Is Cannabis Good for Your Pets?

24 October, 2022
Is Cannabis Good for Your Pets?

Humans and cannabis have a really good relationship. We turn to this green medicine to help us with many of life's problems. It's there for us when we're down, it's there for us when we're in pain, it's there for us when we're sick, and it's there for us when we're living with an imbalance. Cannabis has proven to us time and time again that it is incredibly beneficial for more things than we can count. But does that mean it's good for all living creatures? What about our four-legged friends?

If you're a cannabis consumer who owns pets, you've probably wondered whether they would enjoy the benefits of the plant as well. After all, you know not to just give your furry friends anything without doing a little research first. Their physiologies are different from ours, and some things that are fine for us can be dangerous to pets. For example, that delicious chocolate treat you have sitting on the counter could poison your dog if they were to eat it. So naturally, you want to know if you could safely give your cat or dog an edible. Well, let's take a look and see if cannabis is good for your pets.


Experts Believe CBD Can Help Your Pets

Just like with humans, CBD is believed to offer many healing benefits for your furry family members. Vets are beginning to see evidence that this cannabinoid can help cats and dogs with a number of issues, such as emotional distress, eating problems, arthritis, seizures, and more. It may also be helpful for pets with cancer. There appear to be little in the way of negative side effects, but regardless, you don't want to reach into that bag of edibles and haphazardly give Fluffy or Spike a treat; there are some important things to keep in mind.

First off, veterinarians cannot legally prescribe cannabis for your pets. So if you want to offer your cat or dog a treat, you may have to dig into your stash, though there are edibles designed for your four-legged companions. Be warned, these treats are not regulated, so your pets could be ingesting products containing harmful ingredients. With this in mind, the safest method may be to administer a tincture under the tongue.

Unable to get your hands on cannabis? A great alternative is hemp, as it is rich in CBD and readily available throughout the country. Even so, your pet will experience a greater benefit from the full range of terpenes and cannabinoids living in a cannabis product. 


Too Little Is Better Than Too Much

When offering your pet a cannabis treat, you have to be really careful with the dosage because excessive THC can be very harmful, especially for dogs. In fact, canines are known to have a greater number of cannabinoid receptors than we do.

Use a product that is designed specifically to treat whatever ailment your pet is experiencing, then offer tiny amounts. Remember, it takes very little to potentially cause an adverse reaction, so be extremely cautious with the dosage. And just like their human pals, not every pet will react the same way to cannabis ingestion.

Keep an eye on how they respond, and if they need a bit more, increase little by little. If your pet appears out of sorts or begins throwing up, drools in excess, is off-balance, makes lots of vocal sounds, has dilated pupils, is overly energetic, loses urinary control, or has diarrhea, stop immediately and take them to your vet. It is possible that seizures, tremors, or a coma could occur, though these are extreme cases.

Also, be careful not to mix CBD with prescription drugs, as this could be a dangerous combination for your pets. The good news is that negative effects won't last long, but they are unpleasant and could potentially cause harm.

If you have cannabis products in your home and you are a pet owner, be sure you keep your stash carefully hidden and completely inaccessible so that your fuzzy pals don't find it themselves. This could be extremely dangerous because they can easily ingest an unsafe amount of cannabis. You should also avoid smoking around your pets as second-hand smoke can cause trouble.

Cases of animal death from excessive intake are extremely rare and mostly involve medical-grade products with high concentrations of THC. Even so, you want to exercise extreme caution so that this won't happen to your pet.


Weighing the Risks

It's important to keep in mind that while studies are beginning to suggest that CBD is beneficial for animals, we don't have enough data to know for certain how safe it is to give your pets cannabis treats. It remains to be seen whether or not there will be any negative long-term effects. Experts also don't have a clear picture as to what a proper dosage looks like. Hopefully, as more data is collected, we will have stronger evidence to support this practice so that pet owners can feel more comfortable treating their four-legged friends to our favorite plant.

In the meantime, there are plenty of people who have had positive results using CBD to help their pets with physical and emotional discomforts. In fact, a study involving dog owners who treated their pups with CBD revealed that only 5% experienced side effects. And of those who did see a difference in the behavior of their dogs, most reported that their canine friends were a little sleepy.

These kinds of studies do need to be taken with a grain of salt, though; it's possible that people who give their pets cannabis experience something known as the "caregiver placebo effect." Basically, this describes a situation where you are so hopeful that your pet will no longer be in pain that you interpret their response as positive when that may not be the case. Even though animals do have endocannabinoid systems like humans, they have different ways of metabolizing than we do, so it's difficult to know for sure. Age, size, and health are all important considerations when trying to decide whether or not your pet will respond well to cannabis intake.

If you want to share the goodness with your furry loved ones, make sure you have a discussion with your vet first. While they cannot write a prescription, they can help you determine risk factors and offer guidance. At the end of the day, what matters most is that the four-legged members of your family are safe and healthy.