THC is the molecule that cannabis is most known for – the one that gets users high. CBD, however, is non-psychoactive. This molecule is found abundantly inside all forms of cannabis, including marijuana and hemp. It has become widely known in the U.S. and around the world over the past few years.
While the amount of hemp-derived CBD products for humans has grown tenfold over the past few years, what about CBD products for pets? Are they safe? Are they effective? And where’s the proof?
TL;DR: Yes, CBD is safe for pets! All vertebrates have a network of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors called the endocannabinoid system. This system enables CBD and other cannabinoids to interact with the brain and body and promote homeostasis. This makes CBD a safe and effective supplement to give to your pet.
How Does CBD Affect Pets?
Many people are learning that hemp-derived cannabinoids like CBD have an effect on the brain and body, yet few people understand exactly why or how that happens. It’s not an innate quality in the chemicals themselves; it’s actually due to a special endogenous network of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors called the endocannabinoid system.
Due to cannabis prohibition beginning in the late 1930s, the government stifled research into the effects of various cannabinoids for decades. Humans didn’t understand how cannabinoids interacted with the body until 1992 when Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, known as the “father of cannabis,” began in-depth research into the plant. Mechoulam and his team ultimately found that there are naturally occurring cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors inside humans and animals alike.
The earliest animal found with cannabinoid receptors was the sea squirt, which evolved over 600 million years ago. However, all modern vertebrates have an endocannabinoid system. This means that CBD provides the same benefits for dogs, cats, horses, pigs, and even kangaroos as it does to humans.
The endocannabinoid system is comprised of thousands of receptors located throughout the brain and body. None of the cannabinoid receptors are in the lower parts of the brain where breathing is controlled, making it physically impossible to overdose on CBD. As CBD continues to rise in popularity for human use, many manufacturers have begun creating CBD products specifically for pets. Bluebird’s Companion Oil, for example, is a simple blend of full-spectrum hemp extract based in organic hemp seed oil with no flavors, preservatives, or any other ingredients. Additionally, our Companion Capsules include this same CBD oil extract blended in hemp seed oil and provided in gelcap form for serving consistency.
What About Side Effects?
Many pet owners fear the possible side effects of giving CBD to their pal for the first time. If you go with a full-spectrum hemp extract for your dog or cat, it may contain trace amounts of THC.
Federal regulations stipulate that THC content must be below 0.3% by dry weight. This prevents most users from experiencing the compound’s psychoactive effects. However, keep in mind as you experiment with the number of servings that giving your pet too much at once may cause them to experience some of the psychoactivity. To avoid this, do not exceed the daily maximum number of servings listed on your bottle.
Choosing The Right CBD Oil For Your Pets
How can you know how much THC is in your pet’s product? Your CBD provider should be transparent about their products’ contents by offering lab test results for every product they sell. Consumer reports have revealed that many CBD products contain less cannabinoids than listed on their labels. Some falsely advertised products don’t contain any cannabinoids at all. Third-party lab tests will reveal the true potency of the product you purchase, including the concentration of CBD and THC. Additionally, these lab tests also reveal any possible contaminants in the product.
These could include:
- Residual Solvents
- Heavy Metals
Unfortunately, there aren’t currently any laws that require CBD companies to do third-party testing (or any testing whatsoever); leaving it up to the consumers to verify that their products are tested and safe for consumption.
At Bluebird Botanicals, we go the extra mile when it comes to third-party lab testing. All of our full-spectrum hemp extracts and supplements are tested for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial/microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides. Additionally, all of our test results are visible in the Bluebird batch database for every single product. We’re proud to be transparent about the process and the contents of every single product. We feel strongly that your furry family members deserve the best and safest products, just like the ones you would select for yourself.
CBD & Pets: Tips And Tricks
Anyone who has ever fed medications to a pet knows how difficult it can be.
Luckily, many CBD products for pets out there can easily be added to food to avoid the need for awkward or traumatic delivery methods. Our Companion Oil can be added to canned pet food or drizzled on top of treats. You can also try inserting Companion Capsules into your pet’s favorite treat, or for particularly picky pets, use a plastic “piller” that veterinarians use to help pets swallow pills. Some pets may even enjoy the taste – you can manually open up the pill and sprinkle its contents on top of a meal, or place the oil into a spoon for convenient licking!
The important thing to remember is to start low and go slow. To avoid overloading your pal with huge doses of CBD, you should always start with lower amounts and be consistent in the number of servings and times of day that they take it. After administering a serving, pay close attention to your pet and note any behavioral effects. Take special consideration of their personality and demeanor both before and after you start experimenting with CBD.
Over time, you can slowly increase the number of servings as necessary, as long as you stay under the daily maximum number of servings listed on your bottle. This will help you zero in on the CBD sweet spot for your pet. Also, consider the size of your pet when determining how much to give them. Due to FDA regulations, we do not provide recommendations for serving sizes based on weight, but keep in mind that larger animals will respond better to larger servings. Additionally, we always recommend that you consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your pet’s diet.