We’ve seen the on-going discussion surrounding cannabinoids and pets in the UK continue to draw attention. There are now large and growing Facebook groups dedicated to the discussion and recommendation of pet CBD and a growing body of anecdotal evidence from owners, trainers and vets the potential health benefits. After finding out in the last few weeks that our own oils are being used by owners and trainers across the country, we thought we’d put together a quick post summarising the current state of pet CBD in the UK.
The Law on Pet CBD
The law, as of September 2019, is that promoting CBD-pet products without a specific marketing license are illegal in the UK. As these licenses are not yet available, no company selling, or marketing pet CBD is legally compliant.
Marketing and selling of CBD-pet products in the UK is currently illegal.
However, this is likely to change rapidly as the CBD industry grows at a tremendous rate.
Interestingly, giving your dog CBD in general is not illegal but does go against the advice of some regulatory and veterinary organisations. So current legal blocks involve obtaining ‘pet CBD’ but there is nothing stopping owners, trainers and vets using ‘human CBD’ instead.
UPDATE: JAN 2020
It is worth making note of what veterinary bodies are also making their position clear on CBD. One of the largest in the UK is the The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). They are are the regulators for the manufacture, sale and use of veterinary medicines in the UK. A few months ago the VMD released a statement where they declared that CBD can only be used in veterinary medicine i.e. approved and used by a qualified vet. The fact that they are attempting to regulate the product suggests they are in agreement regarding the potential therapeutic utility of cannabinoids for pets BUT it does mean that owners using CBD without their vets approval risk going against their advice; the ramifications of this are not yet clear e.g. is your insurance affected if your vet finds you have been using CBD with your dog.
There are thousands of pet owners in the UK using CBD to help their animals especially in the case of ill or old animals. CBD appears to not only be a useful training tool due to the calming effect but also seems to improve the quality of life if animals that suffer from chronic issues like arthritis; similar to humans. Most of this evidence is anecdotal – reported by experienced trainers or owners how have seen (what they consider) successful use of CBD with their animals.
Unlike humans, THC appears to be poisonous to dogs in moderate concentrations and can be life threatening. As such, if you do wish to give your dog CBD you MUST choose a 0% THC product. While the data are sparse regarding cannabinoid use in dogs, a wealth of anecdotal evidence from vets across the world shows that cannabis poisoning is a definite threat to dogs so should be seriously considered by any owner.
Early research has shown that CBD is generally well tolerated in dogs, at least by the cohort in this study highlighted. Like in humans, more clinical evidence is required before we can make clear claims about the health benefits of CBD.
Due to growth in demand, studies are starting to emerge that have been conducted in dogs:
1) A peer reviewed, scientific paper from last year suggested that that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice a day can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis along with no observable side effects.
2) A recent study from this year concluded that CBD may find therapeutic utility in the treatment of intractable idiopathic epilepsy.
3) A large-scale report analysing the responses of over 2000 US veterinary graduates and practicing vets showed that the majority of the cohort believe CBD holds real therapeutic value in the treatment of dogs but that many will still not recommend CBD for a multitude of reasons. This is currently the largest report of its kind regarding veterinary health professionals and CBD attitudes. It is worth a read.
We will update this article as additional high-quality research is produced. For now, it is slim pickings.
We do not advertise or market pet-specific CBD for the simple reason that it is illegal to do so in the UK. Brands who are advertising pet CBD are deliberately and knowingly flaunting the laws as it is common knowledge in the industry as to the current legality. ‘Pet-specific CBD’ is also a confusing term as the CBD used is the same regardless of species but the route of delivery may be different i.e. dog biscuits. While there is a wealth of evidence from trainers and owners as to the benefits of CBD and giving CBD to your pets is not illegal, we will not advertise such products until the laws are changed.
However, it has come to our attention only recently that our CBD oils have been used by a number of trainers and owners in the North UK to substantial effect. Trainers we have contacted claim it makes training stressed or aggressive dogs more straightforward and owners have reported that our CBD oil calms their dogs down and may help with things like separation anxiety.
While we do not openly advertise using our products with animals – our products are pharmaceutical-grade and thus safe for consumption and we would not discourage their use in pets due to the positive feedback we have received.
As always, if you are considering using CBD with your pets then gather as much information as you can before making a decision. Take a look at the peer-reviewed research about cannabinoids, effects and side-effects on high-quality academic sites like PubMed.
As always, if you have any technical questions about our products please reach out to us directly on our website chat.