of research breakthroughs.

Even though there is a lot of animus towards the use of cannabis, specifically on animals, there have been no known, negative, side effects that would support the rejection for cannabis as a treatment option for animals. Alternately, a study conducted in 2004 found that marijuana poisoning could occur if the dosage was too high. In a 4-year span, researchers found nearly 213 reported cases of dogs having clinical signs after having oral contact with marijuana. Researchers found that dosage was responsible for the negative reactions. Interestingly, there is more data looking for negative effects of cannabis on animals than there is supporting the use. Despite this, findings have shown that dogs should use no more than 2mg of CBD oil.

The Legality

Because of the lack of research, many veterinarians are prohibited from prescribing, and even recommending, cannabis products for pets. Do you live in a state where marijuana is legal? If so, it doesn’t matter. Even in California, one of the most progressive states in the legalization of cannabis, it is prohibited for vets to advise the use of cannabis on pets; and in states where it’s not legal, consider it nearly impossible to find. Luckily, vets like Dr. Gary Richter, owner of Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California, are striving to change the narrative through the Compassionate Care Act, for animals, which would provide a medical marijuana program beneficial for animals. Thus, allowing veterinarians to provide comprehensive feedback and recommendations to pet owners. Purchasing CBD oil is legal but the

Things to Know

CBD oils, thus far, have proven to be a safe treatment alternative for dogs and cats. Any study relating to the risk of cannabis on animals is either lacking inadequate information or outdated. Cannabis use is only going to continue to proliferate and therefore there needs to be more support in research efforts, especially since the see-saw tops heavily in favor of benefiting humans and animals.


Still looking for further support? The research is out there. Much of it lacks peer-review, adding on to the reason why the FDA warns the public of making any purchases of cannabis products for animals. Find the data, have a brief discussion with a professional and talk to others who have given it a shot. If you’re going to pull the trigger and make the purchase be conservative with the dosage. Although your vet may be prohibited from speaking too much on the topic, play it safe and keep them updated. They may offer you some useful advice – off the record.