CBD Information for Vets
Thank you for reading. Please note that the information below is for veterinary healthcare professionals only. If you are reading this and you are not a veterinary healthcare professional, please do not act on anything written below unless prescribed or instructed to do so by your Vet. CBD Oil is not legally available for animals in the UK, however Vets can prescribe human CBD for use in animals.
As there is a distinct lack of information for veterinary practitioners surrounding CBD and a medical paper released in the US shows that most Vets are not comfortable discussing the use of CBD with pet owners, this information page aims to help Veterinary Practitioners to prescribe CBD for some ailments, and looks at CBD products that are appropriate for use with animals and outlines those that are not.
Also its worth mentioning again that the VMD classes CBD as a veterinary medicine, only available on prescription.
Let me start by saying, there’s more than a few reported benefits to using CBD for animals shown in studies. These are currently inconclusive, however, the indications are very strong. All mammals are known to have an endocannabinoid system - a modular system that reacts to cannabinoids, both internally (our body produces endocannabinoids called anandamide and 2-AG) and externally (from introduction of plant derived cannabinoid compounds such as CBD or THC or one of the 120+ cannabinoids found in plants)
Maybe it’s because, for thousands of years, smaller animals have eaten hemp growing in the wild, or grown in farms for manufacturing textiles, and larger animals would have benefitted in turn from those cannabinoids as these nutrients travelled up the food chain, nourishing the endocannabinoid system of creatures great and small.
With a lack of hemp fields relatively over the last 100 years due to prohibition, this has likely lead to the malnutrition of cannabinoids in animal's diets. The addition of a small amount of cannabinoids has been found in studies to have far ranging benefits.
In this article we’ll look at the reasons why you may want to prescribe CBD for an animal, we'll look at the benefits, the considerations and some success stories.
CBD has been known to be prescribed for:
1. Anxiety (CBD reacts with 5-HT1A receptors to assist in moderate release of serotonin, here is a study that showed dogs calming their behaviours in conjunction with being given CBD here)
2. Seizures (CBD is a neuro-protective, a neuro anti-inflammatory, can create new neurological pathways, a study to its potential benefits can be found here and a study on CBD and epilepsy can be found here)
3. Pain (CBD is a analgesic, as detailed in this study here)
5. Joint issues and arthritis (CBD has shown to potentially be effective in this study here)
6. Cancer (a lot of the studies involving CBD and cancer are with Mice or humans, but we would expect to see similar effects in animals, for instance shown in this study here)
7. Appetite issues and nausea (a study on which can be found here
8. Restlessness (as indicated in this study here)
9. Aggressiveness (as shown in this study here)
10. Lethargy (L.sativa cannabis, the variety in which low THC, high CBD si well known to have a slightly energising effect)
11. Immune disorders (as shown in this study here)
12. Emergency action after animal has ingested high THC cannabis (as shown in this study here)
Pet owners should always see a vet for a diagnosis of an issue before giving their pets CBD (It is the law in the UK), so it is the Vet's responsibility to ensure CBD is used in a safe manner and a way that is most likely to benefit the animal.
With CBD in studies showing a strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic, it can mask some injuries and make them worse so there is some caution with taking CBD, however, this is obviously a known issue for any painkillers.
Due to CBD inhibiting CYP3A4 (the cytochrome P450 enzyme responsible for metabolising 65% of prescription drugs) there are interactions that should be avoided in the use of CBD, however, usually leaving an appropriate gap (however long a particular interacting drug takes to complete metabolism in the liver) between CBD and the prescription drug would prevent any increased risk of side effects from the prescription drugs or CBD.
CBD has been known to raise liver levels, this usually isn't of any concern on its own, however, if an animal has history of liver issues or is taking other medications that raised liver levels, a sufficient gap is obviously recommended to other medications and its advised to test the liver levels of an animal regularly so any changes can be spotted early and action taken if required.
If after taking that step you decide that CBD would be helpful and appropriate to prescribe - pet owners should be advised to;
Choose a high quality oil, organic if possible,
Free from sweeteners,
Free from flavourings,
Free from contaminants,
Some CBD Oils are not suitable for pets for these reasons and it’s always best to advise pet owners to look a products COA (Certificate of Analysis) for containments and a lab test showing the different cannabinoids present at detectable levels. If a CBD product does not have a readily available lab test showing a number of cannabinoids, I wouldn't be able to recommend it.
Its also been noted that coconut oil can be harmful to dogs, so it's advised to look advise a product with a hemp seed or olive oil carrier rather than MCT.
Research has shown that cannabinoids work in synergy with one another to create the “entourage effect”, this relates to the full spectrum of cannabinoids being available in the product. So prescribing a whole plant product is often preferable.
Although there is a presence of trace elements of THC (the cannabinoid famous for getting people and animals 'high'), this is far below the threshold level it would take in a standard dose to have any negative effects on an animal but it is strongly believed it contributes to the effectiveness of a CBD product.
I’ve personally talked to a lot of pet owners that CBD has helped. From horses to cats. But by far the most people we speak to are dog owners, they have soo many positive stories about their use with CBD for their pets, a couple have been in tears speaking to me about how much it has helped their dogs, where commonly prescribed medications have had little to no effect. CBD also has very few, uncommon side effects, but in comparison to a lot of prescription drugs there's no comparison in the risk to an animals health, which is why for some ailments, it may be better prescribing CBD first and foremost before prescription drugs, if CBD has a good chance of helping sufficiently.
CBD doesn’t work with every animal, it is by no means a magic pill, but there’s strong evidence to show it helping in a number of studies across a wide range of issues.
CBD is well tolerated and usually safe for animals (providing the advice above is followed), this can be seen in this study here.
Regarding dosage the best thing is to start slowly then increase dosage (depending on the severity of the symptoms), only a small amount may be required to have lasting effects with regular dosage for some issues. There is no one correct dosage, it is dependent on a number of factors that are untestable such as metabolism or how their endocannabinoid system reacts to certain cannabinoids.
It’s common to start on a dosage of 0.1-0.5mg/kg, but this is dependent on symptoms, different situations and any other medication that your dog may be taking which is why it’s important, as a vet to advise people to speak to a medical cannabis expertise in animals, luckily at Bio Med CBD we have Qualified Experts in CBD for Animals, and are more than happy to help with any questions Veterinary Medical Professionals may have.
With Bio Med CBD Oil, we recommend a starting dose of 0.25mg/kg for almost all issues, we highly recommend starting low and building up slowly until the benefits are noticeable, This can be immediate or it can take a number of weeks - persistence, dosing, patience and consistency are usually required to gain the best outcomes.
Feel free to send us a message on Facebook or Instagram or join our Facebook group for cbd oil for pets here and our experts would be happy to talk to you about how your pet patient could potentially benefit from CBD.
The Bio Med CBD Team