Welcome to our new series, "Cannabis for Pets: A Growing Therapy."
Let's get started with some basics and ground rules.
Integrative Veterinary Medicine is a beautiful thing. It’s the best of traditional and holistic practice, merged together. It’s also becoming home to a controversial and exciting topic: medicinal marijuana and cannabis for pets.
Herbal therapy is one of the most ancient forms of medicine, one closely revered in holistic veterinary practice. Using plants found naturally on this earth to promote optimal health, to treat and cure disease, is the base of herbalism.
Cannabis sativa L is a family of plants that carries tremendous therapeutic health benefits, and has been proven wildly useful in the [human] medical community. It contains two major compounds, THC and CBD, that work separately but together to treat a variety of symptoms and illnesses. Cannabis has been shown to slow the metastasis of cancer, and ease the pain of arthritis. It can help your pet sleep or decrease their anxiety. This plant has all of the qualifications for the herbalist’s job, with one major, federal drawback: the DEA classifies marijuana (medicinal or not) and THC as Schedule One Controlled Substances.
The use of medicinal marijuana is gaining popularity in the U.S., and has been steadily doing so for the past decade. In fact, nearly 30 states (plus the District of Columbia) now have laws legalizing marijuana in some form or other. There are 31 states with active laws protecting the legal production of hemp, and even more where medical CBD Oil has the green light (so to speak). But not one single state has any written laws regarding the use of cannabis regarding our pets.
So, why is it that our furry friends are being seemingly left out of this breakthrough treatment? Like many other laws (or lack thereof) regarding our pets, the trouble comes from their inability to communicate their thoughts and feelings in a way we can literally understand. Different regions and communities of this country, and even its states, translate the matter (and any laws that surround it) differently.
Playing by the Rules
For the aforementioned reason, and several others, the subject of cannabis for pets remains slightly shrouded. There are very few veterinarians that have expertise in this subject area. However, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is for you to seek one out if you are considering cannabis therapy for your pet. Only an experienced veterinarian can help you develop the right therapy plan for your pet.
The use of cannabis in pets walks a very thin line between therapy and toxicity. Dogs and cats respond much differently to cannabis than we do, even on the deepest, chemical levels. If not used properly, there can be serious drawbacks and side effects, which could land you at the vet or ER.
You should also consider cannabis for your pet only if you live in one of the above-mentioned states, and you can legally gain access to marijuana or hemp products. Know the laws regarding marijuana and hemp in your state, as well as their interpretation in your individual community. And know that any and all of the information here is intended for educational purpose, that you should discuss with your veterinarian.
The use of cannabis for pets, as discussed here, is for medical reasons only. It is a possible solution when nothing else seems to help your pet’s quality of life, or a natural alternative to damaging pharmaceuticals and exhausting therapies. Using cannabis for pets “recreationally,” or giving it to your pet for “fun” is absolutely never OK, and considered abusive in nature.
Join us as we explore the “whys” and “hows” of using cannabis in veterinary medicine, and how you might finally find the right relief for your beloved friend. In upcoming posts, we’ll discuss conditions that can be treated or improved with the use of cannabis, and how your pet might respond to this therapy. We will explore the pros and cons of cannabis for pets, as we dig deeper into the many functions of the endocannabinoid system.
Feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comments below, or tune in to our Live Facebook feed every Thursday at 12:30PM EST, so we can explore the possibilities of this exciting topic together.