Cannabis medicine is becoming mainstream for pets. Is it right for yours?
Pets suffer from many of the same conditions that afflict humans, including: arthritis, anxiety, appetite loss, diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, gastrointestinal disease, and epilepsy. Cannabis has been an enormous medicinal benefit for humans and now it’s also helping dogs. It is important to realize, however, that while your pup can benefit from cannabinoids, his body doesn’t process cannabis in the same way that humans do, and this requires special consideration. In fact, dogs have a higher volume of cannabinoid receptors in their brain when compared to humans, which means THC exposure can quickly lead to toxicity.
Keeping your Pet Safe
While dogs may benefit from CBD treatments, THC can be toxic and even life-threatening. It is not recommended that you hot box your pet or allow him to eat your medibles. The medicine that dogs receive from the vet is most often derived from hemp, which has a very low THC concentration (<0.3%).
THC toxicity (from too much THC) can look like this:
- Considerable swaying and loss of balance.
- Extremely lethargic behavior.
- Breathing problems.
If your pet has consumed cannabis and is exhibiting these symptoms, it is important to get them to a vet, and to be direct about what has been consumed. Respiration can be lowered to the point that oxygen saturation levels drop and your pet’s well being is threatened.
Helping your Pet Heal Through CBD
Currently, many dispensaries offer options for pets, including tinctures, oils, edibles, and capsules. There are even specialized dispensaries for dogs, such as CannaCompanion, that will compound CBD medicine with a dose specific to the size of your pet.
As mentioned, THC can be problematic yet it may be included in the treatment of aggressive tumors. The key is to “start low and go slow.”
Hemp oil provides a great source of CBD for pets, but some veterinarians report that whole plant cannabis is more effective as it contains cannabinoids and terpenes that work in concert to create what is known as the “Entourage Effect.” Hemp-based CBD oil tends to be extracted from the seeds, and thus lacks the full complement of cannabinoids and terpenes. When using whole-plant cannabis treatments, vets will opt for high CBD strains.
To successfully administer medicine to your pet, you can use a tincture to put drops under the tongue or offer CBD biscuits. There are also many topical creams, salves, and oils that can be rubbed on aching joints, which will complement oral therapy.
It is definitely worth a conversation with your vet to determine if cannabis can help your friend feel his best.