Is It OK to Give Our Pets CBD?

Liz Filmer
29 Jun 2022

Pets and CBD is a trendy topic of conversation for pet owners across the UK. You may have probably heard reports about the benefits of CBD for a wide variety of pets. Off the back of this, giving CBD to your pet may seem straightforward. However, stories online are mainly anecdotal and written without knowledge of current laws and regulations about CBD and animals. This will clarify any misconceptions about CBD and pets in the UK. 

The UK's Veterinary Medicines Directorate has stated, "products containing Cannabidiol (CBD) are veterinary medicines and should be regulated as such".

The VMD acknowledges that CBD may be of restorative benefit to pets but that CBD products must be strictly regulated. Regulations around CBD for human consumption are similar. The current FSA approval procedure for CBD products means that only safe and legitimate CBD is available to buy in the UK.

You will not find any legally regulated specific CBD pet products in the UK. Currently, no CBD-based products have been granted a UK veterinary marketing authorisation. Therefore if you see any CBD product explicitly sold for pet use, that product is being illegally retailed and should be avoided. You may see these products on websites where legality differs between countries.

A vet can prescribe CBD for your pet. A human CBD product, most likely a CBD oil, can be given to pets with a vet's permission. Your vet may recommend a specific CBD product, brand or strength.

People use CBD with their pets for the same reasons that they might use CBD. as humans. However, just as with humans, more research is needed. Current studies on the effects of CBD on animals are limited, although promising. However, longer-term studies are required to build a more in-depth understanding.

Initial research suggests that CBD is safe for pets. The main concern around CBD is the potential interactions it may have with other medications. 

CBD is metabolised by the enzyme that breaks down many common medications such as antibiotics and painkillers. CBD may cause some medications to remain in your pet's body longer as it occupies the enzyme needed to process other medicines. In severe cases, this may cause side effects or even overdoses.

This is known as the 'grapefruit effect' in humans; you may have seen warnings on medicine bottles. This is because this same enzyme also metabolises grapefruit. Therefore, eating a lot of grapefruit can block that enzyme from metabolising your medication. To avoid unwanted interactions with CBD, always take your vet's advice and only use CBD for your pet with a prescription.

Because THC is intoxicating in humans and pets, Vets will probably only prescribe CBD products that contain 0.0% THC. Suitable types of CBD include pure CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD. Both are 0% THC and do not cause any 'high'.

The most popular CBD products are CBD tinctures or oils, which can be dispensed differently. These universal products usually contain a relatively high amount of CBD and 0.0% THC.

Liz Filmer