Yes, You Can Give Your Pets ‘Human’ CBD Oil
Can I give my pet human CBD oil? Any CBD oils that contain less than 0.3% THC is safe for your dog or cat. It doesn’t need to be a pet-specific oil to work.
We often get asked, “Is it safe to give ‘human’ CBD to my dog? What’s the difference between human and pet CBD oil?”
You know CBD is a natural option to help with anxiety, pain, and inflammation… for humans. The compound is non-addictive, non-toxic, and all-natural.
So, when your little friend started having health issues, and drugs didn’t help, you started wondering — ‘what if I give my pet some of the CBD oil I’ve been using?’
It sounds like a tough call, but we’ve got the answers. Let’s take a look at the veterinarian research on the safety of using CBD for pets and whether or not you can give your pet “human” CBD oil.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- Can I Give My Dog or Cat “Human” CBD Oil?
- Pet CBD Oil vs. Regular CBD Oil: What’s The Difference?
- What Kind of CBD Oil Can I Give My Pet?
- 1. Always Use THC-Free CBD Products
- Average Price Comparison of CBD Oils for Humans Vs. Pet Oils
- 1. CBD May Help Dogs With Osteoarthritis (OS)
- 2. CBD May Reduce Epileptic Seizures in Dogs
Can I Give My Dog or Cat “Human” CBD Oil?
The simple answer is yes — it’s safe to give your pet CBD meant for human consumption — with a few key caveats:
- Don’t give your pets any cannabis oil with more than 0.3% THC (0.2% in Europe)
- Use smaller doses than what’s recommended on the bottle
- Speak with your vet before giving your animal CBD if they have any underlying health concerns
All animals have an endocannabinoid system — including some of the most primitive animals like the sea-squirt. This means that animals also have cannabinoid receptors, a key part of the endocannabinoid system, just like humans do.
Although animals might process CBD in a different way (which is still under research), they have the necessary mechanisms to receive the benefits of CBD. Cannabidiol may be able to relieve pain, inflammation, and anxiety in animals, just like in humans.
But, there are some things you need to know before giving your pet CBD meant for human consumption.
Pet CBD Oil vs. Regular CBD Oil: What’s The Difference?
In essence, CBD is CBD. The extraction process for both animal and human CBD is the same — both types should be derived from clean, organic cannabis, and contain less than 0.3% THC (0.2% in Europe).
So, CBD products meant for humans is essentially the same thing as CBD oil for pets — with few minor differences in potency and flavor options.
What Kind of CBD Oil Can I Give My Pet?
Not all types of CBD oils are created equal. But, as long as you’re using THC-free, hemp-derived CBD isolate — you can give your pet the same CBD oil that you’re using.
1. Always Use THC-Free CBD Products
It’s common for pets to end up at the vet as a result of marijuana toxicosis after consuming the marijuana stash of their owners. On the other hand, pets with health issues such as arthritis, cancer, and other chronic conditions can use a controlled dose of medical cannabis to relieve symptoms.
Some studies show that THC has low toxicity in animals, while others report fatal cases of marijuana use in pets [1,2]. It all comes down to the individual dose.
The case for giving your pet CBD oil that contains THC is under investigation. Although your pet might benefit from some THC, you should avoid giving your pet marijuana oils with high levels of THC. You should stick to pure, THC-free CBD or hemp oil instead just to be safe.
CBD oil with less than 0.3 percent THC is widely considered safe — it won’t harm your pet.
But a high dose could cause side-effects in smaller animals. This could be an issue because of the unregulated CBD oil market — the levels of THC in a full-spectrum CBD oil for human consumption might be higher than officially claimed by the company.
Another issue is the terpenes present in both broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oil for human consumption. Terpenes such as limonene, peppermint, pine, or tea tree, are essential oils found in a variety of plants — including marijuana and hemp — can be harmful to pets, even in small amounts.
Here are the three main types of CBD oil for human consumption you will encounter:
CBD Oil for Cats: What You Need to Know
As cat owners look for ways to keep their kitties happy and healthy, they’re starting to explore alternative treatments not previously considered by Western medicine. Among these alternative treatments is cannabis oil.
