As widespread cannabis legalization and destigmatization continues its beautiful journey throughout the U.S., new, therapeutic uses for the plant continue to be discovered. One of the most revolutionary: medical doses safe for pets. To be clear, we’re not talking about letting your kitten browse your stash box; we’re advocating pot specifically formulated to treat the veterinary issues that many of our furry friends face.
Animals, like humans, have their own complex endocannabinoid systems (ECS) that act as cannabinoid receptors. The difference between medical strains for humans and pets is that animal-safe weed products contain extremely low levels of THC, and are mostly made of CBD (Cannabidiol). CBD is a non-toxic cannabis extract that is not psychoactive and does not produce a “high.” But just like dope for humans, CBD for pets comes in a variety of forms: treats, topicals, tinctures, capsules, and even bird seed. Though Spot won’t be able to enjoy the recreational aspects of weed, the plant is super safe and can be incredibly helpful in treating medical issues.
How can weed help?
An estimated 1–5 percent of all dogs experience seizures. Compelling research has shown that giving a dog CBD-infused products can inhibit seizures and their frequency. No negative side effects have been found. A testimonial on the California-based veterinary company, VETCBD, told the story of Fisher, a dog from Long Beach that was seizure-free for 16 weeks following CBD oil treatment.
This year, Chicago blog Mommy Mayhem reported the story of a 7-year-old Great Dane named Leah that has bone cancer. Her owner began giving her dog Canna Companion (which also sells CBD supplements for horses and cats). The treatment ultimately resulted in restoring Leah’s ability to walk within two days. The research backs it up. In 2012, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center found that CBD could stop metastasis in breast, brain, prostate, and other aggressive forms of cancer.
Anxiety is an extremely common ailment that pets face. Loud noises like fireworks and thunder, traveling to strange places, and other animals can all stress and cause animals emotional and physical harm. Sprinkling a dose of Therabis Calm and Quiet on your dog or cat’s food can chill your pets out, and allow them to relax in otherwise stressful situations. Though studies on animals and CBD for anxiety are just now underway, a study on humans found that CBD can reduce Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and phobias like public speaking.
Ensuring a Balanced Diet
For many birds, eating hemp seeds is a great way to get nutrients and bolster the immune system. Furthermore, a 2013 study found that chickens who were fed hemp seeds laid eggs rich in Omega-3s.
Marijuana-based products have also been shown to relieve arthritis, itching, and scratching, and to increase appetite in some dogs and cats.
An important note for pet owners: Although CBD is completely safe to use (pets cannot OD), there are some cons to dosing. First, both the ASPCA and the American Veterinary Association have not formally condoned nor advised the use of medical marijuana in pets. Because research is so new, it’s possible neither organization is ready to take a stance on new uses. Even in the 23 legalized states, it is currently illegal for vets to prescribe pot to your pet. So, pet owners, use wisely. Experiment in small doses when using these products for the first time and only buy from companies who safely label and disclose ingredients.