Cannabis Supplements for Your Dog. Are They Safe?

Picture 2April 2nd, 2015 – While the benefits of cannabis for humans gets demonstrated through clinical research a new market is emerging and gaining traction – cannabis for your dog.

The pet supplement market is huge and growing – worth over $541 million 2014. One key trend in the pet supplement marketplace has manufacturers introducing new products that “mimic the key trends in human supplements” in hopes of enticing more pet owners to give supplements to their pets. Key crossover trends include natural and organic supplements, as well as supplements focused on obesity and aging.(Source)

But is it safe to give human supplements to dogs? One such cross-over supplement is new generation of pet products that use Cannabidiol or CBD as the active ingredient. CBD is derived solely from hemp and contains virtually no THC, so these products won’t get your dog high and there is growing evidence that many pet owners are beginning to use CBD based products to treat conditions such as inflammation, tumors, cancer and separation anxiety.

San Diego dog owner David Bourgouin’s 11-year-old dog Reef suffered separation anxiety after a shoulder injury caused a large cycst to form accompanied by severe pain. David’s options were to either spend over $6,000.00 for surgery or leave Reef to suffer. Instead, after learning about CBD David provided Reef treatment and now Reef is back to his old self.

Veterinary anesthesiologist Amber Hopkins from the San Diego County Veterinary Medical Association said she is no stranger to sick and nervous animals, and when it comes to using CBD products for medical purposes, she feels conflicted. “I think that there has been shown to be a lot of potential for cannabinoids to be very beneficial in animals for management of various things like epilepsy, pain management, anti-nausea,” she said.
(Recently, the FDA sent warning letters to 2 manufacturers of CBD products for pets for making explicit claims on the benefits of CBD)

But Dr. Hopkins added, “There’s very little scientific evidence that supports efficacy, safety studies, dose regimes that have been well defined in animals.” Veterinarians cannot prescribe CBD since it’s not federally approved to be used medicinally. Right now, the FDA considers it as a “dietary supplement.”

Until more scientific research is undertaken to validate the benefits of CBD and associated dosing for pets, owners will need to do their own research and proceed with caution. As many dog owners know, Ibuprofen can be toxic for dogs, so just because it’s safe for humans doesn’t mean it safe for your dog.

With notes from NBC San Diego.

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