CBD Care for Pets
Apr 11, 2019 09:32PM
Love, happiness, comfort, and devotion describe what our pets give us. We celebrate National Pet Month while embracing Hug Your Dog Day on April 10 and rejoicing on National Pet Day on April 11. Our pets depend on us for their care, and we want only the best for them.
So, I’m going to start with a disclaimer: I’m not a vet. I didn’t attend vet school and don’t play one on TV. I am not a hemp specialist, botanist, or scientist. I have, however, spent the better part of the last year exploring the rapidly evolving and expanding world of hemp products, cannabidiol (CBD) in particular, as a powerful asset in dogs’ health.
Let’s get another important fact clear up front. There is, as of today, no comprehensive data regarding the efficacy of CBD for dogs (or any pet). There is anecdotal evidence as well as small studies and initial data. However, the nascent nature of the market and the product has, to date, limited any group’s ability to gather the data to state unequivocally that CBD does or doesn’t answer pets’ specific health needs. The best CBD pet products on the market do not promise anything but “possible” and “potential” benefits.
Hemp is among the most versatile, powerful plants known to humans, and while scientific data is minimal, there is anecdotal evidence of great efficacy on issues from joint and hip pain to injury recovery to arthritis in pets. The highly anti-inflammatory properties of CBD make it a superb augmentation to, and in some cases a replacement for, more toxic pharmaceutical solutions for everything from overt injuries to relieving discomfort.
Some advocates believe CBD can and should serve as a central solution for pets’ behavioral issues and anxiety, but the evidence is far less clear. While cases of dogs experiencing reduced anxiety after taking CBD exist, there is no real consistency across those cases (much like with people). Pets with extreme anxiety and behavioral issues would be better served using modification training with CBD as an augmentation or supporting element.
When evaluating CBD products to use for your dog, there are many elements to consider:
How is the CBD grown and extracted? Hemp is an extremely absorbent plant. Whatever is in the soil, whatever is used to produce or treat that plant, will end up in the plant and its byproducts. For that reason, making sure the hemp is organically grown without pesticides and chemicals is crucial. That organic process needs to start with the seed and continue through to how it’s grown and harvested. On top of that, many extraction processes use chemicals such as butane (as in lighter fluid) or even ethanol to leach CBD out of the plant. That not only means the core product has been exposed to harsh chemicals, but it also means the end product will retain some of those toxic elements. For isolates, even harsher processing essentially tears apart the whole spectrum of CBD. It is worth noting that about 90 percent of CBD isolate products are sourced from China.
To get the full power of the hemp plant’s properties in the CBD product, you need its full spectrum. That means the entirety of the plant is utilized, each piece serving as something of a key to unlock the next elements. Use of THC, the psychotropic component of the plant that gets you high, is a delicate matter because it is profoundly toxic for dogs. Veterinarians have shared with me (again, anecdotally) a rise in pets coming in with THC toxicity. Increased legalization for medical and recreational use has also resulted in an increase in THC-infused edibles in people’s homes. Where dogs would be unlikely to consume a plant, a bag of goodies captures a pet’s attention.
Some believe therapeutic CBD products for pets must be entirely THC free. That is not the case. There will be trace, as in undetectable amounts, in products as a necessity to fully unlock the true potential and value of the CBD. Without it, it’s like having a combination lock that’s missing a number.
The explosive growth of the pet-related CBD market implies it’s only a matter of time before more substantive data anecdotal and otherwise will be readily available. In the meantime, the best judge of how well these products work for your pet is you.