You may think you know everything about your dog, but did you know Fido has an endocannabinoid system just like you? In fact, almost every mammal does. Dogs produce their own cannabinoids and have receptors to process cannabinoids from other sources as well, including cannabis.
Does this mean dogs can benefit from cannabis just like humans can? While scientific research is still behind on the times here, tons of anecdotal evidence and some studies suggest that cannabis can help both acute and chronic issues. Cannabis is being used to treat many of the same ailments in dogs as it is in humans, from anxiety, to cancer, to chronic pain and arthritis, and much more.
If you are already treating your dog for any of these ailments using prescription medication, cannabis may be a great alternative for lowering the dose or getting your dog off prescription drugs altogether.
Before you start using cannabis for your pet, we’ve compiled a few tips you should keep in mind.
When it comes to your dog, it’s CBD only.
When considering cannabis products for your pet, don’t give them a normal tincture or edible that contains THC, the cannabinoid associated with the “high” feeling. Dogs, more than any other species, have a super high density of THC receptors in their hind brain. This makes them extremely sensitive to THC and its psychoactive effects.
Stick to products with high CBD, the cannabinoid associated with medicinal properties, and low THC content. In fact, hemp-derived CBD products are an excellent choice for pets. By law, hemp CBD products cannot contain more than 0.3% THC. That means hemp-derived products do not contain enough THC to induce any psychoactive effects that may make your dog sick or uncomfortable.
Even if you aren’t in a legal cannabis state, you’ll have access to hemp-based products. The Federal law allows hemp products with less than 0.3% THC to be sold and shipped anywhere in the country, so you can get trusted pet cannabis brands shipped to you.
Don’t expect your vet to prescribe cannabis for your dog.
Vets are not legally allowed to prescribe cannabis. Even if you live in a medical cannabis or legal cannabis state, those laws do not apply to your dog or its doctor.
Just like medical research for cannabis is still in its very beginning stages, the medical research is lacking for dogs as well. Until more research is done and laws are changed, veterinarians have to treat cannabis as a Schedule I drug.
So, if you are waiting for your vet to suggest cannabis before you try it, don’t hold your breath. Despite your vet not being able to legally condone its use, if you think cannabis may help your pet than you should feel confident in your decision to try it — as long as you do the research!
Do you research to find a brand you trust.
Hemp-derived CBD products are treated as “supplements” in the eyes of the law, rather than medicine. That means there is way less regulation and testing required to sell them to the public. Keep this in mind when choosing a pet cannabis brand.
Do your research to find the most trustworthy brands that are transparent about their ingredients and process. Make sure you look for reviews of a product before buying it, and if a product doesn’t have any reviews then it’s probably a red flag.
Stick with it.
If you try a CBD product for your pet once and don’t immediately see results, don’t get discouraged. CBD works better when it’s built up in your pet’s system, so expecting your dog to be cured in a day is unrealistic.
Continue treatment over the course of a week and then begin to judge whether the CBD is making a difference or not. And remember: not all pets will find the same relief from CBD. For some pets, CBD will be extremely effective. In others, results may be more mild but hopefully effective enough to decrease the amount of pharmaceuticals your dog has to take.
About the Writer
Tricia Cleppe is a freelance cannabis content strategist and writer. She previously worked as Senior Manager of Marketing for New Frontier Data, a leading cannabis data & analytics firm. She began her career in cannabis as a Digital Strategist for the LA-based cannabis non-profit Spark The Conversation, on whose board she sits.