Once again, companies are creating bogus products trying to extract cash from conscientious and caring pet owners. The latest fad: cannabinoid dog treats. They claim to treat everything from hip dysplasia, arthritis, mobility pain to separation anxiety. Unfortunately, all of these claims are unfounded and waste pet owners time and money. In fact, the FDA has sent warning letters to many of these companies.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an antioxidant derived from the cannabis spp. of plants, that is claimed to have many of the medicinal properties of THC without the euphoric effects. While CBD will not make one high, in humans, it is believed that the compound can reduce nausea and vomiting, suppress seizure activity, help psychosis disorders, act as an anti-inflammatory, fight tumor and cancer cells, as well as help with anxiety and depression.
One study showed that CBD was barely absorbed orally in dogs likely due to the first pass effect, which is a phenomenon of drug metabolism where the concentration of the drug is greatly reduced before it reaches the circulation (Samara et al. 1988).
In addition, we do not have a handle on what the effective dose would even be.
Many of these new dog treat products do not even contain the ingredients stated on the label. They don’t have to. They are not regulated by the FDA.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent warning letters to firms marketing these unapproved products. Many of the products did not contain any CBD. The FDA states “Consumers should beware purchasing and using any such products.”
We do not even have toxicity data on the compound.
When you feed these treats to your pet, you have no way of knowing the source of the product or how reliably it was extracted from the other cannabinoids in the source material. Therefore, we do not know the level of purity or the contaminants that may be present in these treats.
These products are just another gimmick to part pet owners with their money with no proven health benefits.
Although products such as these may not be toxic or dangerous to pets, there is always the concern that pet owners may try these supplements to treat a pet’s medical condition instead of taking their pet to a veterinarian to get an accurate, timely diagnosis and treatment plan. Veterinarians commonly see pets as their second or third opinion (after Dr. Google, the pet store clerk or groomer) long after owners have wasted time and money on over the counter treatments while the pet’s condition worsens, often leading to more prolonged and costly treatment.
Samara E et. al. Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in dogs. Drug Metab Dispos. 1988 May-Jun. 16(3):469-72.
Food and Drug Administration. 2015 Warning Letters and Test Results. 02/09/2016 http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm435591.htm