Selecting the right CBD treatment for pets: isolate, full spectrum or CBD:THC

Prescribing CBD

As the therapeutic potential of CBD continues to grow, veterinarians are increasingly exploring its use in treating a range of health conditions in pets. However, with a range of CBD preparations now available, it can be challenging to determine which one is the most appropriate for our furry friends. In this blog post, we will delve into the differences between isolate, full spectrum, and CBD:THC blends, and provide detailed guidance on selecting the most appropriate preparation for pets based on specific criteria.

Understanding isolate, full spectrum, and CBD:THC


CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, containing 99.9% cannabidiol with minimal other cannabinoids. It is typically derived from the cannabis plant and is devoid of THC, making it an ideal choice for pets that may be sensitive to THC or in cases where THC is not desired. 

  • Benefits: Isolate provides a repeatable result, THC-free formulation, and is often the first-line treatment for anxiety, inflammation, and epilepsy in pets.
  • Considerations: While isolate lacks the synergistic effect of other cannabinoids, it is often considered the best starting point when first exploring CBD as a treatment option and has been the subject of the most peer-reviewed studies to date.

Full spectrum

Full spectrum CBD is the most complete extraction of the hemp plant, including all of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes. Full spectrum CBD contains a minimum of 98% CBD and up to 2% other cannabinoids, including THC. This preparation of CBD offers the full synergistic effect of multiple cannabinoids working together, known as the “entourage effect.”  

  • Benefits: Full spectrum CBD provides a broader range of potential therapeutic benefits, and is usually prescribed as a first line therapy for pain management, immune system support, chronic pain associated with cancer therapy, palliative care, and overall well-being in pets.
  • Considerations: Some pets may be very sensitive to THC, hence it is important to monitor for any adverse reactions. However, full spectrum is ideal when CBD isolate has not achieved the desired results (over a two month trial), or when conditions are more severe and as such may benefit from the entourage effect to alleviate symptoms. 

CBD:THC blends

These blends contain varying ratios of CBD to THC (0.5% – 1% THC and the remainder as CBD), allowing for a more balanced therapeutic approach. The ratio of CBD to THC can be adjusted to suit the specific needs of the pet, whether it’s for pain management, anxiety relief, or other conditions.

  • Benefits: CBD:THC offers the combined therapeutic benefits of both phytocannabinoids such as pain relief, appetite stimulation, and overall well-being support..
  • Considerations: The appropriate CBD:THC ratio depends on the pet’s condition, sensitivity to THC, and the desired therapeutic effects. This treatment option can be considered when the other two formulations have not achieved the desired response following dose titration over a 2 month trial period. 

Selecting the right CBD formulation for pets

  • Condition being treated

Consider the specific condition your pet is experiencing. In general, CBD alone (isolate) may be suitable for anxiety, inflammation, and epilepsy, while full spectrum or CBD:THC blends may be more appropriate for conditions requiring chronic pain management, cancer pain and palliative care. For targeted relief from arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, we recommend CBD isolate as a first line therapy. 

  • Sensitivity to THC

Evaluate your pet’s tolerance and sensitivity to THC. Dogs have a much higher number of CB1 receptors in their cerebellum than humans so are much more sensitive to its effects. If a pet shows adverse reactions or if THC is contraindicated due to medical reasons, CBD isolate is the most suitable treatment. 

  • Individual response

Observe how a pet responds to different blends. Veterinarians should ensure that pets begin with a low dose and gradually increase while monitoring for any adverse effects or positive outcomes. Every pet is unique, and finding the right blend may require some trial and error. Pay attention to changes in behaviour, appetite, pain levels, and overall well-being, and conduct regular blood tests. .
Expert guidance 

It is crucial to involve a veterinarian who is experienced and educated in CBD therapy for pets. They can provide professional guidance based on your pet’s health history, current medications, and specific needs. A veterinarian can help determine the appropriate blend, dosage, and monitor the pet’s progress throughout the treatment.

In summary

Selecting the correct CBD blend for pets involves considering various factors, including the pet’s condition, sensitivity to THC, legal considerations, and individual response. Isolate, Full Spectrum, and CBD:THC blends each have their advantages, and the choice depends on the specific needs of the pet. Consulting with a knowledgeable veterinarian is highly recommended to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the treatment. With the right blend and professional guidance, medicinal cannabis/CBD can potentially provide valuable support for the well-being of our beloved pets.

Contact our team at CBD Vets Australia to chat more about different preparations of CBD and selecting the most appropriate one. 

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