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Home > General > What’s the Difference Between Pet and Human CBD Oil? Vet-Reviewed Comparison & Tips

What’s the Difference Between Pet and Human CBD Oil? Vet-Reviewed Comparison & Tips

CBD oil

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Dr. Luqman Javed

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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In recent years, CBD oil has become a popular natural remedy for a variety of ailments in humans. In light of CBD’s success in treating people, pet owners have also become interested in its potential benefits for treating their furry friends.

Many brands now produce pet-specific CBD oil, but what exactly is the difference between these and the CBD meant for humans?

While there are many similarities between human and pet CBD oil, there are also some important differences to be aware of. This article will dive into these differences, as well as the pros and cons of using CBD oil for your pet.


What Is CBD Oil?

CBD (Cannabidiol) oil is a natural, non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant. CBD has been shown to offer a variety of health benefits, including reducing anxiety, relieving pain, and improving sleep. CBD oil is typically taken orally but can also be applied topically or inhaled.

CBD is made by extracting it from the cannabis plant (hemp). Cannabis plants contain more than 60 different cannabinoids, including CBD and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD is made by isolating this compound from the other cannabinoids in the plant.

Unlike THC, CBD does not produce any psychotropic effects; it doesn’t get you high. CBD oil brands can contain small amounts of THC, but there are many available that don’t. Be sure to check the brand before you buy it.

hemp plant
Image Credit: MJ Bowie, Shutterstock

Benefits of CBD Oil for Humans

CBD oil is a natural and effective treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. Research is underway to explore the many potential uses for CBD, but much has yet to be discovered. Currently, the majority of our understanding of CBD’s benefits is anecdotal.

Potential Benefits of CBD Oil for Humans
  • Helps with sleep
  • Chronic pain
  • Stimulate appetite
  • Arthritis
  • Stomach issues and nausea
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures

These are the general use categories that describe issues CBD can be helpful with. More research is being done on CBD these days, and new and specific areas of use are coming to light as research and knowledge expand.

CBD oil extraction in laboratory
Image Credit: MexChriss, Shutterstock

The Benefits of CBD Oil for Pets

Please Note

The FDA has not yet approved the use of CBD or any other hemp-containing products in animals to treat any ailment. If you plan to administer CBD to your pet, you should consult with your veterinarian before doing so.

Interest is growing in the benefits of CBD for pets, and serious research is being conducted to discover uses and benefits for both dogs and cats. Pain, mobility, anxiety, and seizures are a few areas that are currently understood to have great potential when treated with CBD alongside proven medications for these conditions.

Potential Benefits of CBD Oils for Pets
  • Pain: CBD is understood to reduce inflammation in the body through various studies are underway to understand exactly how it impacts pain. It may also impact the nervous system and pain receptors to reduce the experience of pain. Anecdotal evidence shows that CBD can be a great benefit to pets with joint pain, arthritis, after surgery, or other injuries.
  • Mobility: For older pets, chronic pain can often slow your pet down and make them less active. By reducing pain and inflammation in the body, many pet owners see a marked difference in their pet’s mobility, often claiming that the use of CBD “made my pet appear years younger” in their activity levels.
  • Anxiety: As in humans, CBD is known to reduce anxiety levels in pets. Studies have shown that CBD impacts brain chemistry by increasing serotonin in the brain and reducing overall anxiety levels. This can benefit flustered pets who show behaviors such as wetting the floor, jumping, scratching, or anxiously following you around too closely.
  • Seizures; Research is currently being done into the impact of CBD on conditions that cause seizures in humans, such as epilepsy. While this research has not conclusively explained why CBD works, it has shown the potential to help with seizures when used as an addition to proven allopathic medicines. The impact of CBD oil on pets with seizures is only beginning to be tested, so it is not yet advised to use CBD for this purpose; however, it is a growing area of knowledge and one to look into if your pet has a disorder that causes seizures.
cbd oil
Image Credit: Erin_Hinterland, Pixabay

Is CBD Oil Safe for Pets?

