What Is the Difference Between CBD for Humans and CBD for Pets?

CBD products' main difference between people and humans is each product's potency and additional pet-friendly ingredients or human-specific products. CBD itself as an ingredient is pretty much the same in terms of extraction and formulation. Another big difference between humans and their pet counterparts is the flavor difference. 

As you would correctly assume, pet flavors and human flavors may differ quite significantly. For instance, even though some of us find salmon incredibly delicious, perhaps it's not the flavor we would go with for a CBD supplement. On the other hand, cats will take salmon flavor all day. On the flip side, they might shy away from chocolate and peppermint. 

Unlike human CBD, Pet CBD products o fit the breed of the dog, cat, bird, or horse specifically. Dosage is defined by the type of animal and specific breed. Subjects within the same species usually share very similar physiology. For instance, Golden Retrievers will all share an average size depending on their age.

You can't do that with humans, so brands have decided to stick to broad formulations that serve as a standard for most people. That's why we usually say that 60mg+ of CBD per serving is considered a large dose, but the reality is that if the subject is smaller than the average human being, then 40mg+ of CBD could also be regarded as a large dose.

Pet CBD formulation is much more accurate when it comes to the production process. That's why you should feed your pets CBD for animals specifically designed to suit them, even though they could also take human CBD products. For example, it's always best to use vet recommended CBD treats for dogs when it comes to dogs. Rather than risking a hit or miss by feeding human edibles to your pup.

Top 3 CBD Products for Humans

A top-three of CBD products is not going to be entirely accurate. The reality is that there are just way too many product options for us to decide on a top 3. However, there is room for specific suggestions. So we’ve decided to throw out a few of the products we consider to be among the best of their categories.

Best CBD Oil

Healthfull Hemp CBD Relax Flavorless Tincture

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Healthful Hemp CBD oil is a flavorless tincture designed for consumption via a sublingual application. It comes in a 30ml dropper flask, and you have the option of choosing between two different potencies; 500mg and 1000mg of CBD per bottle.

Best CBD Topical

Avid Hemp CBD Relief Balm

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Avid Hemp CBD Relief Balm is made with 100% natural, full-spectrum hemp extract. Specifically formulated with cooling menthol that adds to the pain-relieving and muscle ache soothing qualities of CBD. Each jar contains 2FL OZ of balm and comes in a wide variety of potencies to choose from 300mg to 3,000mg of CBD.

Best CBD Edible

Allo CBD Bean & Bud Balance CBD Coffee

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Again, it’s incredibly hard to define a single edible that everyone will like when there are so many categories within the category. So we tried to go with something that we think everyone will appreciate- a good coffee. Bean & Bud coffee by Allo CBD is an 8 oz bag of deliciously crafted coffee beans infused with 160mg of CBD.

Top 3 CBD Products for Pets

We'll treat our product suggestions a bit differently on the pet side. The reason for it is that pets have nearly just as many product categories as CBD for humans. However, because there are different types of animals, each product's formulations are often different in many aspects. So we'll stick to one product category (CBD oil) for three different types of animals; dogs, cats, and horses.

Best CBD for Dogs

Blue Moon Hemp Tru Blu Bacon CBD K9 Tincture

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This bacon-flavored CBD K9 Tincture is a real treat that meat-loving hounds can’t get enough of once they get a whiff of it. Tru Blu Bacon CBD K9 tincture by Blue Moon Hemp comes in a dropper flask with 30ml of concentrate at a 250mg CBD potency. Great for smaller breeds and first-timers.

Best CBD for Cats

Core CBD Salmon Flavored CBD for Cats

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Core CBD’s Salmon Flavored CBD oil is made with full-spectrum, hemp-derived extract. Each bottle contains 30ml worth of product at a 250mg CBD potency. Since cats are usually smaller organisms than dogs, this has average strength for a house cat. We still suggest consulting with a licensed vet first. We can guarantee that any cat will love the delicious salmon flavor this product comes infused with.

Best CBD for Horses

GoGreen Hemp CBD Horse Tincture

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Go Green Hemp is an experienced brand in CBD for pets products. Their Hemp CBD Horse Tincture is made using MCT oil as a carrier and infusing it with premium CBD extract. This product comes in a 30ml bottle and has been professionally formulated by veterinarians to help your horse with hip, joint, and separation discomforts.

CBD for Humans vs. CBD for Pets

We’ve already touched base on the main differences between the CBD products themselves. But that’s not where the meat of the subject lies. The reality is that we place products for humans and pets in different categories because of the way certain substances interact with each of them. We’re trying to say that our bodies (humans and pets’) have evolved to behave differently.

This, however, is not the case of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in mammals. The ECS is the way the mammalian body has evolved to process incoming cannabinoids. These can be CBG, CBN, THC, and yours truly, CBD. To put it in simple terms, what this means is that the way a dog’s body interacts with CBD is pretty much the same as the way a human body does it.

The ECS has two receptors located throughout the body. When a cannabinoid reaches the bloodstream, it latches onto receptors,  activating the effects of the cannabinoid consumed. These receptors are located pretty much anywhere in the body. That’s why you’ll often see claims of CBD being potentially beneficial to so many different conditions.

And to keep in line with our ‘dog example’ theme here, the effects of CBD on dogs are pretty similar, if not the same, with the impact of CBD on human beings. These include anxiolytic, analgesic, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, and many other properties.

Proper Dosing & Side Effects

CBD dosing for humans splits up into three categories; low doses, medium doses, and high doses. There are standards defined for this, but a high amount for a smaller person might look more like a low dose for a bigger person than briefly mentioned above. 

With that in mind, it’s best to identify the goal is you hope to achieve by consuming CBD and, based on that and your physiological condition, define the amount of CBD per serving that suits your specific needs. It works pretty much the same way with CBD for animals.

But it is a bit easier to define the amount of CBD for your pet. Not because animal biology is less complicated, but because CBD brands do most of the work for you. When you buy CBD pet products, the brands have already identified the best dose for that specific breed, be it a Persian Cat or a Rottweiler. If you still have doubts or don’t want to rely too much on the accuracy of a dose defined by a brand whose ultimate goal is to make money off the sales of these CBD products, don’t hesitate to ask your vet for CBD recommendations.

Like benefits, CBD side effects in humans and other mammals are also very similar. CBD has been deemed safe for humans by the WHO, and side effects are often minor and non-life-threatening. However, in research from Huestis et al., it was found that “ CBD is not risk-free.” for animals precisely where there has been evidence of developmental toxicity, embryo-fetal mortality, and other alterations [1]

Adverse side effects seem to be triggered by miscalculated doses. That’s why it becomes incredibly important to consult with your physician or veterinarian before deciding to consume CBD as part of an alternative treatment.


[1] Huestis, M. A., Solimini, R., Pichini, S., Pacifici, R., Carlier, J., & Busardò, F. P. (2019). Cannabidiol Adverse Effects and Toxicity. Current Neuropharmacology, 17(10), 974–989. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159x17666190603171901

Hemmfy articles and blogs are meant to entertain and educate. However, we are not medical professionals and do not intend to give medical advice through them.

The knowledge around CBD and other cannabis-derived products is growing and constantly changing, as does their legal status. Hence, we recommend checking with your local authorities and a licensed physician prior to consumption.

Simon Cartagena

Simon Cartagena is a full-time cannabis copywriter. This has led him to write for companies like Hemmfy.com where he acts as Senior Content Writer and other world-renowned cannabis publications. Simon has created Content Marketing strategies and articles that have helped company revenues increase by up to 1,000%. Simon’s goal is to help people understand cannabis in an industry where misinformation seems to be predominant.