Humans aren’t the only ones with an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that stands to benefit from hemp-derived CBD (cannabidiol)—a supplement ingredient that’s been shown to support this system as it works to keep the body balanced.
“Every vertebrate has an ECS, and most invertebrates, so your pets all have an ECS,” says Alex Capano, DNP, a faculty member and senior fellow at the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University.
It should come as no surprise, then, that research is showing promise for CBD use in our four-legged friends.
In a 2017 animal study at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, CBD was found to block pain and nerve damage in rodents with arthritis.
A study published in July 2018 by Cornell University researchers found a dose of 2 mg of CBD oil per 2.2 lbs of body weight delivered twice daily for four weeks to arthritic dogs led to a “significant decrease in pain and increase in activity.”
Researchers at Colorado State University (CSU) are currently investigating using CBD for dogs with osteoarthritis, as well as dogs with epilepsy. An estimated 10 million dogs in the US are affected by osteoarthritis, according to the American Kennel Club.
“These initial studies are helpful,” says Stephanie McGrath, PhD, CSU’s lead researcher in using CBD for dogs, “but we have a long way to go before we can use CBD to treat ailments. However, the silver lining is that it appears safe to use in dogs.”
Although hemp was recently removed as a Schedule I drug from the Controlled Substances Act, some states’ hemp laws exclude language around vet access to hemp-derived CBD. There’s no problem asking your vet about hemp oil (hello, First Amendment), but it’s up to the vet to decide whether they feel comfortable talking about it yet. In the meantime, research continues—thankfully for Fido.