Does CBD Have Benefits for Pets?

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Given that we recently launched our Pet CBD Tincture, it is our goal to educate consumers as much as possible before they make a purchasing decision. The following Q&A is an interview that was conducted by Suzannah Weiss with Dr. Tim Shu.

“Pets are family, and their humans want to do everything they can to help them. So, as more people find relief from various physical and mental ailments through cannabidiol (CBD), it's only natural that they'd want to allow their pets the same healing.

In a recent interview conducted by Suzannah Weiss with veterinarian Dr. Tim Shu. A graduate of Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine, Shu practiced emergency, critical care, and general veterinary medicine before founding the company in 2015. She asked him what pet owners should know about animal CBD before giving it to their pets.

Q: Do cats and dogs have endocannabinoid systems? If so, how do they differ from humans?

A: Yes. In fact, all animals have endocannabinoid systems — mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. There are species differences — for example, dogs have a higher concentration of CB1 receptors in the cerebellum portion of their brain compared with other species. This means they are more sensitive to cannabinoids that activate CB1 receptors, like THC. Dogs can still benefit from the therapeutic properties of THC, but in order to be utilized safely, it needs to be dosed and formulated with regards to their increased sensitivity.

Q: Are there any safety risks associated with giving pets CBD, or any animals it should not be given to?

A: CBD has been shown to be very safe across a number of species. In our experience, we've seen a number of species safely benefit from it, including dogs, cats, horses, pigs, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, and rats. There can be a theoretical concern of combining CBD with medications that have narrow therapeutic windows, as CBD can inhibit some liver enzymes that are involved in metabolizing certain medications. This may cause the levels of some medications to rise above safe levels, which is why it's important to discuss the use of cannabis or CBD with your veterinarian prior to starting.

Q: What is the best way to give CBD to pets? What types of CBD are best — for example, is hemp better than marijuana? What's a good rule of thumb for dosing? And is there anything you should look for on the bottle?

A: Oral administration is currently the most reliable method, as it allows for consistent dosing. CBD used in conjunction with other cannabinoids is always preferred over the use of CBD as an isolate. “Full spectrum,” “broad spectrum,” or “whole plant” products use extracts that provide multiple cannabinoids in addition to CBD (such as THC, CBC, CBG, THCACBDA, or CBDV). Preclinical and clinical studies have shown that CBD used in conjunction with other cannabinoids is more effective than CBD used alone in isolate form. When used together, cannabinoids' therapeutic effects are synergistic. This is known as the “entourage effect.”

When it comes to dosing, each patient's needs may be different. We've found that some patients can use lower doses, while others require higher doses for the same ailments. The general rule of thumb is to start at a low dose and gradually adjust the dose upward over time to determine what works best for the patient. Products should provide the concentration of the cannabinoids so owners are aware of how much they're giving.”

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