pet food pet food science podcast pet nutrition Nov 14, 2023

Inspired by Episode 12 of The Pet Food Science Podcast Show with Dr. Joseph Wakshlag


The world of pet nutrition is in a state of constant evolution, with researchers and industry experts continuously seeking innovative ingredients that can enhance the health and well-being of pets. Among the myriad of explored components, cannabinoids, especially CBD (cannabidiol), have emerged as a focal point of interest. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the potential of CBD in pet nutrition, its myriad benefits, the regulatory landscape, and its burgeoning influence on the pet food industry.


Introduction to CBD and Its Origins

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana, CBD is non-psychoactive. This distinction is crucial, especially when considering its application in pet foods. The therapeutic benefits of CBD, devoid of the 'high', make it an attractive proposition for inclusion in pet diets.


The Multifaceted Benefits of CBD in Pet Nutrition

Pain Alleviation: As pets age, they are often plagued by arthritis, joint pain, and other degenerative diseases. Traditional pain medications, while effective, often come with a slew of side effects. CBD, with its natural anti-inflammatory properties, offers a holistic alternative that can alleviate pain without the associated adverse effects.

Anxiety Reduction: Pets, much like humans, suffer from anxiety. Various factors, including separation from owners, environmental changes, or loud noises, can trigger this. Symptoms of anxiety can range from destructive behavior to effects on the animal's metabolism. CBD has shown promise in modulating the neural activities responsible for anxiety, helping pets lead more balanced lives.

Neuroprotective Properties: Preliminary research suggests that CBD may have neuroprotective properties, potentially benefiting pets with neurodegenerative diseases.

Appetite Stimulation: For pets that are ill or recovering from surgery, appetite can often be a concern. CBD can act as an appetite stimulant, ensuring that pets receive the necessary nutrition for recovery.

Anti-nausea Effects: CBD has anti-nausea effects, benefiting pets undergoing conditions that could generate nausea.


Regulatory Landscape and the Pet Food Industry

The integration of CBD into pet food formulations is not without its challenges. The primary concern revolves around the regulatory landscape. Given that CBD in pet foods is a relatively new concept, there is a pressing need for clear guidelines and standards to ensure safety and efficacy for pets.

Moreover, the pet food industry is characterized by its stringent quality controls. With the introduction of CBD, there's an added layer of complexity. Ensuring consistent CBD concentrations across batches, verifying the absence of THC, and validating the source of CBD are all critical considerations.


The Promise of CBD: A Deep Dive into Research and Findings

While anecdotal evidence abounds regarding the benefits of CBD, there's a growing emphasis on scientific validation. Numerous studies are underway to understand CBD's mechanisms of action, long-term effects, optimal dosages, and potential interactions with other compounds.

One of the most promising areas of research revolves around CBD's anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is often at the root of many diseases. By modulating the inflammatory response, CBD can potentially play a pivotal role in disease prevention and management.

Furthermore, the potential of CBD to modulate the endocannabinoid system, a complex cell-signaling system involved in regulating a range of functions and processes, is being explored. This system plays a role in mood regulation, immune response, and more. Understanding how CBD interacts with this system can unlock many therapeutic applications.


The Future of CBD in Pet Nutrition

The pet food industry stands at the cusp of a transformative era. Integrating CBD into pet diets represents a significant leap forward in pet nutrition. As research continues to shed light on CBD's benefits and as the regulatory landscape evolves, the industry is poised to witness a paradigm shift.



The burgeoning interest in cannabinoids, particularly CBD, in pet food underscores the industry's commitment to innovation and the holistic well-being of pets. The journey of CBD from being a niche compound to its current status as a focal point of pet nutrition research is a testament to its potential. As the industry continues to evolve, CBD is set to play an instrumental role in shaping the future of pet nutrition.



Cannabinoids and Their Rising Influence in Pet Food by Dr. Joseph Wakshlag. Pet Food Science Podcast, 2023. Available at: <>. Access on October 27th, 2023.