By T J Banks

In case you were wondering, CBD isn’t just for humans now – it’s for pets as well. Think of it as one more natural healing option available to your cat or dog.

Cannabidiol or CBD oil can be found in many varieties of cannabis, includinghemp. “CBD and hemp are safe for pets,” the Humane Society states. “They can be especially effective at reducing pain.” Pet owners have used CBD oil and cream for a number of issues, including arthritic pain, sleep issues, and anxiety. About eight or nine years ago, Stephanie McGrath, DVM, found it a valuable resource in dealing with dogs suffering from epilepsy: roughly one-fourth to two-thirds of the dogs on conventional epilepsy medication had continued to have frequent seizures or experience side effects from that medication. “As a specialist, I see a lot of the bad cases,” McGrath notes. “Some of the side effects are so debilitating that the owner doesn’t see a good quality of life for their dog, and that leads to euthanasia.” Two studies that she conducted – the first in 2016, the second in 2018 – showed a definite decrease in seizures among the dogs given CBD.

There isn’t as much research on CBD’s effect on cats. It has, however, been found to soothe them when they’re traveling (raise your hand if you’ve ever been on the highway with a feline threatening to call Interpol on you); relaxation, which may lead to Smokey or Hobbs sleeping better; and stress. Of course, the argument could also be made that Bach’s Rescue Remedy for Pets has much the same effect.

CBD is, according to veterinarian Joseph Wakshlag of Cornell University, is processed more slowly in both cats and dogs. So the effects last longer on them. It’s important to talk with your vet before giving your pet CBD. After all, using it for pain could mask an underlying problem or illness. Do keep in mind, however, that some vets may hesitate to discuss CBD with their clients because they’re waiting on more concrete research.