BY RUTH HILL R.N.
Wednesday, the11th, is National Pet Day. It has long been established that pets benefit from cannabis as their mammalian physiology also has an endocannabinoid system. There are many dog and cat treats infused with phytocannabinoids which help to promote healthy joints and digestion. In case you have forgotten from my many articles endogenous cannabinoids are the ones we manufacture in our bodies and phytocannabinoids are the ones from plants that we ingest.
Animals have the same TCH and CBD type receptors that work with the body’s natural inflammatory response. Pets need the same symptom relief as humans from anxiety, discomfort, loss of appetite, nausea, seizures, end of life comfort and more. Cannabis for pets is most often in the form of hemp CBD since animals do not do well with THC phytocannabinoids. Administration is with an oil orally or treats.
California has pet cannabis oil with a ratio of 18:1 (CBD: THC). Other states have infused hard treats in multiple flavors, i.e. peanut butter, blueberry, or pumpkin. Flavored treats make it more appealing for our little doggies who do not like to take medicine.
Per Leafy.com, Dr. Greg Richter, a veterinarian in California, and Dr. Rob Silver, a holistic vet and pet herbalist in Colorado, have been working in home states and beyond to educate pet owners and legislators on the benefits of treating pets with cannabis. Silver has even published a book, Medical Marijuana & Your Pet: The Definitive Guide, which draws on his research and experience to help people determine whether cannabinoid treatment is right for your animal.
Five things to know about cannabis for pets.
- It is illegal for a veterinarian to prescribe Schedule I drugs so do not expect an open discussion with your veterinarian.
- Don’t calculate dosage based on human dosage. Start with a few drops of 18:1 and observe closely.
- Can’t Get Your Paws on Cannabis? Try Hemp-Derived Products. Dogs have the highest density of THC receptors in their hind brain. Per Dr Richter, that makes them extremely sensitive to its effects.
- Pets Have Anxiety, Arthritis, and Cancer, too. Dog owners report that hemp products were most effective in treating pain and helping their pet sleep, according to a report published last year in the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. The most common side effects cited were sedation and an overactive appetite.
- Pets Can’t Puff, Puff, Pass—So Try These Methods Instead. Cannabinoids are best absorbed through a pet’s oral mucus membrane. Per Dr. Silver, medicating is as simple as spreading the tincture on your pet’s tongue.
Hemp based cannabis is showing to have definite results in treating dogs with cancer.
Check out The Mindful Owner a blog for pet owners written by zoologist Amy.
Amy talks about a product called Fairwinds Companion Tincture: 1 drop equals 0.33 mg CBD and 0.07mg THC. She has a dosage schedule for dogs weighing 5-120 lbs. There are references by (Turkanis et al. 1979), and (Bergamaschi, et al. 2011).
I hate to be a broken record but until we declassify this plant there will not be enough studies for the use of cannabis in animals. There should be side by side studies that identify medical animal cannabis which is not the same as human ingestion of cannabis. There are documented trips to the animal emergency room from parents of pets giving their dogs medical cannabis for humans which can be overly toxic for the pet. Dog parents should be well educated on use as pets are unable to tell you how they feel and constant attention to behavior is paramount.
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