Considering how much trends in human food and medicine influence pet food and medicine, it’s not difficult to see a link between the increasing number of US states legalizing marijuana use in humans – whether for medicinal or recreational purposes – and the growing popularity of CBD pet products. Yet just as marijuana is still illegal at a federal level, and even its strongest proponents agree much more research on its effects needs to be conducted, CBD for pets falls into very murky scientific and regulatory areas.
In treat or biscuit form, with tastes and flavors that appeal to dogs, CBD treats may work for dogs who refuse, reject, or are resistant to medications in pill or tablet form. They may also be useful for dogs who are not keen on injections or for whom standard medicines have proven ineffective. Given the skepticism surrounding medical uses of cannabis, CBD treats should be approached when other avenues have been exhausted, and only after thorough conversations with a veterinarian.
However, there are veterinarians that support THC-free hemp supplements for animals. Miami-based veterinarian Dr. Patricia Khuly, VMD, has recommended hemp supplements to her patients, and has even made homemade versions using hemp oil for her pets. “I find they can be somewhat effective as part of a well rounded chronic pain protocol,” she tells Leafly—though she has never used them for pet anxiety or improving fur and skin. “Hemp oil sounds interesting for use in the same way fish oil would be implemented for these other indications,” she adds, “especially for my vegan clients who prefer to source non-animal based products for their pets.” She would like to see more research first, though.