When our pets hurt and conventional treatments aren’t working, reaching for a cannabis product like CBD for pets seems like a logical, compassionate move. But with little hard evidence backing its effectiveness, many veterinarians still shy away from this controversial therapy. If you can’t get any real CBD product guidance from your vet and you still want to try it, we hope you’ll take these CBD shopping tips other vets have provided.
Medical marijuana is legal in about 30 states, but none have guidelines specifically for the veterinary community. Keep in mind that cannabidol, or CBD, is an extract from the cannabis plant that marijuana comes from. CBD provides pain relief, which doesn’t get a user “high” the way that another component of marijuana does, known as THC.
Despite vague laws and few guidelines for vets, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) says that nearly half of all pet parents are using CBD for pets’ health issues like cancer therapy, pain relief and anxiety.
Additionally, according to AAHA, a recent survey by Colorado State University found that over 1,000 pet parents reported CBD products were 44% more effective for a dog’s pain relief, and 41% more effective for anxiety than conventional medicines.
Why Some Vets Shy Away from Discussing CBD for Pets
But just because it seems like CBD works, should we use it? The American Veterinary Medical Association would say “Nope!” This is probably why many vets shy away from the topic. The conservative organization overseeing the veterinary profession wants everyone to remember a couple of things about cannabis products:
- Medications do not necessarily work the same in animals as they do people, which underscores the value of extensive studies showing safety and efficacy, and also the value of the FDA’s approval process for drugs used in animals.
- There are possibilities of adverse reactions, including toxicities and failure to treat the clinical condition at hand.
Despite so much anecdotal evidence and some recent university-backed CBD studies at Colorado State University and Cornell, most veterinarians still aren’t comfortable enough to give CBD a green light.
However, there are exceptions. Dr. Alex Avery of Our Pet’s Health understands that with or without evidence, CBD for pets is here to stay so it’s best to keep an open conversation going. In his excellent blog post “CBD Oil for Dogs: seizures, pain and cancer miracle cure?” the New Zealand vet courageously writes that
“CBD oil, in my opinion, has the potential to become a regular treatment recommendation for a number of really common conditions our dogs and cats suffer from.”
However, Dr. Avery still wants us to remember the importance of being cautious when deciding to give it to our pets:
Current treatments that are known to be effective should not be ignored or abandoned because of something that may (or may not) work. To do so would be to do your pet a disservice and in effect be running a bad experiment with the potential to seriously compromise their quality of life.
That said, trying CBD oil is something to consider if you have tried every other treatment option available to your pet and there are either problems with side-effects or the treatment just not working as well as you would hope.” — Read More about CBD Oil for Dogs or watch the video below:
CBD Shopping Tips to Remember
Ready to give CBD a try for your dog or cat? Dr. Avery and other pro-medical cannabis for pets vets like Dr. Gary Richter advise us all to use extreme care when buying CBD products. Always make sure you keep your pet safe and get your money’s worth by following a few key CBD shopping tips:
Know what’s in the CBD pet product. Unless you want to get your pet high as a kite and end up in the emergency room, avoid any products containing THC. Some Tripawds members have given their pets small amounts of THC in a CBD product without any issues, but why take a risk with your pet’s health?
Look for reputable brands that provide a “COA,” or certificate of analysis on request. A COA shows the company has had its product tested for CBD and THC levels. COAs also reveal any contaminants, like heavy metals or pesticides. “If an online manufacturer or a retail store doesn’t have the information, or refuses to share it, avoid the product and the retailer,” says Consumer Reports in their excellent “How to Shop for CBD” article.
Avoid the Cheapest CBD Products! Don’t buy something just because it’s cheaper than another brand. Cheaper products may be full of contaminants and may lack any helpful amounts of CBD. This is also true for any home-grown products given to you by friends or family members.
Compare Apples to Apples. For each CBD pet product you are considering, be sure you know the exact dose your pet will need for effective therapy. Different products call for different dosages. And homemade CBD products may have no dosage guidelines at all, which could delay pain relief.
In a perfect example of the inconsistencies between CBD products, a California canine rehabilitation therapist recently told us that she recommended a reputable, tested CBD product to a client, but the client balked at the price and bought a cheaper one. Later, in a side-by-side comparison of the two products, the client discovered that she needed to dose her dog with twice as much of the cheaper product in order to receive the same pain relief benefits the more expensive product provided!
We hope these tips help you help your pet enjoy good health.
Have you successfully used CBD for pets for your own Tripawd or other animal in your family? Let us know your experience below, we would love to hear your story.