MADISON (WKOW) â€“ Since Wisconsin lifted its legal restrictions on CBD in 2017, the products have lined the shelves of health stores.
Many who use it call it a fix-all drug for pain, stress or simply a supplement for healthy living and now many are trying it out on their pets hoping for the same benefits.
Erin Blohm said she had been using the product on herself for awhile and brought some home with her when she was visiting her parents and their aging family dog.
â€śSheâ€™s had seizures her entire life,â€ť she said.
Blohm said she wanted to give the oil a try.
â€śSheâ€™s a 14-year-old golden, so just as far as helping her get around a little bitÂ easier,â€ť she said. â€śHer hip joints are pretty much shot at this point. It just helps her be more comfortable with the pain side of things.â€ť
Once she saw its impact on her family dog, she wanted to try it on her younger pup, Pep, primarily to address his anxiety.
â€śJust not getting as worked up and walking around like pacing around the apartment whining,â€ť she said.
Since using the oil, Blohm said Pep has been noticeably calmer and healthier in other ways.
â€śHe tends to cough a lot,â€ť she said. â€śSo itâ€™s helped a lot more with him as far as coughing a lot at night.â€ť
Dr. Carrie Donahue with Full Circle Holistic Veterinary Care said itâ€™s become a trend in human and animal medication.
â€śA lot of people bring it up with me,â€ť she said.
As a vetÂ specializing in holistic, less traditionalÂ medical treatment, Dr. Donahue said sheâ€™s looked at a number of cases where CBD oil has made a big difference when it comes to animal pain management, anxiety or seizures. Although she said she understands why youâ€™re not likely to get a prescription from your average vet.
â€śI think a lot of conventional veterinarians are hesitant to use something that doesnâ€™t have a lot of research behind it,â€ť she said.
CBD oil is also not regulated by the FDA and according to the Wisconsin Veterinarianâ€™s Office, they donâ€™t advise using the oil because itâ€™s against federal law. Itâ€™s a reminder of the legally gray area surrounding CBD oil. In his most recent statement in May, Attorney General Brad Schimel asked law enforcement not to take action against CBD products made from legally grown industrial hemp.
Tim Oâ€™Brien, owner of the health store, Apple Wellness, said heâ€™s been selling CBD oil for people and pets under those conditions and assures his customers, his products have less than 0.3 percent THC, the ingredient in marijuana that causes the high.
â€śThereâ€™s no concerns for toxic levels, so provided that weâ€™re using it responsibly there wouldnâ€™t be a concern there,â€ť he said.
Although Dr. Donahue advises anyone interested in using CBD to be very cautious where itâ€™s coming from, because higher levels of THC are not only illegal but can be toxic to pets. Thatâ€™s also why she said itâ€™s important to distinguish CBD oil from marijuana. Dr. Donahue said an animal should never consume marijuana that would be toxic for the same reason.
â€śThatâ€™s why I recommend that pet owners talk to their veterinarian,â€ť she said.
Dr. Donahue said itâ€™s incredibly important to know where the oil is coming from and what exactly is in it, because itâ€™s not FDA regulated.
â€śThe oil that I carry here in my clinic is from just a few sources. I know the owners of the company,â€ť she said. â€śI know where the CBD oil is coming from, how itâ€™s processed, so I trust the companies.â€ť
With dozens of brands available online thatâ€™s not always the case. Thatâ€™s why Oâ€™Brien said he makes a point to get a certificate of analysis whenever he gets CBD products.
â€śThis proves to the seller, the buyer and to the consumer that it is matching the legal requirements,â€ť he said.
If you follow her guidelines, Dr. Donahue said she canâ€™t guarantee CBD oil will help your pet, but if youâ€™re using a safe source and the proper dosage, she said it shouldnâ€™t hurt.
â€śItâ€™s either going to help or, you know, if nothing else, itâ€™s not going to have an effect but itâ€™s not going to have a negative effect with an animal,â€ť she said.
For owners like Blohm, itâ€™s been worth the try.
â€śHeâ€™s had a lot of health issues that we havenâ€™t had a lot of answers on so I just thought it was something that we could give a go and he seems to be doing well with it,â€ť she said.