Is cannabis and CBD medicine a suitable option for the well-being of your dog or cat?
Any creature with a backbone (classified as a chordate) has an endocannabinoid system. The Kingdom of Chordata includes birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, including house pets. Many animal owners handle their dear pets like family members. When a dog or a cat gets ill and conventional alternatives don’t work, people seek choices. In the realm of natural treatment, cannabis for animals seems like a legitimate botanical pathway to explore.
There is limited research on cats and dogs when it comes to CBD or cannabis in general. Are cannabis products safe for animals? Does marijuana and hemp affect pets similarly to humans? Many pet owners are searching for something to maintain their animal’s health. Still, there is minimal quality control concerning the numerous pet-focused CBD products obtainable in the medical marijuana industry and the hemp industry. Unfortunately there aren’t many esteemed, educated individuals who can give professional leadership on cannabinoid therapies for pets.
To encourage pet owners to become better informed about the use of cannabis for their four-legged friends, we spoke with an integrative medicine veterinarian. They consider cannabis to be part of a holistic approach to animal medicine. Due to marijuana’s illegal Schedule I status, veterinarians cannot sign letters of support for their clients or tell them where to purchase cannabis medicine. But they can speak about the benefits of hemp-derived CBD therapeutics for pets.
Q: Can you tell us about your profession? Based on what you’ve seen in your patients, what types of conditions may cannabis medicine relieve in pets?
A: My profession applies western, complementary, and alternative methods. That could include Chinese and western herbs, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, chiropractic, and more. Animals can profit from medical cannabis for many of the same reasons it benefits people—for pain, seizure control, gastrointestinal disorders, anxiety-related issues.
Q: Why is there a shortage of research studies on cannabis in animals? What sections of cannabinoid medicine in animals would you like to see investigated more thoroughly?
A: I think the cause for the lack of therapeutic-oriented study is because cannabis is federally illegal, and there’s no funding. Usually, it’s pharmaceutical companies that are putting most of the money into a medicinal investigation. Once there’s a legal route and money to be made in veterinary goods, that research will occur. I would like to see more extensive research on the use of cannabis in animals, focusing on some of the illnesses that it seems to be the most effective for—especially gastrointestinal issues, pain, and inflammation. Many veterinary patients see climactic effects with cannabis for these illnesses. Cancer research would be a much harder road and more difficult to put together.
Q: What is your answer when veterinarians say: “There isn’t enough accurate data to show cannabis is harmless and useful for treating animals.”
A: In an ideal world, we would benefit from more scientific knowledge. However, the case studies and anecdotal evidence about the effectiveness of cannabis medicine are already remarkable. In veterinary medication, practitioners typically have no issue using off-label prescriptions—those not explicitly authorized for use in dogs or cats. But consider medical cannabis, which has a mountain of proof for effectiveness in people, and they suddenly say, “You cannot do that; there’s been no study on dogs!” It’s hypocritical.
A: In the big picture, they’re highly comparable. One striking exception is there appears to be a greater frequency of cannabinoid receptors in the dog’s brain than there are in any other animals. This knowledge is significant because it makes dogs more sensitive to THC overdose, possibly giving them a specific amount of neurologic impairment in the short term. This sensation is known as static ataxia. Otherwise, when cannabis medicine works properly, their endocannabinoid system will behave the same way it would for humans.
Q: Is THC mixed with CBD helpful for pets? What CBD:THC ratios do you recommend for your patients?
A: It depends on both the ailment as well as the individual animal. The ratio of THC to CBD is an essential part. Some diseases respond better to medicine with a certain quantity of THC in it. The proportions that I have used include hemp-based CBD with little THC and CBD-rich marijuana with a 20:1 CBD: THC ratio and THC-dominant medicine with little CBD. The study suggests that patients with cancer and chronic pain benefit from CBD and THC goods rather than CBD alone. It depends.
Q: Do you see pets coming into the veterinary clinic after having too much THC? How much of an issue is that?
A: Whenever we’re talking about THC and pets, dosing becomes very significant. At no point is the purpose for the pet to get high. If that occurs, then it means they’ve taken too much. The purpose is to give them enough cannabis to be useful, but not so much that the products will negatively jeopardize them. It is highly unusual to see an animal show negative signs when properly dosed with cannabis as medicine. The worst outcome would be drowsiness. If that’s the case, the owner may have to lower the dose. It’s not surprising for a dog, or seldom a cat, to show up at a veterinary clinic having eaten a cannabis-infused edible that was to the owners. The great discovery is that cannabis toxicity is nonfatal and does not produce long-term effects. However, those animals that get into their owner’s stash may need urgent medical care.
Q: What’s your preferred method to deliver cannabis medicine to animals?
A: I favor a liquid preparation, usually an oil. With liquids, it’s straightforward to alter the dosage. If you’re giving something like a pill or an edible, it can be tough to figure out how to find the right amount. Furthermore, there’s every intention to believe that CBD and THC will be partly absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the mouth’s tissues sublingually. If we put fluid in an animal’s mouth, some of the medication will be absorbed quickly and has a chance to be more effective.
Q: Many people declare they want to start giving cannabis or CBD medication to their pet, but they’re not entirely certain about the proper dose. Is there a good way to determine the ideal quantity for your animal?
A: There’s a dosing scale that you could start with. It’s best to start at the low end. Every few days, gradually raise the dose. If you’ve achieved the desired result for whatever ailment, then you’re presumably done. Just like humans, animals will develop a threshold for the psychoactive effects of THC. Over time they will be able to take more medicine without any ascertainable side effects. Medical cannabis is not the solution for all pets. Some animals do better on it than others, just like humans.
