CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound that is commonly found in cannabis plants. Unlike traditional marijuana, it lacks tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound that makes it psychoactive and, as a result, it is currently legal in almost every state, compared to medical marijuana which is only legal in thirty seven states and DC.

In recent years, CBD has been most used as a form of treatment for medical conditions such as anxiety, osteoarthritis, epilepsy, and others. But, as CBD becomes a popular form of medical treatment in humans, it has also become a rising medical treatment for pets, most commonly dogs, and there is research to back this up.

When it comes to treating dogs using CBD oil, many critics feel that the current CBD market is “ahead of the science,” but there are still plenty of recent studies to support the potential benefits of using it to treat your pet.

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Professor Joseph Wakshlag at Cornell University ran about ten studies to examine how CBD can be used to treat dogs with neurotic pain and possibly control seizures, as well as skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis.

His studies found that dogs treated with CBD oils definitely scratched less after receiving treatment. The reasoning behind this is currently unconfirmed but believed to be that, as with humans, atopic dermatitis is caused by stress and anxiety. The CBD reduced anxiety in dogs treated with the substance.

Back in 2018 another study, by a producer of CBD, found that dogs with osteoarthritis, which given small doses of CBD oil showed improvement in their pain and mobility issues after being measured by both the Canine Brief Pain Inventory and the Hudson Activity Scale.

Other studies found that other animals could also benefit from being treated with CBD, including cats. Like dogs, cats can suffer aggressive behavior and mobility issues, but studies have shown CBD treatment can relieve these issues.

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Specific results that cat owners who have treated their pets with CBD oil include a decrease in low-grade inflammation within the body, relief from stress, anxiety, and depression, and a decrease in vomiting.

Some cat owners have even found that CBD oil serves as a good form of treatment for  kidney disease. Beyond traditional house pets, there have been plenty of studies about CBD treatments for larger animals, such as horses.

A 2019 study found that a horse given 500 mg of CBD daily had improvements in pain sensitivity and another study from 2021 found that a horse given 100 mg of CBD per day showed improvements in lower reactivity. A lab study on horse embryos in 2021 was even able to show a decrease in pain and inflammation on embryonic horse cells bathed in CBD.

While varying in scale and sample size, these tests all paint a clear picture of the physical and mental benefits that CBD treatment is capable of, but treatment with CBD oil for both human and animals is still considered to be in its experimental phase and has yet to be approved by the FDA.

It is recommended that you consult your veterinarian before treating your pet with CBD and make sure you are providing them with the proper dosage, especially if your pet is taking other types of medication.

When it comes to horses specifically, both the FEI and United States Equestrian Federation unfortunately have CBD on their banned substance list and forbid any professional race horses from using the drug.

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The American Kennel Club also recommends pet owners stick to high-quality CBD treatments and use oil or tincture rather than dog treats containing CBD because it is easier to adjust a dose drop by drop.

Overall, research has shown that CBD has plenty to offer as a form of medical treatment in the future. But, like most medicine, it appears to come with its fair share of side effects and has created a discussion about how much more testing needs to be done for it to be approved by the FDA, a discussion that will presumably go on for a long time.

The main takeaway that we can find from all of these studies is how the benefits of CBD can not only help ourselves as humans, but how it can even help our animal friends live their best possible lives along side us. Isn’t that what all pet owners want in the end?

AJ Favorito is a freelance writer, photographer, and filmmaker specializing in comedy and animation. 

Works cited:

Fish, Tom. “8 Key Things to Know about CBD Oil for Dogs.” Newsweek, Newsweek, 6 Nov. 2021, https://www.newsweek.com/cbd-oil-dogs-best-key-health-side-effects-risks-1641176

Dunleavy, Brian P. “CBD Marketing for Dogs Way Ahead of the Science, Experts Say.” UPI, UPI, 24 June 2022, https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2022/06/24/CBD-dogs-medical-uses/2051655327776/.

Peters, Alexa. “Treating Your Dog with CBD.” Greatist, Greatist, 15 July 2022, https://greatist.com/health/cbd-for-dogs#conditions-and-uses.

Pratt-Phillip, Shannon. “CBD and Horses: Where Do We Stand?” Horse Sport, Horse Sport, 14 May 2022, https://horsesport.com/magazine/health/cbd-horses-where-do-we-stand/.

Julia, Nina. “CBD Oil for Cats with Kidney Disease: Is It Safe & Effective?” CFAH, 17 Oct. 2021, https://cfah.org/cbd-oil-for-cats-with-kidney-disease/#Is_CBD_Oil_for_Cats_with_Kidney_Disease_Safe.