CBD AND PETS: WHAT THE LAW SAYS
You might be surprised to learn that we aren’t the only ones with an endocannabinoid system. Our four-legged, furry friends have one too, which is why some people believe that CBD products should also be available to pets.
Just like humans, your pets may also experience benefits from taking CBD oil supplements.
Booming in the USA
In the United States, CBD Oil for pets is already booming, and CBD treats for pets are widely available. Just like CBD for human consumption, there are strict rules around the THC content and CBD edible treats for pets will also typically have a lower CBD content than those for humans.
Laws in the USA vary between states and make distinctions between the use of medical marijuana and CBD products containing low levels of THC. In 2018, the Farm Bill took CBD from hemp off the list of federally controlled substances.
In response, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) declared that CBD should be considered a “drug” and any seller would be subject to pharmaceutical regulations. This led CBD makers and sellers to simply rebrand their products as “hemp extract” or “phytocannabinoids rich oil” to work around these regulations.
Vets in the United States still face a difficult time recommending CBD products to their clients with many states still don’t allowing it, leaving owners to seek CBD products on their own.
The good news for residents in the US is that CBD treats and CBD oil designed for pets are widely available online. However, many pet owners feel more comfortable taking advice from their vet, rather than acting alone.
Why do pet owners give their pets CBD?
Pets can’t describe how they are feeling, but they can tell us when something isn’t right. Just as there are many reasons that humans turn to CBD products, there are plenty of reasons that pet owners seek out CBD to treat their pets.
Most commonly, owners are looking to treat anxiety, seizures, pain or inflammation and skin conditions. Possibly for occasional use, to ease anxiety due to fireworks or similar stressful events, or it could be a long-term solution to help an ageing pet with mobility issues or pain. Yet with little information about interactions with other drugs, it can be difficult for veterinary professionals to recommend CBD oil for animals.
What does the law say in the UK?
Here in the UK, the VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate) has taken a different stance to CBD products for pets. It has been decided that all CBD products intended for animals should be classed as veterinary medicines and therefore controlled by the Veterinary Medicines Regulations.
The guidelines state: “Any substance or combination of substances may be used in or administered to animals with a view either to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis.”
Can I give my pet my CBD oil?
In the UK, no CBD company can recommend the use of CBD oil for pets. While other countries in the world may accept that it is safe to administer small doses of CBD oil to their pets, we don’t yet have this privilege. It is hoped that further research and better guidelines from the VMD will enable more companies to explore the use of CBD for pets.
Since there are no products in the UK that are registered for pet use, you would have to give your pet CBD oil designed for human consumption. Doing this without a veterinary prescription would be an offence under Regulation 8 of the VMR. However your vet has the power to prescribe a low dose of CBD oil, but this would be down to their judgement.
Until the law catches up, we will have to wait and see what happens next for CBD oil and the pet industry.