There’s very little evidence for the impact of CBD on animals, but feeding it to your pet could be dangerous. Many CBD oils have traces of THC, which is highly toxic for cats and dogs.
Watch our quick video guide to CBD for a rundown of what its all about.
There are currently studies being done in the UK into CBD for anxiety, psychosis and pain management in chronic illnesses. The most advanced research is into schizophrenia and rare forms of epilepsy.
What about CBD for pets?
This is due to a recent study by the governments Committee on Toxicity (COT), which found there are 'potential adverse health effects'.
CBD does have plenty of potential. But existing clinical studies for conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain have been on such a small scale – or not yet conducted in humans – that it’s impossible to draw firm conclusions. Larger-scale human trials are needed to investigate further.
You should exercise caution when travelling with CBD oil.
CBD is one of the cannabis plant’s two most abundant compounds – the other being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Hemp refers to cannabis plants, which – containing less than 0.2-3% THC – can be grown legally. Marijuana, on the other hand, contains more THC. THC has more pronounced psychoactive effects (produces a high), and is classified as an illegal substance.
Cannabidiol (CBD), the second-most prominent-cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, has seen a meteoric rise in the wellness market for offering a wide variety of purported health benefits without causing intoxication or side effects.
Although the most effective CBD dosing can be difficult to pin down, mounting research is starting to give us a better idea of how to best use this non-intoxicating cannabinoid. For example, a study published in the February 2019 issue of “Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry” found that CBD may be useful for treating social anxiety associated with public speaking. The research team gave subjects doses of CBD ranging from 150 to 600 milligrams, as well as a placebo, prior to a public speaking challenge. The study seemed to indicate that 300 milligrams helped alleviate anxiety-related symptoms.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
A February 2019 Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry found that 300 milligrams of may be the optimal dose for treating social anxiety associated with public speaking. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
CBD also elicits therapeutic responses from the body through non-ECS receptor pathways. For example, CBD may activate serotonin receptor 5-HT1A in mice, making it potentially helpful in treating depression and anxiety. It may also suppress chronic pain and inflammation by targeting alpha-3 glycine receptors according to research conducted on rodents.
If so, hard pass. "You should avoid any company that makes disease claims," says Beatty. "If so, it means they're either willing to break the rules or they're not aware of the rules."
It's also crucial to buy third-party-tested CBD for quality assurance (more on this later). Because the FDA doesn't regulate CBD, it is possible to buy a product that is more or less potent than advertised, or even contains small amounts of THC.
In other words, the latest bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA's, purview. "Hemp can now be grown freely under federal law, which, of course, is huge," Parrish says. "But while it's legal under federal law, it's up to each state to set their own policy."
Is there a batch number?
It really depends on what your goal is and why you're taking CBD in the first place.
CBD might be worth trying to manage symptoms of anxiety. "[CBD] tells your body to calm down and reminds you that you're safe," Dr. Chin says. "It mellows out the nervous system so you're not in a heightened 'fight or flight' response," she says, so people with anxiety may find it helps them feel more relaxed.
These policies vary widely. Marijuana and CBD are currently fully legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C. In 23 states, it's legal in some form, such as for medicinal purposes. Another 14 states permit just CBD oil. But both are illegal in Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota. For more information, the organization Americans for Safe Access has a helpful guide to the specific laws in each state.
The takeaway? "I think CBD is a safe thing to try," says Dr. Danesh. But he urges patients to push for more research by putting pressure on representatives to get national bills passed that allow scientists to look closer at CBD and the conditions that respond to it.