There is no point in denying that cannabis is now getting widespread acceptance as more states are now legalizing it for both medical and recreational use. There are currently 11 states that allow recreational marijuana use, including California, Vermont, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. Another 22 states allow medical cannabis use, including Arizona, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
With more legalization moves in the horizon, marketers and manufacturers are now looking for ways to earn more. Not that they desperately need it. In 2018, legal pot made a killing for the industry as a whole. Estimates showed that the industry was worth $10.4 billion last year. Investors shelled out $10 billion of their money.
Even then, there are still manufacturers who want to target another set of customers: your pets. There are countless of reports that talk about pet owners giving cannabis to their pets. For example, there’s Kelly Alto who administers hemp oil to her dog to treat its separation anxiety. Hemp oil may have come from the cannabis plant, but it does not contain THC, the substance that makes you high.
There are also products that are infused with CBD, targeted for pets who suffer from anxiety, pain, and even seizures. CBD products are legal everywhere, you can even buy them online.
There are a lot more who swear by the use of marijuana to treat their pet’s conditions. Some of these pet owners are featured in this video.
Benefits of Cannabis Oil for Your Pets
Cannabis and other marijuana products are marketed for different conditions. Pets who have anxiety, stress, seizures, nausea, back pain, arthritis, and gastrointestinal issues will benefit from using cannabis. You can also use it for helping pets who have cancer. Marijuana is great at managing symptoms of the disease.
These are just some of the diseases that marijuana can treat. But the more significant benefit of cannabis stems from the fact that it does not have life-threatening effects that you see in traditional medicines for dogs. It does not damage their organs such as the liver, gastrointestinal tract, or liver. You just have to make sure that you give them the proper dosage.
Before you go online to buy the latest cannabis oil for pets, there are some things that you should know. First, most of the benefits being attached to marijuana for pets is mainly anecdotal.
There are virtually no studies that can confirm if these benefits are real and if it is cannabis, that is causing them. There are also no thorough studies on how marijuana affects animals in general. Nobody can answer the question, “Is cannabis really beneficial for pets?” At least not with certainty.
That is not from the lack of trying, however. Veterinarians have been asking the United States Drug Enforcement Administration to allow them to do some research on cannabis for animals. This was after the DEA announced that CBD and other cannabis-derived products are still illegal as Schedule I substances.
Being classified as a Schedule I substance is wrong. It effectively means that CBD and other cannabis products do not have any therapeutic effect or cannot be used for medical conditions. That is even with all the anecdotal evidence from actual people whose pets have benefited from cannabis.
The Schedule I classification can negatively affect scientific research into cannabis and its effects. The DEA is primarily telling pet owners to let their pets suffer or use medicine that might have severe side effects. But more than just impeding research into the use of marijuana on animals, the DEA’s unfair classification also puts pets at risk.
According to Michael Whitehair, the chairman of the board of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the most significant risk of this prohibition is that people might experiment on dosages and marijuana for their pets. Because CBD and other cannabis products are illegal, pet owners with dogs or cats that might have anxiety, cancer, or stress might take it upon themselves to administer cannabis to their dogs without proper guidance.
That can lead to overdose and other side effects that may come from cannabis use.
What Other Factors Should You Consider Before You Give Marijuana to Your Pets?
The biggest worry pet owners have when using marijuana for their pets: overdose. Like any other medication, if you administer too much CBD, then it can become a problem for your pet. However, some studies show that cases of pet overdose do not come from administering marijuana to sick pets. Most of these cases are because the pets found their owners’ stash.
LeafScience reports that from 2010 to 2015, there were 144 percent more emergency calls to the New York state medical centers that were related to pets overdosing on cannabis. Other side effects are polyphagia and sedation.
You should also avoid giving THC to your pets. It’s best if you stick to CBD and other cannabinoids because THC is the psychoactive component that makes you high. The lethal dose of THC is more than three grams for every kilogram of your pet’s body weight.
What Does the American Veterinary Medical Association Say?
A study released in January 2019 shows that veterinarians are confident about their knowledge of THC and cannabis in general. More than six out of 10 veterinarians discuss marijuana as a treatment for animals with their colleagues, but less than half at 45.5 percent were comfortable discussing it with their clients. It doesn’t matter whether it was illegal or not in the state where they practice. Most veterinarians believe that CBD is beneficial for pain, anxiety, and seizures.
However, the AVMA has a more conservative view. The AVMA notes that cannabis products that have been submitted to the FDA do not follow the traditional path for FDA approval. For a manufacturer to legally make and market their products, they would have to obtain FDA approval.
What’s more, the AVMA says that there has been a dearth of studies for cannabis use in animals. The AVMA, however, encourages more research, especially well-controlled ones. That is the only way that more effective and safer products are available in the market.
The AVMA also cautions that some products are even mislabeled. That said, you cannot know what’s really in them, and their respective amounts. The AVMA only recommends one FDA-approved product, which is used for people who suffer from seizures. Veterinarians can use this drug in an extra-label manner, in accordance with the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act, or AMDUCA.
How do you know if your dog is suffering from cannabis toxicosis? While there are a lot of symptoms, the most common might be an ataxic or depressed dog that is drilling urine. If you suspect that Fido or Garfield has consumed cannabis in any way, head straight to your veterinarians. Some deaths have been reported due to toxicity.
What All These Mean for Your Pets
Veterinarians in the United States cannot officially prescribe cannabis for your pets. It is not a recommended course of action. Even with a large number of anecdotes and small studies involving cannabis use on animals, it is still unproven, unregulated, and untried. And that may bring some risks to the table.