The safety of CBD oil for pets is still being researched. Most studies suggest that it is safe, while other studies caution that more research is needed. The side effects of CBD oil are typically mild and may include drowsiness, dry mouth, and decreased appetite. As with any new medication, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian before giving CBD oil to your pet.

Initial studies have shown that some pets show an elevated liver value on their blood work called alkaline phosphatase (ALP) when taking regular doses of CBD. It is inclusive at this time if this has an impact on pet health, but if you are concerned, it is best to check first with a veterinary professional.

Pet vs Human CBD Oil

CBD is a natural compound found in hemp, so theoretically, there should be no major differences between pet and human CBD oil. However, there are a few key factors you need to be aware of when choosing a brand of CBD for your pet.

  • THC: Some CBD oils meant for humans contain varying degrees of the compound THC. For humans, this may or may not be something you want in your CBD oil, but for pets, it is a bigger problem. THC is ok for humans, but it is toxic for pets and can be fatal if taken in high enough doses. It is important to make sure the CBD you are using contains zero amount of THC.
  • Concentration: The other major difference between pet and human CBD is the dosing and potency of the oil. Humans can tolerate higher doses of CBD than pets. Due to their smaller size, cats and dogs need different dosing by weight to receive the benefits of the oil. Oils designed for either cats or dogs have been specially formulated with dosing recommendations to be appropriate for pets. Your safest wager for getting your pet the right amount of CBD is to choose a brand intended for pets.
  • Organic Hemp: Pesticides are another issue to be aware of. Due to the extraction methods and high concentration of CBD, if the hemp was grown using pesticides, these will be amplified in the final product. Because pets are smaller than humans, the adverse effects of this can be felt more rapidly. Look for organic CBD oils for your pets to prevent any unwanted side effects of pesticides.
  • Taste: CBD by itself has only the grassy taste of a plant or nut oil. Most CBD brands flavor the oil since it is ingested orally but putting drops under the tongue. Human oils can be flavored like candy or fruits to make them easier to take. Pet oils, on the other hand, typically have flavors like bacon or meat to make them appealing to carnivorous canines and cats. Flavor can make a big difference in your pet’s acceptance of this remedy.
CBD oil
Image Credit: Julia Teichman, Pixabay

The Best Way for Your Pet to Take CBD Oil

CBD comes in many forms for pets, and new products are being offered on the market all the time. CBD oil is used directly by placing a recommended dose, a specific number of drops, under their tongue. CBD is also given to pets in the form of treats, either chewy treats, gummies, etc.

Pets are much more sensitive to the effects of CBD oil than humans, due to their smaller size overall. They may also metabolize CBD differently than humans do. For this reason, it is important to use caution in determining the correct dose for your pet.

The treats can be appealing and are formulated to deliver a specific dose of CBD to your pet. Nonetheless, the size of dogs or cats varies and it can be difficult to control how much CBD your pet ingests when eating these treats. The safest option is to dose the CBD oil directly to your pet, as you can control exactly how many drops they get and monitor the impact each dosage has on them.

Always make sure to follow the instructions given on the product’s packaging regarding how much and how often to give your pet CBD oil. Vets in some parts of the world may not be able to legally recommend CBD oil for pets but it is good to consult them about any new products you are giving to your furry friends.

vet examining cat and dog
Image Credit: FamVeld, Shutterstock



In conclusion, there are a few key differences between pet and human CBD oil:

  • First, the oil must not contain any THC and should be lab-tested to confirm this.
  • Second, the oil must be given to pets in much smaller doses than to humans.
  • Third, pet CBD oil is not regulated by the FDA, so it is important to do your research before giving it to your pet.
  • Finally, always consult with a veterinarian before giving your pet any type of supplement.

Look for pet-specific brands of CBD rather than trying to give your pet human CBD oil. While the essence of CBD is the same, pet-focused brands ensure the safety of the extraction process and composition of CBD for your pet.

Featured Image Credit: Aedka Studio, Shutterstock

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