This isn’t much of a surprise, considering that more people are turning to cannabis as a natural treatment for their health issues and research studies have consistently shown the plant’s positive impact on inflammation and other ailments. However, as studied as cannabis’s effect on humans may be, there have been no official major scientific studies into its impact on pets.
So, is cannabis safe for cats? And what sorts of ailments might it treat?
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabis plants contain more than 100 active compounds, but the one most often used for medicinal purposes is cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD differs from cannabis’s major active compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in that it does not have a psychoactive affect, meaning it will not get users “high.” CBD oils contain a high concentration of CBD and can be used for therapeutic purposes.
“There are not many classical medical studies that explore the effects of CBD oil in cats,” says Dr. Daniel Inman, a veterinarian at Burlington Emergency Veterinary Specialists in Williston, Vermont. “While we don’t recommend CBD oil for our patients, holistic veterinarians are using it to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation, anxiety and pain.”
Inman is careful to specify that CBD oil is often used to subjectively increase comfort and improve quality of life in pets, not necessarily cure ailments. This type of treatment should be advised by your veterinarian and not initiated without their consent.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cats?
Although there have been no scientific studies that specifically investigate the impact of cannabis on pets, Dr. Gary Richter, a holistic veterinarian and owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California, says that CBD oil is generally safe for cats. However, there can be some adverse effects to giving your cat CBD oil, including gastrointestinal upset and some sedation, both of which can be relieved by discontinuing the use of the oil.
“I think the bigger issue, from a medical perspective, is making sure that animals are dosed appropriately. This means that the CBD oil is having the affect you want it to have, and that you’re not accidentally overdosing,” he says.
Dr. Liza Guess, a clinical assistant professor at the Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Ohio, says that the lack of official, documented research into the affects of cannabis products for cats would make her hesitant to recommend them.
“I have heard that, in humans, marijuana products can be used for neuropathic pain, intractable seizures, anxiety, and appetite stimulation. I have plenty of medications in each of those categories [that are not cannabis] that have been safely used in cats for years that I am very comfortable using and understand well,” she says. “These medications have gone through rigorous studies and are approved by the FDA. Why would I want to use a poorly understood treatment that I can’t guarantee is safe or even effective?”
She adds that the FDA does not regulate the CBD products that are available on the market, so consumers can’t be sure that they’re giving their pets the dosage that they think they are.
“Pet owners looking to give their animals CBD oil should do their due diligence before purchasing anything online,” Richter says. “The marketplace is very much a ‘buyer beware’ environment, and people should be sure that the product they’re buying has been laboratory tested for both content, as well as contaminants like bacteria, fungus, and heavy metals.”
Also, it’s worth nothing that while CBD oil is typically quite safe for cats and dogs, cannabis plants are not. “There is plenty of documentation of marijuana toxicity in cats, for those that nibble on the plants,” Guess says.
Inman adds that as an ER veterinarian, he often sees marijuana toxicity in the animals that come into his practice. “You can usually tell if a pet has gotten into someone’s marijuana. And, in more severe instances, I have had to hospitalize animals until the affects have worn off.”
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Regardless of how well CBD products work for cats, there is also the issue of legality. If a cannabis product contains less than 0.3 percent THC, it’s classified as “hemp,” which is not a restricted substance. Most, if not all, CBD oil fits this description. The bigger issue is discussing this course of treatment with your veterinarian.
“In a perfect world, your veterinarian would be able to discuss this treatment as an option for your pet, but depending on where you live, your veterinarian may or may not be legally at liberty to have this conversation with you,” Richter says. “Even if you live in a state where cannabis is legal, it can be illegal for a veterinarian to tell a pet owner how to appropriately use these products.”
There are activists looking to change these laws, Richter among them.
“For example, there’s a bill being brought to the California State Legislature to debate the use of medical cannabis for animals and veterinarian involvement,” he says. “There’s a very robust conversation going on right now about it whether or not veterinarians should be able to discuss and recommend cannabis for their patients, and, if so, exactly what that looks like.”
Being able to discuss all types of treatments with your veterinarian is key, and Richter advises checking in with your vet before giving your pet any sort of cannabis. “There’s no reason to ever start giving any kind of medication or supplement without having a conversation with your veterinarian first,” he says.