As CBD continues to grow in popularity — the roster of CBD products encompassing everything from chocolates to lotions to teas — it’s only natural to wonder whether your pet could benefit from the supposed calming effects of the compound.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the active compounds in cannabis plants. However, CBD doesn’t contain THC, the active compound that makes someone feel “high.”

There are now CBD oils and topical creams made specifically just for canines, not to mention a variety of treats and chews.

But how safe is CBD for your pet, really? 

The American Kennel Club states there are no studies on whether CBD is safe for dogs. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence from dog owners indicates that CBD has helped their pets with pain, especially neuropathic pain, and managing seizures. 

According to Dr. Jerry Klein, American Kennel Club chief veterinary officer, “CBD is also used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits, although there’s no conclusive data on this use.”

“Does it actually help with pain, or does it just make them not care? We don’t know.”
Mark Verdino

The AKC is sponsoring a study, which began in 2017, to determine whether CBD can help dogs with drug-resistant epilepsy. But in the meantime, other veterinarians are continuing to look at how CBD affects dogs.

“Does it actually help with pain, or does it just make them not care? We don’t know, but they seem to be less reactive to low-level pain stimuli, for example arthritis and things like that, when they take the product,” Mark Verdino, MD, senior vice president and chief of veterinary staff at North Shore Animal League America told HuffPost.

True evidence of the effect of CBD on dogs — and whether or not it’s OK to give to your pet long term — remains to be seen. If you do decide to explore its effects on your dog, it’s important to use a pet-specific CBD product, not ones designed for humans.