An increasing number of dog and cat owners are using medicinal marijuana to treat conditions in their pets.
Medical cannabis designed for pets is thought to treat various maladies, including joint discomfort and for alleviating pain. There’s also been reports of its usefulness in managing dogs experiencing seizures.
Cannabis products are also being used as preventative measure; to maintain a healthy digestive system, to support neurological function, maintain calmness and even to help with separation anxiety.
However, the “calm” isn’t the one associated with psychoactive marijuana as hemp products for pets don’t contain the mood-altering compound, THC. Instead other cannabinoids and terpenes are used in these preparations.
Like humans, animals have a natural endocannabinoid system that assists with important functions within the body and brain. If endocannabinoid levels drop or are overwhelmed by a condition; a little helping hand may be required. This has usually been in the form of powerful synthetic drugs.
The veterinary sector is still divided on the topic of medical cannabis for cats and dogs, with further research needing to be done. However, a number of companies have sprung up offering marijuana based medicines for pets. Companies claim hemp based products are a natural alternative to prescription drugs; some of which are very expensive and may cause severe side effects.
Some US states are taking the topic of medical marijuana for pets seriously. Earlier this year, a bill was introduced in Nevada that would allow pet owners to administer medicinal cannabis; on the proviso that a vet certifies that such products ” may mitigate the symptoms or effects” of an ongoing or debilitating medical condition.
IMPORTANT: Pets should not be treated as guinea pigs (even if they are guinea pigs) and it’s crucial to note cannabis products containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol – a psychoactive compound) can have a bad effect on dogs.
If you do decide to trial hemp on your pets, do so with THC-free, well-known and tested medical grade products designed specifically for animals – and if possible, in consultation with your vet. Look for (authentic) reviews of these products from other pet owners before making a purchase decision.