What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is an extract obtained from cannabis, which can help to treat or manage a wide range of medical conditions. Commonly abbreviated as CBD, cannabidiol is one of the two most widely researched compounds of the cannabis plant, the other one being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD is mostly used to treat diseases that have pain, anxiety, seizures, nausea, or insomnia as their primary clinical presentation. You can also use CBD to treat or reduce the risks of certain mental conditions like schizophrenia, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
CBD is often contrasted from THC depending on how the two substances interact with our bodies. While THC is popular for its psychotropic and intoxicating abilities, CBD presents neither psychoactive nor intoxicating effects.
That explains why CBD is mostly recommended for its medicinal properties. One of the best things about CBD is that it’s nearly as effective for animals as it is for humans. This post shall focus on the right way to introduce cannabidiol to your pet.
Why Is This Topic Important?
It’s easy to purchase safe, legal, effective CBD products and have your pet gorge on them. After all, being a cannabis extract, CBD comes with a host of health benefits for your furry, little ones.
However, it’s naïve to imagine that you can offer any kind or any amount of cannabidiol to your pet with careless abandon.
First off, it’s important to remember that CBD is a plant-based compound. That mere fact means the substance might irritate your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. That’s particularly if the animal in question is an obligate carnivore like a cat. But even if the pet in question is an omnivore, such as dogs and hamsters, it’s still important to proceed with caution. As the animal is getting introduced to CBD for the first time, there’s always a host of side effects to watch out for.
It might be intuitive to argue that since all animals have a near-similar endocannabinoid system and CBD doesn’t present any serious medical risks to humans, the same will be true for pets. But that’s a false presumption.
The seemingly slight difference in the endocannabinoid systems of different animals translates to a huge difference in terms of how the animal’s process phytocannabinoids like CBD. For instance, research indicates that certain animals, such as dogs, have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in their endocannabinoid systems. This essentially implies that dogs are highly sensitive to CBD and will, hence, develop more severe side effects in the event of an overdose.
Another reason you should introduce CBD to your pets slowly and carefully is that the animal may develop a tolerance for the substance. This is usually the other side of the spectrum that not many pet parents often think about. But tolerance for CBD is just as risky as sensitivity to the substance.
Since tolerance increases the risks of addiction, it makes it difficult to determine the right CBD dosage to offer your pet. Also, note that CBD products are quite costly. So, you’ll need to spend more just to get your CBD-tolerant pet his right CBD dose.
So, What Is The Right Way To Introduce CBD To Your Pets?
1. Determine if CBD is legal in your area
There’s no denying the fact that cannabis products are in vogue. Therefore, it may be tempting to join in on the craze without taking into consideration what the law says on the possession or use of cannabis-based products in your locality.
But you don’t want to run afoul of the law in your honest quest to get CBD for your pet, which underscores the importance of establishing the legality of CBD in your jurisdiction. In the US, the passage of the 2018 Hemp Bill made it legal to access any CBD product, provided that those products contain no more than 0.3% concentration of THC.
2. Ensure that your pet is eligible for CBD
Humans consume cannabis for both medical and recreational needs. But when it comes to animals, there’s no such thing as recreational marijuana.
Therefore, only offer CBD to your pet if the animal is suffering from a medical condition that the substance can treat.
Some of those conditions include;
- Acute and chronic pain
- Anxiety disorders
- Inflammatory disorders like cancer
- Seizures and tremors
- Nausea and loss of appetite
Since THC is the compound most associated with recreational cannabis, ensure you feed your pets CBD products that are reasonably low in THC. If you can get THC-free CBD products, the better for your furry friend. The last thing you want is to deal with a euphoric pet in the house.
If you’re ever in doubt, consult your vet first and have them examine the pet. After examination, the vet will determine whether the pet is eligible for CBD or not.
3. Start small
It is the most important precaution when introducing CBD to pets for the first time. It’s always prudent to start small and work your way up gradually until the condition you’re trying to treat goes away.
You can experiment with about 1 mg/ml of CBD a day and increase the dose slowly in small increments. The most important thing here is to watch out for any side effects other than gastrointestinal distress, drowsiness, and dry mouth.
Introducing CBD to pets should be a slow and gradual affair. As a pet parent, watch how your pet responds to CBD, and if you notice any severe side effects, withdraw the substance and consult your vet immediately.
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Blog Credit: Jenny D from CBD News