The Science Behind Giving CBD And Cannabis To Cats And Dogs | Todays Health Science

There is an upsurge in cannabis products for pets these days. Pet owners now prefer high doses of CBD for treating pain and seizures in their pets.

Moreover, Cannabidiol with low THC levels is also a standard pet medicine. But why do the owners prefer it?

Leafly talks about the science behind CBD medications for pets and how it’s affecting their pets. You will find some significant takeaways in this post.

Promising Results in Pets

Now, it is too early to term CBD as an effective pet medication. However, there are promising signs from whatever research has been concluded so far. How Cannabis works with dogs and cats can open new doors for research in this niche.

Is Cannabis Good for Pets?

Cannabis research on cats and dogs answers questions like those for humans. However, it’s a bit more complicated to answer right now. Because there is much room for studies and experiments, there is no definitive answer yet.

A Pioneering Study on Arthritic Dogs

The first groundbreaking research work focused on Cannabis treatment for dogs. The study on hemp Cannabidiol effects was conducted in July 2018. It focused on arthritic dogs, which showed excellent results appealing for more research in the same area.

At Cornell University, Dr. Joseph Wakshlag and his team noticed how hemp-based CBD worked for pain relief in arthritic dogs. It was a hemp blend oil, tested on a sample of a few dogs.

Remarkably, there was a considerable decrease in pain and better mobility in more than 80% of the dogs.

The Need for More Studies

The results may seem promising, but it’s too early to predict any workable solutions. So, it’s not the right time to go CBD feeding to your cats and dogs.

Instead, there must be a more factual database to prove the effectiveness. It’s a reason why CBD regulations for pets are still under consideration.

Vets and CBD

Another limitation comes from the fact that vets cannot prescribe CBD products. Whatever the professional qualification they may have, they cannot recommend such products yet. In terms of CBD prescription, the state veterinary boards must follow the federal regulations on Cannabis.

For instance, Cannabis is legal for adults in California. However, the California Veterinary Medical Board disapproves of vets prescribing CBD to pets. Anyone who does so will be violating the state law.

Dr. Richter, a Cannabis advocate for veterinary use, is a dynamic personality in the political circle. Being a first-hand witness of CBD effects, he says that many vets in California will be putting their license on the line if they recommend CBD to their patients.

Richter believes that anything that works for humans has a high-percentage chance of working pets too. He believes that CBD can treat problems like inflammation, pain, stress and anxiety, seizures, cancers, etc., so why not try such medications for cats and dogs too.

CBD Regulations for Pets are Tough in Some States

States where weed is still illegal, have even worse situations for pets. Dr. Dawn Boothe from Auburn University, Alabama, mentions how she has faced problems carrying forward her research.

According to the DEA, all the CBD products are dealt with similarly to marijuana, so they are banned for the public.

Hence, if researchers wish to take up CBD research, they must go through a formal procedure to acquire a federal permit. Thus, the research becomes much more complicated than it already is.

The Problem with Research

There have been a few pieces of research published on CBD for veterinary purposes. A study in 2004 discusses 213 recorded instances of the side effects of oral marijuana consumption in dogs. The study focused on data from Jan 1998 to Jan 2002.

Almost all the dogs showed neurological signs. Nearly one-third of the dogs also experienced gastrointestinal problems.

The problem with such research was that it focused on the negatives of CBD consumption. The majority of research terms CBD as an iffy substance for pets.

One of the studies in 2013 mentions how CBD has the right safety margin. However, many deaths were recorded after consuming THC butter.

Why Cornell’s Study Is Pivotal

Considering how CBD is conceived for pets, Cornell’s study proves to be an important one to show the direction for the future of CBD in veterinary studies. Now, scientists can have a deeper understanding of things.

How Dogs React to CBD

A study in 1988 measured the effects of hemp oil in dogs. However, the CBD pills didn’t do too well for the dogs and had minimal impact.

Dr. Wakshlag talks about the study, saying that the initial research focused on how dogs absorb CBD. In comparison to the older literature, the new findings were quite promising.

Dr. Wakshlag terms the oil base as the critical difference in the effectiveness of CBD. The earlier studies focused on the intravenous transmission or power-based capsules. However, the new method involved Oil-based Cannabidiol, which was much better absorbed by the dogs.

The Right CBD Dosage

Finding the right dosage for the pet is also a big challenge. ElleVet Sciences offer hemp oil, and similar products provide a predefined content of CBD. If the content isn’t enough, it won’t work for your pet.

Therefore, Wakshlag focused on dosage in their study at Cornell. He mentions how they modeled their dosages on the few research types on humans that had previously shown effective results.

They decided to go with a 2mg dose for dogs. The idea was to keep the medicine affordable, and it could affect too.

Avoiding THC

Because THV can be toxic, researchers stay away from it. Hence, it is recommended not to use THC containing meds for pets. Therefore, the study at Cornell used hemp oil free from THC. However, Richter also believes that THC could have some benefits for pets.

CBD In Cats

From whatever research we have for CBD use in pets, there is no evidence how it works with cats. The ElleVet owner said that cats have much different anatomy to the dogs, so there is no point treating them the same way. They say cats can’t bear the amount of pain like dogs.

Cats can turn sick if given CBD treatments. Hence, there are very few safe CBD options for cats right now. From whatever studies we have right now, it was evident that cats recover from anxiety much better than dogs when given CBD.

Moreover, there was a decrease in arthritis pain. However, cats somehow need a higher dosage of hemp oil as compared to dogs. It’s because the half-life of their hemp oil is very little compared to that of the dogs.


Although researchers like Cornell are helping bring forward the narrative of CBD in pets, there is considerable time before we can say anything conclusive. The signs are quite promising, and with more research and studies, we can soon have regulations regarding CBD use for pets.

If things go well and state bodies start taking measures for Cannabis for pets, there can be a big boost in the CBD market globally.

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