Q: Overall, how aware are veterinarians about cannabis therapeutics?
A: This is an enormous problem—the lack of knowledge. The California Veterinary Medical Board is very much against the value of medical cannabis for pets. They don’t want veterinarians talking with pet owners about it, except to say that it is not helpful.
Q: What is the legal standing of CBD as medicine for pets?
A: Cannabis is federally forbidden across the board, including CBD from hemp. Even in California, a trailblazing medical marijuana region, I cannot accommodate people with medical marijuana advice for their pet as a veterinarian. Nor am I able to present them with cannabis products. But I can talk with owners about how medical cannabis might benefit their pets. Unless something dramatic develops on the legal front, there’s still going to be access obstacles for people looking to get medicinal cannabis for their animals.
Q: Any words of recommendation for someone who wants to treat their pet with cannabis or CBD?
A: If at all likely, speak to a veterinarian. Cannabis is medicine, and you should thoroughly assess its dosing. It’s essential to know the strength of THC and CBD in milligrams for one’s pet. Once you have that knowledge, you can search for a product that suits your pet’s needs. When in doubt, err on the side of under-dosing because you can continually increase the dose and watch the effect. And make sure the medicine is without mold, pesticides, and additional contaminants.
Q: There are various hemp-based CBD goods on the market for pets. How do you think about the quality of these goods in general? What are your feelings about hemp-derived CBD?
A: I don’t want to criticize hemp-based CBD products because I think they have a natural medical effect. Many people start with hemp products because of their comparative ease of accessibility. But in many cases, we don’t know the origin of the CBD in these products. I suggest that people do their due diligence as they should with any vitamin or supplement. Call the business and ask where the product is coming from and how to use it. There is no administrative oversight to make sure that these businesses are selling genuine and safe products. A pet owner’s only other alternative is getting a card and going to a medical marijuana dispensary if they want something that may be more effective than hemp-derived CBD. Ideally, you would look for an organic product and manufacture it locally. You want to know how the CBD came to be and the full spectrum of cannabinoids that are inside.
Q: Are there any guidelines or suggestions you have for people who want to make their cannabis products for their pets?
A: That isn’t easy. You won’t know the strength of cannabinoids in what you make at home unless you have it examined. If you use your product, start with exact dosing and slowly work your way upward. You’d much prefer under-dose than overdose.
Q: Occasionally, people who don’t have medical illnesses like to take cannabis as preventative medicine to sustain good health and well-being. Would you suggest something like that for an animal?
A: That’s an outstanding question I have often asked myself. The goal of the endocannabinoid system is to sustain homeostasis within the body. It’s reasonable to consider using cannabis as preventative medication much in the same way that a human would take a multivitamin. If that’s the reason, I will contemplate keeping the dosage toward the very low end. We need to see more analysis on the use of cannabis as preventative medicine for animals and people.
Q: Are there any sources for people to teach themselves about cannabis medicine for pets or find a cannabis-friendly veterinarian in their city?
A: Firstly, I would say talk to your usual veterinarian about cannabis. Even if they can’t give you the data, they may know someone in the area that can. Additionally, there is a national group called the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA). It isn’t a given that a member of the AHVMA includes medical cannabis into their practice, but most people who are open to it are also holistically minded. That would be a great place to find a veterinarian and to begin a discussion. For resources, a co-worker of mine and I taught an online class for Greenflower Media. The course provides a complete description of how medical cannabis works in pets, ways to dose, and how to find a good product.
Q: Thank you for your experience and knowledge.
If you elect to give your pet cannabis medicine, get familiarized. The approach you give your animal should have the same criteria for anything you would put in your own body. Guarantee the product is safe and examined for cannabinoid content, quality, and free from any contaminants or additives. Seek direction from a vet, if at all available. Start your furry companion off on a low dose of cannabis medicine. And measure the effects cannabis has on their activity because, as George Eliot composed, “Animals are such agreeable friends―they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”
CBD & Cannabis for Pets in Agony
The state of veterinary medicine has improved significantly in recent years. Thanks to adequate treatment, many pets are living longer than they would have years ago. With age, nevertheless, comes the onset of arthritis and other forms of injury and inflammation. Traditional pharmaceuticals commonly used to treat pain sometimes harm the immune system, GI tract, liver, and kidneys. They don’t always work as well as we would like them to – for humans and our pets.
What Do Veterinarians Know About CBD?
Numerous surveys have asked doctors what they know about cannabis and how suitable they feel talking with patients about it. A related survey came out about CBD and dogs among over 2000 veterinarians in the United States. Less than half of vets were sufficient in talking to customers about CBD for pets. With this group, vets were most comfortable recommending CBD for pain management, anxiety, and seizures in dogs.
Many Animals Understand How to Self-Medicate
People aren’t the only species that know how to ingest medicinal plants for their well-being. Explore the botanical remedies that other animals take and why they have grown to do so.
Cannabis Therapy for Seizures in Pets
The use of cannabis as medication for animals has been getting a lot of consideration in the medical, scientific, and pet-owning neighborhoods. One of the possible uses showing the most hope is in the treatment of seizures. Does it work as well for pets as it does for people?
The Legal Standing of Cannabis for Animals
In recent years, cannabis in veterinary medicine has gone from an unknown concept to a mainstream issue. This explosion of interest in the use of cannabis and CBD for animals has led to the development of a multi-million dollar industry generating cannabis-based products for pets. However, as so often happens, public demand is a few steps ahead of the medical and legal institution.