Should you give CBD to your pets?
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) made last year – in our view anyway – a rather surprising statement. “The VMD considers that veterinary products containing cannabidiol are veterinary medicines.”
The statement went on to say that the VMD considered that CBD was “medicinal by function”. This is one of the criteria of what can be defined as a veterinary medicine and means that the medicine has a significant and measurable effect on the body. So the VMD have concluded that CBD does have a clinical effect on animals.
What does it mean if CBD is considered a medicine for animals? This is where it gets confusing. In the UK, it is illegal for anyone to give medicine to an animal unless that medicine is licenced or authorised by a vet. In other words, CBD products for animals should not be used unless approved by your vet.
So, on the one hand the VMD are saying that CBD does work on animals but, on the other hand, they have severely restricted its use. Why? In the absence of detailed clinical studies, it is impossible to know the risks and benefits of giving CBD to an animal. Just because it works for a particular condition doesn’t mean there are no side effects. This is what the VMD want to regulate.
There are plenty of accounts on the internet about people successfully treating animals with CBD and we have spoken to several people with stories of terrific results when they have given CBD to their pets, normally by putting small quantities of CBD oil in their food.
What is widely reported is that THC, even in small quantities, is toxic for animals so any CBD product used for pets should be THC free (and we mean entirely THC free – 0.0%).
However, before you decide to give CBD to an animal, please bear in mind that you should only do with a veterinary prescription (there are no licenced CBD pet products in the UK so any prescription would be for a human CBD product). Many vets will be cautious given the VMD ruling but the ruling confirms that CBD should have an effect on animals so, if you think CBD might work, then it’s worth having that conversation.
And a final thought. If the VMD are so sure that CBD has an effect on animals, that’s good evidence that it works on other mammals too – namely us!