In certain US states, medical marijuana is often recommended as an alternative treatment option for people suffering from various ailments, including pain, arthritis, anxiety, eating disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and Crohn’s disease among others. And as more research continues to emerge, pet owners and veterinarians are turning their attention to the use of medical cannabis for pets as well. So, a non-intoxicating cannabis compound, CBD, is not only a trend in the wellness circles but pet owners as well.
But is medical marijuana safe for your pets? What ailments can it alleviate in pets? Where can you purchase it? Well, to ensure that you are updated, here is a brief guide on a few facts you need to know about medical marijuana use in pets:
Uses of Medical Marijuana in Pets
According to medical experts, medical cannabis has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-convulsant, sedative, pain-relieving, and other positive effects. Consequently, it can be used to treat pets suffering from a wide range of ailments including but not limited to:
• Chronic pain
• Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
• Inflammatory-related pains
• Infections (fungal, bacterial, etc.)
• Digestive track upset
• Skin disorders
• Kidney and liver diseases
• Separation anxiety
• Behavior problems
• Noise phobia
• Inflammatory bowel disease
While there is a lot of scientific evidence on the effectiveness of medical cannabis in humans, there aren’t many studies for cannabis use in pets and even your vet isn’t legally allowed to prescribe it to you. But that hasn’t stopped pet owners from seeking it out for their ailing pets and trusting in the above-highlighted benefits. As a matter of fact, over the years, it has been known to help pets with the same problems it alleviates in humans.
The later Dr. Robert Kramer was among the first advocates of the safe use of medical marijuana on pets. In a past interview, for instance, he admitted that he too was initially apprehensive when a colleague recommended it for a dog that was unresponsive to other medications. However, after seeing the positive results on the dog, he decided to use it on his dog that was diagnosed with untreatable cancer. Fortunately, the dog was up and around only after the first dosage. Such positive stories have also been shared with numerous pet owners across the globe.
However, like any other medication out there, overdosing medical cannabis can lead to potential risks for your pet. Depending on the overdose, the effects can be considerably long-lasting. During such episodes, your pet may not be able to eat or stand.
Life-threatening risks for pets from medical marijuana are very rare though. Toxicity is only common in pets that have eaten products that contain coffee, raisins, and chocolate. That said, ingestion of large amounts of marijuana can be fatal to your pet, so avoiding an overdose is extremely vital.
Additionally, with the increasing popularity of medical marijuana for pets, pet owners may fall for overly ambitious cannabis products from unreliable sources, which may have detrimental effects on their pets. So, like any other medication, you should consult your vet first before obtaining or using medical cannabis for pets.
Where Can Pet Owners Get Medical Cannabis For Pets?
Obtaining medical marijuana for your pets largely depends on where you reside and your state’s marijuana laws. In certain states, for instance, to legally purchase cannabis, you must produce a medical cannabis card, which you would get from a reputed doctor. This means that there is no legal mechanism through which your vet can provide medical marijuana card for your pet.
So, the first thing to do if you want to give your pet medical cannabis is to consult your vet. From there, if you have a medical marijuana card, you can visit a reputed dispensary and purchase the cannabis product that best meets the needs of your pets. If you reside in regions or states where medical marijuana is not available, you can also opt for hemp products, which also have lower levels of THC.
When buying medical marijuana for your pet, you should check that the product has been tested and is of the right quality. Remember that medical cannabis extracts must undergo a few lab tests to ascertain their strengths or potency.
Another tip for obtaining the right medical marijuana for your pet is to go for “full spectrum” CBD. By definition, full spectrum CBD for pets or humans contain all the compounds that are naturally occurring in the cannabis plant such as terpenes, other cannabinoids, and essential oils. Organically sourced medical marijuana is another important quality option because they are grown without pesticides.
The Right Dosages
Like any other drug or supplement out there, the amount that you consume is just as important as the substance itself. The general recommendation is that you should not give any medicine or supplement to your pet without medical guidance.
The amount of medical cannabis that will help your pet will vary. You don’t have to give your pet high doses of medical cannabis to your pet for it to start feeling better, so it is highly recommended to start slowly.
When it comes to the exact dosage for your pet, various factors come into play, including your pet’s diagnosis, age, size, and other medical conditions. Since this can be a little bit tricky to quantify, it is advisable to consult your vet to help you establish the exact dosage level that’s right for your pet.
Many experts and pet owners alike feel confident that medical marijuana for pets is highly effective, especially when used appropriately. If there is a place to start when it comes to the safe use of medical cannabis for your pets, it has to do with carrying your own research. Currently, there is no government oversight on medical marijuana for pets, so it is important to do your own due diligence. Put simply, ensure that you are buying medical cannabis from a reputable company that’s known to stock high-quality products. It is also vital to consult with your vet first before giving your pet any form of medical marijuana.