Can I Give My Dog or Cat “Human” CBD Oil?
The simple answer is yes — it’s safe to give your pet CBD meant for human consumption — with a few key caveats:
- Don’t give your pets any cannabis oil with more than 0.3% THC (0.2% in Europe)
- Use smaller doses than what’s recommended on the bottle
- Speak with your vet before giving your animal CBD if they have any underlying health concerns
All animals have an endocannabinoid system — including some of the most primitive animals like the sea-squirt. This means that animals also have cannabinoid receptors, a key part of the endocannabinoid system, just like humans do.
Although animals might process CBD in a different way (which is still under research), they have the necessary mechanisms to receive the benefits of CBD. Cannabidiol may be able to relieve pain, inflammation, and anxiety in animals, just like in humans.
But, there are some things you need to know before giving your pet CBD meant for human consumption.
Pet CBD Oil vs. Regular CBD Oil: What’s The Difference?
In essence, CBD is CBD. The extraction process for both animal and human CBD is the same — both types should be derived from clean, organic cannabis, and contain less than 0.3% THC (0.2% in Europe).
So, CBD products meant for humans is essentially the same thing as CBD oil for pets — with few minor differences in potency and flavor options.
What Kind of CBD Oil Can I Give My Pet?
Not all types of CBD oils are created equal. But, as long as you’re using THC-free, hemp-derived CBD isolate — you can give your pet the same CBD oil that you’re using.
1. Always Use THC-Free CBD Products
It’s common for pets to end up at the vet as a result of marijuana toxicosis after consuming the marijuana stash of their owners. On the other hand, pets with health issues such as arthritis, cancer, and other chronic conditions can use a controlled dose of medical cannabis to relieve symptoms.
The case for giving your pet CBD oil that contains THC is under investigation. Although your pet might benefit from some THC, you should avoid giving your pet marijuana oils with high levels of THC. You should stick to pure, THC-free CBD or hemp oil instead just to be safe.
CBD oil with less than 0.3 percent THC is widely considered safe — it won’t harm your pet.
But a high dose could cause side-effects in smaller animals. This could be an issue because of the unregulated CBD oil market — the levels of THC in a full-spectrum CBD oil for human consumption might be higher than officially claimed by the company.
Another issue is the terpenes present in both broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oil for human consumption. Terpenes such as limonene, peppermint, pine, or tea tree, are essential oils found in a variety of plants — including marijuana and hemp — can be harmful to pets, even in small amounts.
Here are the three main types of CBD oil for human consumption you will encounter:
- CBD Isolate — 99.99% pure CBD, no THC— recommended for pets.
- Broad-spectrum CBD oil — CBD and terpenes, no THC. Use with caution with pets.
- Full-spectrum CBD oil — CBD, terpenes, 0.3% THC — this type contains THC but in very small amounts, which is unlikely to affect your pet negatively. Still, it’s recommended to go for the pure CBD isolate oil.
CBD Isolate Pet Oils
There are some exceptions to this rule, and a few companies making excellent full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD pet oils. These have all been approved by vets to have safe levels of certain terpenes, as well as THC.
Full-Spectrum CBD Pet Oils
2. Opt for CBD Oils Without Added SugarPure CBD oil will leave an earthy, bitter taste in your mouth, which is why people disguise CBD oil with their coffee or tea. To cover the real taste of CBD, many manufacturers have started adding artificial flavors, or sugars like dextrose to their products.
Animal products also come with flavoring to make them taste more manageable for your animal, like beef, or fish. Although this isn’t going to be harmful in small amounts, taking CBD supplements loaded with artificial sweeteners and sugar can lead to long term health problems for your animal.
It’s more beneficial for you and your animal if the CBD oil is sugar-free and doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners. Just like in humans, excessive sugar can lead to health issues such as diabetes, upset stomach, cavities, and weight gain in pets. Some artificial sweeteners found in sugar-free CBD oil, such as xylitol or grapeseed oil, can be harmful in other ways as well.
3. Use a Dose Lower Than What’s Recommended on the Bottle
When giving your pet CBD oil intended for humans, it’s important to remember that our furry friends are smaller and more sensitive to CBD. So, the dose should be much lower. A rule of thumb when giving CBD oil for human consumption is to go low and slowly increase the dose.
A good start is 0.25–0.50 mg/lb (0.55 – 1.1 mg/kg), every day.
