If your furry friend has been suffering from a disease or illness for months or even years, you’re likely willing to try anything to help your dog get better. One novel treatment approach you may have heard of is medical marijuana.
Naturally, if you’ve heard of people giving cannabis to their pets you may be wondering if cannabis is actually a safe, viable option for your pet.
Consider this: the same endocannabinoid system that exists in the human body also exists within all mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish (and possibly even invertebrates). [S]
Given the fact that a myriad of serious illnesses are now being attributed to Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) – a condition that is treatable with cannabidiol (CBD) – logic dictates that endocannabinoid deficiency may also play a significant role in various pet-related diseases and disorders.
So… Does My Dog Have to Smoke Weed?
When people think of medical cannabis for pets, they may have the comical image of giving a dog or cat a ‘joint’ to smoke. In the same vein, some of you may know someone that has blown a cloud of marijuana smoke into their dog’s face and laughed about the dog being ‘stoned’ (or you may be guilty of this yourself). Not only is this behavior immature, marijuana is toxic to dogs and other animals. [S]
That’s because recreational cannabis contains THC, the compound responsible for the ‘high’ and mind-altering effects users feel from smoking marijuana. Contrary to popular belief (and fear), CBD is not capable of giving your pet a ‘high.’
It’s important to find CBD that originates in agricultural or medicinal hemp – unique cannabis plants cultivated for their rich content of CBD and other cannabinoids, with very little to no THC. Hemp CBD oil is non-psychotropic, and to be legal it must contain less than 0.3% THC (which is far, far below the amount needed to induce mind-altering effects).
CBD for pets usually comes in the form of yummy, edible treats in flavors that appeal to animals (but may also simply be in tincture form). Treatibles is our most popular supplier of pet-formulated CBD products, but there are quite a few vendors offering premium quality CBD for pets these days.
Benefits of CBD for Pets
As of this writing, the American Veterinary Medical Association hasn’t taken an official stance on medical marijuana for pets. However, there have been many successful cases of the use of medical cannabis to help pets with diseases or illnesses.
One interesting study proves the importance of cannabinoids in animals by showing that male European starlings with higher expressions of CB1 receptors sang more to females, and exhibited higher dominance in nesting sites.
In addition, the ailments experienced by aging humans and animals can be quite similar. Some of the human maladies for which CBD’s use has solid scientific research backing include:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Considering the similarity of endocannabinoid receptors in humans and animals, it makes sense that CBD could treat these conditions as effectively in dogs, cats, and other furry or feathery friends.
Limitations of Medical Marijuana for Pets
As you may already know, medical marijuana is now legal in a majority of states in America; in fact, there are a growing number of states where “adult use” marijuana is also legal. Despite the growing acceptance of cannabis as medicine, it is currently illegal in most states and is definitely available for a veterinarian to prescribe to his or her patients.
An important note: in some places where medical marijuana is legal, it is unlawful to administer to pets. To counter this several bills in state legislatures aim to make it legal for pet owners to provide this medicine to their sick animals, but not all states have progressive view on cannabis for pets.
To complicate matters, in states where medical marijuana is legal there has been a substantial increase in the number of pets going to the emergency room due to the toxic effects of THC. In most cases, these emergency room visits happen due to either to negligence (for example, a dog gets into a bag of edibles) or to pet owners’ general ignorance about THC’s effects on pets.
Due to the lack of information available on medical cannabis, it is rather easy for a pet owner to overdose their pets. While medical marijuana has been shown to be beneficial in VERY small amounts, the use of medical marijuana that’s high in THC can be toxic or even deadly for most pets. Fortunately, overdose is generally not a concern when using CBD products – especially hemp CBD products that are specifically manufactured to have little-to-no THC at all.
Should You Try CBD for Your Pet?
As you can see, medical marijuana and hemp CBD are simply two of many treatments that you may want to consider for your pet, whether they’re experiencing symptoms like separation anxiety or even more serious conditions for which nothing else has worked.
While you shouldn’t ever expect cannabis to be a panacea, CBD may be able to put your pet on the road to recovery for some illnesses or maladies.
At the very least, CBD may help relieve some of your pet’s symptoms and make life easier for you and your pet overall. Most likely, hemp CBD can help your pet live a far more fulfilling and healthier life than he or she otherwise might experience.
So if you’re interested in trying CBD for your dog, cat, or even your horse, remember these three rules:
Talk to your vet first. CBD can affect the metabolism of many important medications (for pets and for humans), so it’s crucial to have a chat with your vet to make sure your pet isn’t in harm’s way.
Once you get the green light, start slow. There are many tasty CBD pet products that allow you to dose small – 1 mg of CBD per 10 lbs of body weight is the gold standard.
Stay with your pet for 2-3 hours after giving them CBD. While CBD is incredibly non-toxic, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your pet after introducing something new to their diet.