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CBD And Pets: What Does The Law Say?

You might be surprised to learn that we aren’t the only ones with an endocannabinoid system. Our four-legged and 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 experience some benefits from taking CBD oil supplements. But just like our own CBD provisions, research is very thin. There are still a lot of questions to be answered around the best way to deliver CBD for pets, and the dosage.

CBD for pets is booming in the USA
In the United States, this industry 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. CBD edible treats for pets will also typically have a lower CBD content than those for humans.

The 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. Many states still don’t allow vets to recommend it, and owners have to seek out the products on their own.

The good news for residents of the United States is that CBD treats and CBD oil designed for pets are widely available online. However, many pet owners would feel more comfortable if they were taking advice from their vet, rather than acting on their own.

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. This might be for occasional use, such as to ease anxiety due to fireworks or other stressful events. Or it could be a long-term solution to help an ageing pet with mobility issues or pain. With little information about potential 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 that 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. 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.
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