Cannabis has long been known for its medical benefits. It can be used to treat chronic pain, seizures, anxiety, and more. But it isn’t just people who suffer from these conditions. Pets can suffer from pain, seizures, and anxiety too – which means they can use cannabis as a treatment option.
You probably won’t find a circle of cats passing around a joint, but their owners are giving them CBD oils and cannabis-infused treats. Many pet owners are beginning to look at cannabis as a safe way to treat their furry friends’ medical conditions.
What Symptoms Can You Address?
Similar to humans, there are a number of symptoms in pets that can be aided with cannabis. Pet cannabis is used to treat:
- Epileptic seizures/convulsions
- Nausea/Chronic Vomiting
- Separation anxiety
- Fear of thunderstorms or fireworks
- Appetite stimulation
- Skin rash
- Car travel
- End-of-life care
In addition to treating these health conditions, cannabis could replace your pet’s current medications. It doesn’t seem to have the same negative side effects as traditional pain medication for pets. For example, cannabis doesn’t damage the liver, kidney, or GI tract like most other medications. But remember, you should always talk to your vet before you stop administering any medications! It’s important to understand what’s necessary and what you can replace with cannabis.
Will Your Pet Feel High?
You may be wondering if it’s possible for your pet to be high. They don’t feel the effects of a high quite like we do, but your pets do still have an endocannabinoid system, so they can feel the effects of cannabis in their bodies. So some pets may indeed be high after ingesting cannabis, leaving them disoriented, loopy, or stumbling.
Unlike humans, your pets can also overdose. While it’s rarely life ending, veterinarians often have to deal with cases of cannabis overdoses in animals, so they always caution owners when introducing cannabis to their pets. If you’re just starting out, always remember to start small.
How to Introduce Your Pet to Cannabis
Your pet shouldn’t be dosed like a human. While all animals have an endocannabinoid system, it’s different than ours. This means they’ll feel the effects of cannabis differently than we do. In dogs, for example, endocannabinoid system is much more complicated than ours, which can make large quantities of THC toxic for them. So be sure to stay away from products with THC and find products with CBD.
When introducing cannabis to your pet, it’s best to start small. Buy CBD oil and a small dropper so you can measure exact amounts. Begin with an amount around 0.05 mg/kg/day. Once you begin dosing your pet, you can see if they have a negative reaction. If there’s no negative reaction, you can continue dosing your pet, slowly upping the amount by about 0.05 mg/kg/day until you achieve your desired results. Check out this article for more information on cannabis doses for pets.
Another great way to medicate pets with cannabis is through CBD treats. Local markets often have vendors with these types of goodies for your pets, so be sure to check them out!
Possible Side Effects
Your pet is an important family member, and you want them to be comfortable and pain-free, but still stay safe while using cannabis. Just like in humans, your pet could have a range of reactions to cannabis. Some of the most common side effects are:
- Excessive sedation
- Loss of equilibrium
- Overactive appetite (turns out even your dog gets the munchies!)
If your pet has a bad reaction to cannabis or any cannabis product, it’s best to stop using it immediately and speak to a vet. Luckily, it’s quite rare for cannabis to cause life-ending issues in animals.
Some vets are still wary about using cannabis or CBD oils for pets. There have been very few studies done on the long-term effects of cannabis in pets and the potential risks. Remember to tell your vet if you’re treating your pet with cannabis. They need to know in case your pet needs medical attention.