CBD cannabis Oil and Pets: What’s All the Hype?

CBD oils have received a lot of attention recently, especially since several states have made medical and recreational marijuana legal. This has opened many doors and has left pet parents wondering if cannabis products can be used in pets.

Before diving into this topic, it is important to understand what CBD oil is.

Both industrial hemp and marijuana come from the Cannabis plant (Cannabis staiva). These plants were developed for two different reasons. Industrial hemp plants are grown primarily for the seeds and fiber. Marijuana was developed for drug use, primarily because these plants contain high levels of the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Both industrial hemp and marijuana contain CBD (cannabidiol) and THC. However, industrial hemp contains very low levels of THC (“low resin”), which makes it useless when used as a drug to get a high. It also contains less CBD than marijuana hemp.

Some pet health supplements on the market contain hemp oil. It is important to know that hemp oil is not hash oil.  Hemp oil is produced from industrial varieties of Cannabis sativa and it naturally contains low levels of THC.  THC is highly toxic to dogs and can cause life-threatening problems if ingested.  It is especially dangerous to have products like hash oil-infused lip balms in the same household as pets.

Hemp oil is regulated in many countries to allow THC levels to 5 ppm. However, some countries allow levels up to 25 ppm of THC and some don’t regulate it at all. For comparison’s sake, hash oil typically contains between 30,000-300,000 ppm THC.

It is possible to produce CBD oil from legal industrial hemp and many outlets for this are actively selling product.

Is it safe for your pets?

There are hemp oil products on the market for pets that contain CBD. One of the most notable, trusted products was developed by respected holistic veterinarian, Dr. Robert Silver. It is called HempRx and contains less than 0.03% THC and 15 mg of CBD per mililiter.

Very few studies have been done to evaluate the safety of CBD for pets. A recent study from Colorado State University showed no adverse effects in a Beagle population. While this shows promise, much more research is needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of CBD oil.

How does CBD oil help pets?

Holistic veterinarians claim that CBD oils may help pets in several ways. It has been used as an alternative anti-seizure therapy, for anxiety, and for cancer.

On the horizon – Legality Issues

The DEA in the United States considers many marijuana and hemp-derived products, including CBD oil, to be Schedule 1 controlled substances and illegal for human or pet use. This falls under federal law. However, it may be legal under some state laws. If you are interested in using CBD oil for your pet, tread lightly and stay current with legal changes.

Recently in California, licensed veterinarians have been advised to not discuss CBD in veterinary practice, as the DEA has advised the California state board that hemp oil and all CBD products cannot be legally used in animals. Court cases have been brought challenging this ruling. Veterinarians in California are not allowed to stock product or discuss these products for medical use.

Depending on your state, if you ask your veterinarian for guidance regarding CBD oil, they may not be able to respond.

The fight to fully legalize CBD oil and other hemp products is not over. In the next few years, more products may be legally available for both pet owners and veterinarians.


  1. https://www.projectcbd.org/about/cannabis-facts/sourcing-cbd-marijuana-industrial-hemp-vagaries-federal-law
  2. https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm421168.htm#petmedical
  3. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/14/2016-29941/establishment-of-a-new-drug-code-for-marihuana-extract
  4. Bartner, L et al., Assessment of Safety, Toxicity, and Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Healthy Dogs (Abstract PO2). ACVIM Proceedings. 2017.
  5. Silver, Robert. Cannabis and Cancer. Wild West Veterinary Conference Proceedings. 2016.