CBD in Pets: Uncharted Territory
March 12, 2019
We have been getting a lot of questions about using CBD in pets recently and thought I would address them here as much as I am able to (as there is more unknown than known at this point).
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found in hemp and marijuana plants. Unlike THC, the primary psychoactive compound found in marijuana, CBD does not cause a “high” but it is alleged to have a wide variety of beneficial effects. Anecdotally, many pet owners are reporting success using CBD for things like anxiety and pain. However, there are no studies and little agreement about its safety, effects, uses, dosage, and legality. There is also currently no regulation of CBD products because its classification (food, supplement, or drug) has not yet been legally defined so no regulatory body has yet taken charge of oversight.
The current explosion in CBD products comes on the heels of the legalization of industrial/agricultural hemp as part of the recent farm bill. Agricultural hemp is a different plant than marijuana and is farmed for use in products like carpet and clothing. Because it contains very low levels of THC, too low to have psychoactive effects, legally it is handled differently than marijuana.
The legal status of the sale and use of CBD products in states where recreational marijuana is illegal (such as Minnesota) is currently in an unresolved grey area. Because the concentration of THC in hemp is below 0.3%, manufacturers of CBD products claim it is legal. However, there is no legal consensus from regulatory agencies on this point. The Minnesota pharmacy board is on record that they consider CBD a controlled substance that is illegal to sell in our state, but also that they will not be pursuing any action to prevent its sale unless someone is demonstrably harmed by it.
As it stands, we cannot make specific recommendations about products or dosage. I feel it is likely that CBD products will eventually be standardized and regulated, but we have not yet reached that point. If you decide to try it, be cautious of where you are purchasing it; legitimate manufacturers will have done or be open to third party testing of their products to ensure they contain what the labels say they contain. And as always, if you have any specific questions please feel free to call the clinic to speak to one of our doctors.
Karen Christopherson DVM CVA