All mammals have an Endocannabinoid System.
Research on how cannabinoids (including CBD) affect the human body has shown that they mainly interact with our Endocannabinoid System, a nervous system that exists throughout our body.
This Endocannabinoid System, also called ECS, has now been found to exist in all vertebrates, including mammals.
Animals such as dogs were specifically found to share almost 70% biological homology with humans. Thus, it can be cautiously concluded that CBD could interact in a similar way in canines as it does in humans. Similar to how CBD interacts with receptors in our ECS, cannabinoids may bind to receptors within the dog’s body.
One study in particular found that the CBD “binds to these receptors for a longer duration [in dogs], & evokes long-lasting therapeutic response without causing toxic effects.”
The UK Law
Can I give my dog CBD?
In 2018 the VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate), made it illegal for any company in the UK to sell products specifically targeted at animals.
In a statement release on the 14th Sept 2018 the VMD states:
"We consider that veterinary products containing Cannabidiol (CBD) are veterinary medicines and should be regulated as such. We have made this decision on the basis that products containing CBD fulfil the following definition of a veterinary medicine in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR) by virtue of the effects they have:
any substance or combination of substances that may be used in, or administered to, animals with a view either to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis."
At first glance, this ruling could be considered good for CBD – as it has been recognised for its medical potential for pets.
However, because CBD is now considered a veterinary medicine, it is now regulated for sale in general use for pets without requiring to see a veterinary specialist first. Any foods that had previously been manufactured for use by pets that contain CBD are now prohibited. To obtain CBD for use for dogs & pets, you need to first take your pet to the vets & hope that they prescribe them CBD.
Marketing Authorisation Requirement For CBD Products
CBD products for use in animals therefore now require a marketing authorisation before they can be sold or supplied in the UK. There are currently no CBD based products that have been granted a UK veterinary marketing authorisation.
Using "Human" CBD Products To Treat Animals
As there are currently no CBD products authorised in the UK for veterinary use, a veterinary surgeon may prescribe a legally obtained human CBD product under the provisions of the prescribing cascade. Administration of an unauthorised product containing CBD without a veterinary prescription is an offence under Regulation 8 of the VMR.
Companies supplying CBD products for human use in line with the requirements of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency must not indicate or recommend their products for use on animals.
Why The Change?
If they didn’t recognise CBD as having medicinal potential, they wouldn’t have bothered regulating it.
But, now that they do recognise it, it’s going to be harder to obtain a legal means for using it. You might automatically assume that this is bad for CBD use, however, regulation isn’t always bad.
It means that CBD will now be studied extensively for its use with pets, & more information will be discovered about how it can be used to treat different ailments.
It will highlight any risks & adverse effects as discovered by people who aren’t just trying to sell a product & as such will allow people to be able to make more educated decisions over whether to use CBD for their pets.
Also, following this research, it means that CBD products for pets will specifically be developed to cater for their needs, instead of a one size fits all bottle of CBD oils for everyone.
Should Owners Keep Using CBD On Their Pets?
Because CBD has no strong side effects with no possibility of overdose, it stands to reason that owners should still be allowed to use it, but unfortunately the law dictates otherwise.
The VMD don’t particularly seem too concerned with its use as a food supplement but further studies need to be conducted as to its use to treat specific conditions.