But is CBD oil for pets totally safe? Here’s what you should know.
- Martha Stewart is collaborating with cannabis company Canopy Growth on a new line of CBD products that will focus on pets and eventually extend to people.
- CBD products have spiked in popularity due to some promising research surrounding its ability to treat certain health conditions.
- Experts explain how CBD products may affect the health of your pets.
Products featuring cannabidoil (CBD) have been popping up on the market lately, but they’re largely sold by companies you’ve never heard of before. Now, there’s a famous face getting in on the CBD game: Martha Stewart.
Stewart is collaborating with cannabis company Canopy Growth to develop a line of CBD products, according to a press release from the company. “I am delighted to establish this partnership with Canopy Growth and share with them the knowledge I have gained after years of experience in the subject of living,” Stewart said in a statement. “I’m especially looking forward to our first collaboration together, which will offer sensible products for people’s beloved pets.”
Canopy Growth Chairman and co-CEO, Bruce Linton, also had this to say: “Martha is one of a kind and I am so excited to be able to work alongside this icon to sharpen our CBD product offerings across categories from human to animal.”
While Stewart’s first collaboration with the company will be focused on pets, there are also plans to roll out products for people in the future.
What is CBD, exactly?
CBD is a chemical in the cannabis (aka marijuana) plant. It’s non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high, says Jamie Alan, PhD, PharmD, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University.
CBD also has antipsychotic effects, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It’s not totally clear why this is the case, but cannabidiol seems to prevent the breakdown of a chemical in the brain that affects pain, mood, and mental function.
People can take CBD oil by mouth for anxiety, bipolar disorder, diabetes, a muscle disorder called dystonia, seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, graft-versus-host-disease, and schizophrenia, the U.S. National Library of Medicine says, but it’s “likely effective” for treating only seizure disorders. However, early research has shown promising results for using CBD to treat insomnia and anxiety.
CBD has also been credited with providing pain relief when it’s applied topically, like in a foot cream or oil.
But what about CBD for your pets?
Research on CBD is pretty scarce to begin with, and it’s not much better in animals. Still, there are some interesting findings out there.
One study recently published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science studied the effect of CBD oil on dogs with osteoarthritis and found that those that had CBD oil twice a day seemed more comfortable and active than those who didn’t have the oil. And, the study authors report that the dogs didn’t seem to have any side effects.
Preliminary findings from a Colorado State University trial that looked at the use of CBD to treat dogs with epilepsy are also “very promising,” lead study author Stephanie McGrath said on her school’s website last year. Based on her research, McGrath found that 89 percent of dogs with epilepsy who received CBD had a reduction in the number of seizures they experienced.
“There have been a limited number of studies of cannabidiol on pets. Therefore, there are still a lot of gaps in our general knowledge of how this drug will affect them,” says John Buchweitz, PhD, DABT, toxicology section chief at the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. “In particular, there is no information regarding the safety and efficacy of this drug for chronic use.”
Also important to note: Laws around cannabis products and vets vary by state, but many won’t allow veterinarians to discuss cannabis products with their patients, says Carol Osborne, DVM, an integrative veterinarian at Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic.
Overall, how safe is CBD for pets and people?
In general, CBD is considered safe to use in humans, Alan says. (However, the U.S. National Library of Medicine cautions against using it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or using high doses in children and people with Parkinson’s disease.) It’s also generally considered safe for pets, Buchweitz says.
But Buchweitz makes a very important point that pet owners should be aware of. “THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes people high) is toxic to pets,” he says. “Because of the potential for products claiming to contain only CBD to be contaminated with THC, there is still some risk in using CBD products for pets.”
If you decide to use CBD products for your pet, you should be aware of and monitor your pet for signs of THC poisoning, he says. This includes dilated pupils, difficulty walking, vomiting, whining or crying, and agitation.
Alan also points out that CBD isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so there’s no guarantee that you’re going to end up with what a company says you’re getting. Still, she says, the odds are higher that you’ll get a quality product if you get your CBD from a reputable company.