The Pet Corner: The lowdown on CBD oil for pets

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, February 5, 2020

By now, almost everyone has heard about CBD oil and at least some of the claims of health benefits it may provide.

CBD oil has surged in popularity in a short period of time.

Proponents of CBD oil claim all kinds of health issues that can be treated, ranging from everyday ailments to chronic medical conditions.

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The big question is, “Does it really work?”

In my 30 years of practicing veterinary medicine, I have seen and heard of countless healing lotions, potions, powers, pills, injectables and a myriad of miracle medications.

Some of these concoctions probably have some legitimate medicinal properties, but a good number of them are what we used to refer to as “snake oils,” which aren’t medically beneficial at all.

CBD or (cannabidiol) is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant and is non-intoxicating causing no noticeable euphoric effects.

CBD is found in the hemp plant and in the marijuana plant. The hemp plant contains little amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical responsible for causing the euphoric effects or “high” feelings. However, hemp plants contain significant amounts of the CBD chemical.

CBD is extracted from hemp plants and processed into oil, often with other active compounds.

There are several forms of CBD oil on the market for sale legally. There are oral oils, capsules, soft gels, under-the-tongue sprays and topical forms like creams and salves. There are also multiple concentrations of CBD oil manufactured by several different manufacturers.

CBD oil was developed primarily for human use and claimed to treat such conditions as acne, anxiety, chronic pain, depression, epilepsy, glaucoma, insomnia, loss of appetite, muscle spasms and even Parkinson’s disease.

It didn’t take long for pet owners to inquire about the potential uses of CBD oil for their pets.

There is one major obstacle concerning the use of CBD oil in both humans and pets.

CBD oil is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

No agency is closely monitoring the production or manufacturing of the oil.

If a product isn’t being closely regulated, there is no guarantee the product contains the exact ingredients or amount of ingredients listed on the label. Also, this means there has not been extensive research proving or disproving the product works well or even actually works at all.

Without the research, there isn’t a known dosage to treat specific ailments.

CBD oil certainly seems to be beneficial treating certain conditions in pets and doesn’t seem to cause any significant side effects.

Over the past couple of years, I have had clients who have told me they were giving their pets CBD oil for a variety of different ailments depending on their pet’s condition.

It’s easy to see, in humans, how taking CBD oil or a plethora of other “snake oils” could have a definite placebo effect. But, it’s different with pets with regards to placebo effects. It is not possible for pets to “believe” a certain medication is helping them or making them feel better.

I have personally seen some cases where CBD oil has changed a pet’s life for the better by their improvement in clinical signs and the lack of side effects.

I don’t believe CBD oil is the best thing since pasteurization or sliced bread, but I do think it could be another choice for treating certain conditions.

You really shouldn’t give your pet any medications, including over-the-counter medicines, without checking with your veterinarian first.

If you are considering using CBD oil for your pet, contact your veterinarian so your pet can live a long, healthy and happy life.

Dr. Jeff Castle is a veterinarian at Clark County Veterinary Clinic.