What is CBD? “CBD” stands for cannabidiol which is just one of many compounds derived from Cannabis plants. These compounds, including CBD, are thought to have numerous beneficial properties including anti-anxiety, anti-seizure, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects to name a few. Unlike it’s cousin THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not cause intoxication or euphoria (“high”).
Is CBD legal? Until 2018, federal restrictions prohibited sale or usage of hemp products. The Farm Bill of 2018 removed the hemp plant as a controlled substance and deregulated hemp products. This allowed the over-the-counter use of “legally grown low THC cannabis” (below 0.3% THC). Hemp is legally defined as LOW THC cannabis, whereas marijuana is legally defined as HIGH THC cannabis. High THC cannabis is still a Schedule I drug and is not yet legal in any state for veterinarians to dispense or recommend for medicinal purposes. In fact, THC is considered to be moderately to severely toxic in both dogs and cats (aspca.org).
Should I use CBD for my pet? Studies exploring the possible applications of CBD are still in their infancy, particularly for pets. Although a few controlled studies have been published, most of the information about CBD available to veterinarians is anecdotal or related to use in humans. However, due to the deregulation of hemp, systematic studies looking at the effects of CBD in dogs and cats have exploded. Your veterinarian can help you make an educated choice about using CBD for your pet.
Which CBD product should I buy? While CBD is widely available both online and over-the-counter, CBD products can vary greatly. Currently there is only one CBD medication approved for humans; there are no FDA approved CBD products for animals, therefore they have not undergone the same quality control measures as FDA approved medications. In fact, independent analysis of products from various manufacturers have shown some products are inaccurately labeled both in regards to both the identity and amount of the active ingredient. In other words, it is up to the consumer to determine the quality of the CBD products. At a minimum, manufacturers should provide consumers with third party chemical analysis of their products. This information can help prevent purchasing misrepresented product.
For more information on CBD, please refer to the following resources: