Medical Research

CBD for Rabbits with Anxiety

Written by Nick Congleton

Anxiety is a major problem affecting millions of people. The CBD boom that kicked off in 2018 in the U.S. was fueled largely by the plant extract’s purported ability to curb anxiety. With plenty of people turning to CBD for anxiety relief, it was only a matter of time before people looked to it as a natural solution to help out their animal companions. Sure, most people are using CBD to help their dogs and cats. After all, who doesn’t want to help their dog relax during a thunderstorm. However, rabbits experience anxiety too. Because rabbits are prey animals in nature, they’re naturally skittish and predisposed to anxiety. Thankfully, CBD shows promise for them too.

The Endocannabinoid System and Anxiety
The endocannabinoid system is a network of nerve receptors distributed throughout the body and brain of all mammals, including both humans and rabbits. The body produces its own cannabinoids that it uses to send signals which regulate body processes. When someone uses cannabis, the cannabinoids that the plant produces, like CBD and THC, enter the body and modify those signals. Each cannabinoid is chemically a little different and produces a different effect. Endocannabinoid receptors have been found in the part of the brain that regulates fear and anxiety. While science isn’t exactly sure how it works, it appears like both CBD and THC affect the way signaling in this part of the brain works. CBD is reported to suppress anxiety, but on the other hand, THC may make people anxious, depending on the dose and the individual.

How Can CBD Help With Anxiety?

When it comes to just how CBD can help with anxiety, the truth is fairly frustrating. No one actually knows. Yes, it’s possible that it has something to do with the cannabinoid receptors in the fear center of the brain. It’s also possible that CBD impacts serotonin regulation in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked to both anxiety and depression. Most anti- epressants work to keep levels of serotonin from sinking too low. Some researchers speculate that CBD could work the same way. There are plenty of personal accounts from people that have used CBD to treat anxiety, and most of them are positive. There’s also some evidence to back it up. In the limited human studies that have been done, the results have been promising. Interestingly, some of those studies conducted to see if CBD could treat anxiety in humans were carried out on rats, a fairly close rodent relative of rabbits. In the rat studies, the researchers noted a significant improvement in signs of anxiety.

Most research on the benefits of CBD in animals has been conducted on dogs. Even though tons of people give their dogs CBD for anxiety, there’s no conclusive research on the subject. That said, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from people who treat their dog’s anxiety with CBD and have seen great results. So, what does this mean for rabbits? The answer is somewhere between “probably” and “we just don’t know.” Just like with dogs, there are plenty of people who already treat their rabbit’s anxiety with CBD and claim to see a noticeable improvement. The science just isn’t there to support their claim, yet.

Is CBD Safe for Rabbits?

The answer is once again that we don’t really know how safe CBD is for rabbits. In all the studies conducted on other animals, including humans, there hasn’t been any evidence of major side effects, let alone toxicity. The same would probably hold true for rabbits, and people’s accounts of giving their rabbits CBD back up the idea. However, as with anything, it’s best to consult your vet before giving your rabbit CBD.

About the author

Nick Congleton