Derm Spotlight: Is CBD Oil Safe for Pets?
CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis (or marijuana) plant. This is different from tetrahydrocaccabinol (THC), which is the compound in cannabis responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana, i.e. “feeling high.” CBD does not cause the “high” feeling and is not considered an illicit drug, meaning that it is legal to sell and use in the US.
CBD is a very hot topic right now and people are using it to treat everything from anxiety to acne to cancer. Many of our dermatology clients mention that they have tried using CBD in their pets. Because CBD is a relatively new trend, there is not a huge amount of research regarding its use in humans, and there is even less research in pets. In this issue, we would like to review what information is available.
CBD Research in Dogs
The earliest research into CBD use in dogs started in the 1980’s and these were simple pharmacokinetic studies, meaning researchers injected CBD into a few dogs and then measured the concentration of CBD in their bloodstream and urine. 1 These studies don’t tell us much about the usefulness of CBD, but they did suggest that dogs can be given CBD without experiencing side effects.
More recently some studies have been published looking at the actual effects of CBD in dogs. In 2018, a study found that giving CBD to dogs with arthritis significantly decreased their pain and increased their activity level. 2 In 2019, a study looked at dogs with severe epilepsy (seizures). They gave one group traditional anti-seizure medications and gave the second group traditional anti-seizure medications plus CBD. The CBD group had a significant reduction in seizure frequency, though 2 of the dogs in that group had to leave the study due to ataxia (incoordination, difficulty walking). 3. These studies both line up with a survey done where US veterinarians said they discussed CBD most frequently as a potential treatment for anxiety, pain, or seizures.
What About the Skin?
As dermatology specialists, that’s what our clients care about the most. Unfortunately, there is not ANY scientific research studies published about the use of CBD in cat or dog skin disease. There are two studies reporting that cannabinoid receptors are present in the skin 5 and hair follicles 6 of dogs, but what does that mean? In humans, a few preliminary studies have found that CBD may help decrease skin inflammation 7,8 so it’s possible that CBD could be helpful for pet skin disease, but we just don’t know for sure yet. Hopefully someone will study this more closely soon!
1. Samara E, Bialer M, Mechoulam R. Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in dogs. Drug Metab Dispos. 1988 May-Jun;16(3):469-72.
2. Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, et al. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2018 Jul 23;5:165. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00165. eCollection 2018.
3. McGrath S, Bartner LR, Rao S, et al. Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2019 Jun 1;254(11):1301-1308. doi: 10.2460/javma.254.11.1301.
4. Kogan L, Schoenfeld-Tacher R, Hellyer P, et al. US Veterinarians’ Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions. Front Vet Sci. 2019 Jan 10;5:338. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00338. eCollection 2018.
5. Campora L, Miragliotta V, Ricci E, et al. Cannabinoid receptor type 1 and 2 expression in the skin of healthy dogs and dogs with atopic dermatitis. Am J Vet Res. 2012 Jul;73(7):988-95. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.73.7.988.
6. Mercati F, Dall’Aglio C, Pascucci L, et al. Identification of cannabinoid type 1 receptor in dog hair follicles., Acta Histochem. 2012 Jan;114(1):68-71. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2011.01.003. Epub 2011 Mar 16.
7. Palmieri B, Laurino C, Vadalà M. A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. Clin Ter. 2019 Mar-Apr;170(2):e93-e99. doi: 10.7417/CT.2019.2116.
8. Petrosino S, Verde R, Vaia M, et al. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid, in Experimental Allergic Contact Dermatitis. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2018 Jun;365(3):652-663. doi: 10.1124/jpet.117.244368. Epub 2018 Apr 9.
What Happened After I Gave My Cat CBD Oil
If you have a cat that experiences hot spots, “stud chin”, eye issues, and concerns about seasonal skin allergies, Hemp Well just may have a product to help your kitty. These are just a few things I have noticed in my cats, personally. I’m sure there are more things hemp and CBD products may assist with in cats, these are simply my observations.
As a cat owner you may never think that your cat is in need of supplements. You might be thinking, that is something only dog owners have to deal with and your little fur ball gets everything they need from their food. This could be true but they could still be lacking significant antioxidants, vitamins or other natural compounds.
I have two cats that are both three years old. One is an orange tabby that is as sweet as can be and the other is part Persian that loves scratches and wiggling all over the place. The part Persian, Lemon, is the boy that has had the most noticeable results since using both the Hemp Omegas oil and the Hemp Relief oil. He suffers from allergy related eye issues, and stud chin (chin acne).
Lemon has been to the vet for both of these things on multiple different occasions. The first time I was told it was all related to allergies and I was given a pill to administer to him once every two days. Now, if you’ve ever had to give a cat a tiny little pill, you know it’s no easy feat. It was a constant battle to get Lemon to take his pills. He started to recognize the sound of the pills in the bottle and would instantly go hide from me. After a while I decided to stop the pills because it seemed they weren’t doing much of anything.
I went back and was told to put a topical cream on his chin and an antibiotic cream in his eyes. The eye cream didn’t do anything for my poor fur ball. The chin cream wasn’t doing much either besides staining everything around him. I was beginning to get annoyed since I was spending so much money on vet visits and medications. I started looking for alternatives.
One alternative I came across was Hemp Well. A family member of mine uses it so I asked her if she thought it would work for my Lemon. She said I should give it a try as it seems to have helped her dog a lot.
I gave half a dropper of the CBD oil for cats to Lemon in the morning before his meal time. He seemed to like the taste a lot. When I came home I gave him another half a dropper of the Hemp Relief oil to help with the inflammation.
We continued the same amount at the same times every day, this day I started to see some progress. His eyes were less red and sore looking, he was opening them a little more than normal already. His chin had started to clear up a little, the rough black spots were starting to go away and his skin was healing underneath his chin.
This day we started to notice significant improvement with his eyes and his chin. His eyes were open almost all the time and the skin under his chin was all clear and pink. My little Lemon didn’t seem to be in pain anymore!
After seeing this improvement we decided to no longer give him the Relief oil for now. Since then he has gotten the Omega oil every other day in the morning and he seems to be happy and healthy! I have noticed that the stud chin will come back every once in a while but has never gotten as severe as it was before giving him Hemp Well. His eyes will act up every once in a while as well but again, no where near how bad it used to get. Once these problems arise again we go back to giving him both oils every day until they clear up.
Now, as a Hemp Well employee I get to hear about how our products help people’s pets every day. I am so thankful for all the opportunities that come along with working for this company. I hope others have similar stories about our products helping their pets as well and hope we can continue to make good things happen.
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