The Cannabis and CBD (Cannabidiol) oil craze has erupted across the nation, spurred on by the legalization of hemp and its derivatives with the 2018 Farm Bill. Since then, new CBD oil businesses have popped up everywhere and searches for different CBD products have surged, with consumers looking for everything from CBD oil supplements and tinctures to CBD edibles to CBD topical salves and skin creams. The therapeutic benefits associated with CBD oil include relief and treatment for various conditions and ailments. It’s widely known that this is the case with humans, but now pet owners are also privy to these benefits. Emerging research has pointed to Cannabis also being beneficial for dogs in many ways similar to how it works with humans. Pet owners are always looking for ways to make life more enjoyable and comfortable for their pets and with some of the benefits cannabis may bring to dogs and cats, they could very well have found new ways to do so. This rings especially true for pet owners with pets who suffer from certain ailments. If you’re a pet owner looking into alternative ways to treat certain conditions and ailments in your dog or cat such as cancer, anxiety, and seizures, here are some key points to know:
First things first, it’s important to know the fundamentals of what cannabis oil is if you’re considering giving it to your pet. Cannabis oil is extracted from the cannabis plant and contains cannabinoid compounds that bind to receptors in the brain. CBD (Cannabidiol) is the active ingredient that has displayed anti-inflammatory properties, among other therapeutic benefits. This can be extracted via several different methods including CO2, Hydrocarbon, and Ethanol among others. While Marijuana and Hemp are both species of Cannabis plants, the Hemp plant is the one covered in the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized it and its derivatives, so long as they contain less than 0.3% THC.
Cannabis contains over 100 different cannabinoids, including THC and CBD. When cannabinoids are used together, studies have shown that it can be much more powerful and effective in delivering benefits than when it’s broken up into specific cannabinoids. Combined, they have an entourage effect on the endocannabinoid system. Hemp derivatives have less than 0.3% THC. Vets and researchers have identified that when the product used has little to no THC, such as is the case with CBD oil specifically, the dog will not have a psychoactive “high” effect.
If your Cannabis Oil is derived from Hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC, you are in compliance with the federal regulations. But Cannabis Oil can also be derived from marijuana and can contain a higher THC amount. In this case, it must be purchased and used in an area where it is legal or where a prescription for it is legal.
Just like humans, dogs and cats have endocannabinoid systems that interact with CBD in the same way. These systems give the active ingredients in hemp the ability to regulate inflammation and reduce many different symptoms. One of the main reasons that pet owners look for Cannabis Oil for their pets is for chronic pain relief. Other uses for Cannabis Oil for pets is to mitigate or reduce anxiety, stress, back pain, cancer symptoms, digestive and/or gastrointestinal issues, arthritis, nausea, and seizures. Many traditional medications currently on the market for many of these conditions and ailments come with many undesirable, sometimes even life-threatening side effects, just as is the case with medications for humans. Cannabis oil, when administered with proper dosage amounts, does not cause any symptoms in pets such as damage to the kidneys, liver, or gastrointestinal tract. This is why many vets have begun prescribing their patient Cannabis oil or CBD oil to help them deal with their symptoms in a more holistic way that doesn’t involve risky medications.
There are currently topical treatments available on the market for specific uses, but the most popular method is orally. There are edible Cannabis-infused products or treats, supplements, and food that contain CBD. There has even been some evidence found of traditional medications working well and in conjunction with Cannabis Oil. The most important thing to keep your pet safe is to consult with your vet before introducing Cannabis to your pet. Giving them the proper dosage is paramount, as is with any medication. The proper dosage will ensure that your dog or cat reaps the benefits of Cannabis Oil without experiencing any adverse symptoms. It may be hard to know the exact dosage when you first begin a regimen with your pet, but finding the right amount comes down to trial and error. Begin with the least amount of dosage that your vet recommends, then work your way up from there. Observing your pet’s reaction and behavior patterns as you administer the Cannabis Oil is key to identifying the proper dosage for your pet to be safe.
Studies at various universities, including Colorado State University, have shown that healthy dogs can tolerate CBD oil well, with just a few reports of mild diarrhea and slightly elevated levels of liver enzymes.
However, overdosing presents potential risks for pets such as THC toxicity, if the product contains higher than 0.3% THC, which is above the legal limit. If a pet overdoses on Cannabis oil, they might have trouble eating or standing, in which case you should take them to the vet immediately.
Still, any life-threatening risks from Cannabis Oil are rare. While more studies are needed to test the long term effects on dogs, there has been no immediate threat found of liver toxicity.
Access to medical cannabis for dogs and cats is dependent upon the laws where you live. The most progressive states where you can purchase recreational cannabis are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, and Vermont. There are 22 states that allow medical use of cannabis, but not recreational: Arizona
Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri
Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia. Hemp products, as mentioned before, are federally legal. The status of cannabis legalization is changing all the time, with elections and legislation being updated constantly. It’s important to stay informed on the latest status of cannabis products if you are interested in using it for your pet.