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

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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CBD Effects: What You Need to Know

If you follow the fast-paced developments of the cannabis world, you’ve likely heard a bit about CBD. It stands for “cannabidiol,” and along with THC (or “tetrahydrocannabinol”), it’s one of the most important active compounds—“cannabinoids”—in marijuana.

The loosening of cannabis prohibition has sparked a wave of research, and we’re steadily gaining a more scientific understanding of what many of us intuitively understand: cannabis is a powerful and medically useful plant.

While a full and complete understanding is still years away, CBD’s medical potential has already been demonstrated and is likely to grow. While you don’t need to understand how CBD works to enjoy its benefits, it’s useful to know just a bit about CBD effects and the science behind this fascinating and effective plant-based medicine.

CBD Effects: Cannabis Without the High

Unlike THC, CBD is completely non-psychoactive, and in fact, it behaves as a buffer to reduce or balance THC’s psychoactivity, a useful sort of “safety valve” for those who may have imbibed too much.

Beyond this important trait, CBD exhibits a variety of very beneficial effects, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic—pain-relieving—and anti-anxiety properties. It’s effective at treating some notoriously difficult to manage conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, and because it’s non-psychoactive, it’s especially suited for treating children or other populations who shouldn’t be exposed to psychoactivity.

How to Select High-CBD Strains and Products

Because the cannabis plant contains such a large number of cannabinoids (over 100 at last count), the best way to think about the amounts of CBD—or any cannabinoid—in a particular variety or strain of cannabis is to express it as a ratio compared with other cannabinoids, particularly THC.

For instance, a cannabis product—say, a tincture—may have two times the CBD as THC, often expressed as “2:1 CBD to THC.” A low ratio like this will likely be quite psychoactive, and possibly not what you’re seeking as an anti-inflammatory, for instance.

A ratio more on the order of “18:1 CBD to THC,” on the other hand, will exhibit little psychoactivity and strong therapeutic effect.

Sometimes these numbers are expressed as percentages; if you’re in doubt about what a particular label means, we urge you to speak with a knowledgeable budtender who can help guide the selection process.

New Ways to Enjoy the Benefits of Cannabis

Because CBD is non-psychoactive, it’s well-suited to products designed for an active lifestyle. Beverages and edibles, for instance, don’t require you to pull over to use specialized equipment.

As the cannabis-consuming public expresses greater interest in and knowledge about this exciting “second cannabinoid” to THC, we’re working hard to make more high-CBD cannabis strains and products available. Be sure to check back with us regularly, as new items reach our shelves on a weekly basis. And most of all, we’d love to hear what benefits you’re experiencing from CBD, and learn about what sort of products you’d like to see more of.