If you’d like to know more about how to correctly dose CBD oil for cats, dogs, and horses, check out our in-depth guide CBD for Pets.
Dosage Guidelines For Pets4. Consider Using CBD Treats Instead
Another great way of giving your pet CBD is in the form of CBD dog treats or CBD cat treats.
These products are pre-formulated in a tasty biscuit optimized for cats or dogs. This method is the preferred form for most picky dog-owners or those who want the simplest way possible to give your animal CBD. No measuring needed and no mixing the oil in with your dogs’ food.
Top 3 CBD Dog Treats
Animal CBD Products Are Less Potent… But More Expensive
Animal CBD products contain less CBD, are technically identical with human CBD, but tend to be more expensive. Let’s take a look at the amount of CBD you’re getting for the average price of both human and animal CBD.
The average price point of CBD oil for pets is in the range of $0.10 to $0.18 per milligram. Compare this to human CBD oils which are around $0.07 – $0.12 per milligram of CBD.
With that being said, animals require a lower dosage compared to humans, so usually, a 30 mL tincture with 300 mg of CBD equals a month’s supply. In humans, a 30 mL tincture with 300 mg of CBD may last for a week or two, depending on the individual dose you’re using.
Average Price Comparison of CBD Oils for Humans Vs. Pet Oils
|CBD Type||Low-end average price||High-end average price||Amount of CBD||Bottle size||Price per mg of pure CBD|
|CBD Oils For Pets||$40||$60||300 mg||30 mL||$0.13 – $0.20|
|CBD Oils For Humans||$25||$40||300 mg||30 mL||$0.08 – $0.13|
Does CBD Really Work for Animals?
Research is scarce, but, so far, it shows that CBD is safe for animals — and may be effective for a few common conditions.
1. CBD May Help Dogs With Osteoarthritis (OS)
A 2018 study (funded by a CBD producer) looked into the safety, anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-pain properties of CBD in dogs with osteoarthritis .
Researchers found that giving 2 to 8 milligrams (mg) of CBD per kilogram (kg) of body weight, twice a day, can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis.
The study revealed that 80% of the dogs showed improvement in pain and mobility, as measured by the canine brief pain inventory and the Hudson activity scale. The tested dogs showed no side-effects, as reported by their owners.
The only negative effect noticed was an increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP) during the treatment with CBD. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is a liver enzyme, whose elevated levels indicate that something is irritating the liver cell membrane. Elevated levels of this enzyme are common in dogs — veterinarians only get concerned when the levels are too high. Extreme levels of ALP indicate that something is irritating or damaging the dog’s liver.
Different reasons that explain elevated ALP levels, including infection, inflammation (osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition), certain medications, toxic ingestion, and some diseases. But, it’s completely normal for dogs that have elevated ALP to act and appear healthy.
2. CBD May Reduce Epileptic Seizures in Dogs
Another study published in 2019, found that CBD helps dogs with epileptic seizures. In the study, one group of dogs was given CBD in addition to seizure medication, and the other group was given a placebo together with seizure medication.
The study showed a significant reduction in seizure frequency in the CBD group. The researchers gave the dogs 2.5 mg per kg of CBD-infused oil twice a day for 12 weeks in addition to antiepileptic treatment .
It is important to note that the authors of the study noticed an improvement in seizures in both groups, which means that both groups responded to conventional treatment. Further research is needed to determine if a higher dosage of CBD will be effective for reducing seizures in dogs, for 50% or more.
Using “Human CBD Oil” With Pets: The Bottom Line
Is it safe to give you cat or dog a “human” CBD oil?
Yes, you won’t harm your pet by giving them some of your CBD oil, as long you are using THC-free, pure hemp CBD oil that doesn’t contain any sugar or artificial flavors. You should also calculate the proper dosage for your pet based on the strength of the CBD oil for human consumption.
It is also important to consult your pet’s vet regarding the overall health of the animal before giving them CBD oil — especially if they’re using any other medications or have underlying health issues.
Sources Cited in This Article
- Beaulieu, P. (2005). Toxic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: Animal data. Pain Research and Management, 23A–26A.
- Gyles, C. (2016). Marijuana for pets? The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 1215–1218.
- Gamble, L.-J. (2018). Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 5. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00165
- McGrath, S. (2019). Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1301–1308. doi: 10.2460/javma.254.11.1301.