There is a lot of buzz about CBD oil for pets. With the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, and with many states adding laws about the legality of hemp-derived CBD (North Carolina is still pretty vague on its stance), it is now a fairly accessible substance that seems to have everyone talking.

A lot of excitement and speculation exists around how CBD may be beneficial in the veterinary world. For everything from arthritis to seizures to anxiety, we are fielding questions about whether pets can benefit. CBD oil for pets is still a murky topic, though, and having all the information can help you as a pet owner to make some good decisions when it comes to this hot topic.

Why Vets are a Little Stuck

While CBD oil for pets is an exciting topic for veterinarians as well as pet owners, there are some reasons that we are a little stuck when it comes to prescribing these substances for our patients.

Right now, the Drug Enforcement Agency, which is a federal organization, classifies all cannabis derived products, including CBD oil as a Schedule I drug. This has made CBD and its ilk illegal for veterinarians at Animal Medical Hospital & 24-Hour Urgent Care to prescribe them.

With the passage of the Farm Bill, a distinction was made between marijuana and hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana). This makes hemp-derived CBD oil legal to obtain when allowed on a state level. 

It remains very unclear, however, whether veterinarians are legally allowed to prescribe or even recommend CBD oil. This is particularly true in states like North Carolina with very noncommittal laws. 

At this time the general consensus is that it is probably best for veterinarians to not prescribe CBD until the DEA is able to clarify their stance. That does not mean, however, that you as a pet parent cannot easily and legally obtain it.

Using CBD Oil for Pets

While CBD oil for pets has lots of promising potential applications, it is important to remember that we are in the very infancy of understanding this drug. Until recently any type of research was not allowed to be conducted in regards to the substance, meaning our knowledge about dosing, side effects, benefits, contraindications, and drug interactions are in their very infancy.

Also remember that because CBD oil is classified as a supplement, there is little regulation on its manufacturing and distribution. This means you are at the mercy of the company producing it to be supplying a consistent and pure product.

If you do decide to try CBD oil for your pet, please:

  • Use hemp-derived CBD products in accordance with state law
  • Choose a CBD oil that lists its cannabinoids and their concentration (“hemp” is not specific)
  • Look for companies that provide independent analysis of the content of their oil (look for their Certificate of Analysis)
  • Ensure that the product is free of harmful contaminants like solvents, mold, and pesticides
  • Steer clear of products claiming specific outcomes (the FDA is cracking down on these)
  • Start at a low dose (ask for guidance)  and work your way up
  • Keep a journal in order to identify possible benefits or side effects in your pet
  • Let us know if your pet is taking CBD oil so that we can provide the best care and guidance possible

Our veterinary team cannot prescribe CBD oil for pets, but we can help you to administer it as safely as possible. We are excited to see what applications this substance may hold for pets in the future and we hope that someday soon the laws around prescribing will be updated. Call us if you have further questions, we are happy to help to the best of our legal ability.