Cannabidiol (CBD), a derivative from the Cannabis plant, has seen a surge in popularity among pet owners.
Packaged Facts’ survey, “Pet Supplements: U.S.”, found that 21 percent of dog owners bought CBD supplements in 2020. Packaged Facts estimates that CBD pet products will be sold for $95 million in 2020, which is a 217% increase over the previous year. Pet Product News reported recently that the nation’s top pet supply stores have formed retail partnerships with CBD supplement manufacturers. Petco sells CBD products by Pet Releaf. PetSmart stores in some areas only sell CBD products made by Mary’s Tails. Pet Supplies Plus also carries Medterra and Kradle. Martha Stewart has a line CBD products for pets, made by Canopy Animal Health (a subsidiary of Canopy Growth).
There are many CBD products for pets that you can choose from. How can you make the right choice?
To ensure that CBD is present in the product, you should first read the description and label carefully. There are many products available on the market that don’t contain CBD. The product label may exaggerate the hemp content, but it does not contain CBD unless it is specifically stated. Chewy.com and Amazon.com do not sell CBD-rich pet supplements. There are many hemp-containing products but no CBD.
Although hemp-derived products may have health benefits, they do not contain CBD. However, CBD is beneficial for dogs and can be purchased in CBD-containing products.
Look for the report of an independent laboratory that has tested the product. Don’t buy products if they have not been tested by a third-party lab, or if the results are not dated and code-matched to the batch of product you are considering.Reputable manufacturers post their products’ lab reports on their websites or have QR codes that take you to online reports – but check the dates! The report should contain the date and clearly identify the product tested. It also should state the name, address and telephone number of the test provider.
You should check the laboratory reports for microbial contaminants and heavy metals. Hemp plants can be susceptible to fungal growth. This can lead to the development of carcinogenic mycotoxins. It is possible to accidentally add heavy metals to hemp plants during production. Pesticides are also common in hemp farming. Third-party lab reports should confirm that products do not contain microbial contaminants, pesticides, or heavy metals. The amount and type of cannabinoid compounds (chemicals that can bind with cannabinoid receptors in our body and dogs) found in hemp plants vary depending on the variety. CBD product manufacturers strive to use only hemp strains that do not produce psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol. (THC) Cannabinoids can be found in hemp plants. You can then administer consistent doses for predictable results.
Do not buy products that claim to cure, prevent, or manage diseases. The FDA must approve any substance that claims to be therapeutic. The FDA cannot approve products that are supplements. CBD products are treated as supplements. Supplements are not allowed to be labeled and marketed as such under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. Avoid products that are labeled “treats” as they are considered food and can’t legally contain CBD. For example, “CBD dog treatments for anxiety” would be an example. Violations to labeling laws could indicate either inexperienced or untrustworthy product manufacturers. Avoid that company.
Clear instructions, dosage information and indications are important. Ask a representative about the benefits of their products over their competition. Be aware of exaggerated claims and make sure you ask for proof! If they don’t have any study results, the best companies will participate in research studies. Look for products that have been around for a while. Many CBD-product companies are gone tomorrow. The longevity of a product doesn’t necessarily prove its effectiveness. Some companies were founded with large investments from venture capital firms, which helped some start-ups to survive despite having ineffective products. The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) will give you a seal of approval. This seal identifies products that have been proven to be reliable and dependable. The NASC Quality Seal is awarded to supplement makers who have a quality control manual that helps them ensure consistent quality. They also need an adverse event reporting/complaints system that allows them to evaluate and monitor products in real-time. In 2021, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration published the results from a study that looked at products containing hemp and cannabidiol. Nearly 150 products were tested to see if they contained cannabinoids. Only half of the products tested contained cannabidiol concentrations that were within 20% of the label declarations.
Third-party lab testing is prohibited. Certification from the NASC is required.
Independent pet supply shops should carry CBD pet supplements. They should have staff who are familiar with the products and who have tried them out on their pets. If you don’t live near an independent store, or if this is impossible, contact the manufacturer of the product you are interested in for assistance. Since veterinarians in many states are forbidden from discussing CBD with clients, and even recommending CBD products, an experienced user who has a long-standing retail relationship with conscientious suppliers is the best guide.
CBD for dogs has potential benefits
Many CBD-loving dog owners believe CBD can relieve anxiety, pain, seizure activity and allergies. It also combats immune-mediated syndromes such as cancer. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) regulates CBD supplement makers. However, CBD supplements are not allowed to legally claim that CBD cures or treats any disease. These claims are considered “drug” claims and fall under the FDA’s purview.
CBD’s popularity was largely driven by anecdotal evidence. This is because there were significant legal obstacles to both academic and commercial research on CBD. There were also barriers for growing, harvesting, refining, and selling CBD-containing products. The 2018 Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act, declassified Cannabis species with less that 0.3% dry weight of Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. This legislation removed many of these obstacles and opened up the floodgates to both commercial production and research into CBD’s safety.
Studies have shown promising results so far. Cornell University researchers conducted a 2018 study on dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. They found no side effects and a significant decrease of pain in the dogs. There was also an increase in activity. One small study by Colorado State University (16 dogs) examined CBD’s use to treat idiopathic seizures. It found that CBD had a 89% decrease in seizures frequency in dogs who received CBD.
It is hard to believe that CBD for dogs could have grown so fast without plenty of anecdotal evidence that some of these products are actually helping dogs. There are many scammers in this fast-growing market, but very few people will continue to buy products that don’t work. CBD is a promising product that has seen incredible growth. CBD should also be considered for dogs because of its low number of adverse experiences.
Annabell Bivens, The Dog Store in Alexandria (Virginia), was kind enough to help me with this article. Nancy Kerns is editor of WDJ.
Whole Dog Journal: How to Choose CBD for Dogs