Pet Improvement: The CBD craze

An email came through the other day from Pet Food Industry with a banner stating, “CBD craze in pet food and human food was going global.” The article goes on to address the enormous growth in sales anticipated around the world for cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp products.

CBD is derived from Cannabis sativa and should be distinguished from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the active component of medical marijuana that creates the high; CBD does not. Marijuana and hemp are two different strains of the same plant. Hemp is used for paper, rugs, clothing and food.

It does seem that a lot of people are using CBD with their pets. Local veterinarian Jay Fineman says that earlier this year, he attended a fascinating seminar at Oregon State University on the uses of CBD in pets. It was part of continuing education that all veterinarians must participate in as required by the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association.

The presenter, Dawn Booth, DVM, MS, Ph.D., had a chart up that was flush with arrows pointing to all of the different cellular receptors that CBD affected. The signaling between these cells created many different responses. Signaling is a crucial part of how our brain communicates within itself and to the rest of the body.

Mammals have naturally occurring internal cannabinoids known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS has been implicated in a variety of disease states and important regulatory functions. ECS helps create a homeostasis, or balance within, despite outside influences. Inflammation, pain response, immune health, gut health and so much more are affected. For more information, please go to

CBD and THC are considered phytocannabinoids, which are derived from plants. There are more than 80 of these compounds that have been discovered in marijuana. CBD is one of them, and in products, must contain less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight.

CBD works through several complex pharmacological actions, which would explain its broad appeal. Scientific studies have shown that CBD does modulate inflammation, which affects pain from arthritis and other causes. In another study, seizures were reduced in all patients that took CBD, whether paired with a drug or not. It’s been shown to reduce anxiety. New research continues to elucidate powerful benefits.

Dr. Fineman says the downside is the lack of regulation and testing. A product might state it contains a certain amount of CBD or THC, but it requires ongoing analysis to ensure this. The other issue is toxicosis, or poisoning from excess chemicals used to grow the plants, heavy metals, solvents and other additives. What’s exciting though is the potential to reduce the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and other drugs currently used in veterinary medicine, which can have serious side-effects.

For people, there is groundbreaking new research that indicates that CBD could be an effective component for reducing drug and alcohol addiction, including opioid addiction.

For more information and a source for this column, please visit this informative article by Mayo Clinic at


Jane Laulis is an avid pet lover. She hosts a pet talk radio show and is involved with pets from research to retail, nutrition to pet food manufacturing. She lives on the coast with her scientist husband, ocean faring dogs, indoor cats, exotic snakes and a charm of hummingbirds. She may be reached at [email protected]


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