Pets and Cannabis: America’s Top Vets Endorse Pot for Pets

January 18, 2018

Poll after poll shows the same result: a clear majority of Americans support cannabis decriminalization. But what happens if we look at cannabis for pets? Specifically, how would people feel about using CBD oil for pets?

On that front, the picture is actually pretty clear. A growing number of veterinarians and animal clinicians’ groups are already advocating for legal cannabis (at least, that is, for animals!).

What does this have to do with the millions of Americans seeking relief with medical cannabis? Remember that so far as the federal government is concerned, cannabis still has “no medical value.” Given this country’s attachment to its pets—Fortune reported that as of last year, Americans’ expenditures on pets was expected to top $62 billion—the acknowledgment that cannabis is more than a recreational drug is a big, big deal.

Early in 2017, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA)—perhaps the most pre-eminent veterinarians’ group in this country—approved a resolution to begin advocating for federal rescheduling of cannabis. They argued that cannabis’ therapeutic benefits for both animals (and their owners) far outweigh its risks.

What can we expect from using CBD oil for pets, and how should you use it? If you have a furry friend you love, read on.

CBD Oil For Pets

Physiologically, animals differ from humans in many crucial ways. Because of that, cannabis studies done on lab animals can only tell us so much about drugs’ effects on humans.

That said, our pets—especially the mammalian ones, such as cats and dogs—are close to us in many ways.

They strain their muscles and limbs and experience stiffness due to cold and old age. And as many pet owners observe, pets often experience anxiety. If your furry friend freaks out during periods of separation, storms, or at seemingly random stimuli, you'll know what we're talking about.

Fortunately for these pets—and their owners!—certain strains of cannabis can help. One of the least controversial facets of the cannabis for pets debate is the use of high-CBD strains for animal care.

As you’re no doubt already aware, CBD—short for cannabidiol—is the second most-prevalent cannabinoid (or “active ingredient”) in cannabis. CBD boasts a long list of therapeutic qualities. It reduces pain and inflammation, fights anxiety and depression, is an antioxidant, and might even help fight certain cancers.

For all of these reasons, you may already have seen advertisements for CBD Oil For Pets in local pet shops-- that is, if you live in a cannabis-legal state. Because CBD is non-psychoactive, even pet stores can sell it outside of the licensed dispensary system.

How Do I Choose the Right CBD Oil for My Pet?

While some pet owners imagine their pets might enjoy the relaxing psychoactivity provided by THC, cannabis’ dominant cannabinoid, pets lack our frame of reference for the experience and often find it confusing, disorienting, or even terrifying. So we advise you stick with CBD for the safest, gentlest and most respectful treatment for your pet.

For muscle aches, stiffness, and strains, any cannabis topical should be effective—even THC isn’t psychoactive when administered in this form.

For more acute pain or anxiety and depression, we recommend small—very small—doses administered in savory edibles. Sweets aren’t generally recommended for pets, and of course, chocolate for dogs is an absolute no-no.

We recommend consulting with a veterinarian or reputable pet shop staffer regarding dosage. If that’s not an option, start with the smallest dosage possible, wait to observe effects, then increase if needed.

Whether or not cannabis is decriminalized in the near future, we hope that all pets—and their owners!—who need gentle, all-natural relief from pain and anxiety are able to use cannabis.

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