We are big fans of cannabis over here at our Fire & Frost dispensary. Not only has cannabis become something with known benefits that we enjoy partaking in recreationally and medicinally, as well as recommending our favorite strains to everyone we know, it is also continually being used in new and unexpected ways.
Yes, vaping has become huge. There are more flavored drinks on the market. There are also more edibles to choose from and so many people are even opting to create their own delicious treats.
But, that’s not quite what I was referring to.
More frequently customers, and even friends and family, are coming to us and asking, “Is cannabis safe for my pet?”
While you might conjure images of your higher-than-a-kite friend taking a huge hit and then blowing in into their dog’s face to see what would happen, this has become a more legitimate and complicated question. People aren’t exactly wondering what will happen if their pet gets high.
What they really want to know is, will cannabis relieve:
· My dog’s anxiety? He freaks out every time I leave the house.
· The immense pain my cat is experiencing as she battles arthritis.
· The same cancer symptoms we experience as humans faced by our favorite furry friends?
Today, more and more often, people are asking, “Will cannabis, used medicinally, benefit my pet in the same way it would benefit me?”
Here is what we know:
Is cannabis safe for pets?
Yes, but first of all, most people aren’t blowing smoke in their dog’s face. Rather, they are consuming cannabis in other forms. A common way is hemp. No, not hempseed, which you can find in protein powder at the natural food store, but whole herb cannabis. Importantly, hemp is often packed with CBDs, the substance that provides therapeutic effects.
Will my pet feel relief immediately?
Just like us, your pet may experience near immediate relief from pain and anxiety. However, some ailments may take more time to see results, like inflammation.
Will my pet get high?
CBDs, like in humans, do not result in the classically “high” effects. Instead, your pet will receive the medicinal benefits of cannabis, but won’t get high like we know it as this is the non-psychoactive substance in cannabis.
People have noticed that their pet gets drowsy, and on rare occasions excessive itchiness and mild vomiting have been reported. However, even these more mild symptoms are more the outlier than the rule.
With that said, while mild sleepiness is ok, if your dog experiences any negative reactions, immediately discontinue use.
Note: Since the legalization of cannabis, poison control centers are reporting an increase of calls asking what to do because their pet ate a their nugs. Cannabis, when dispensed correctly, is beneficial for your pets, but eating a bunch of your loose weed is not.
If your dog’s side effects include severe lethargy, dilated pupils, excessive drooling, being off balance, muscle twitching, excessive vomiting, involuntary urination, or even unconsciousness, immediately take your dog to the vet.
Why do people turn to cannabis?
While cancer and arthritis are the most common symptoms cannabis is used to treat, anxiety is high on the list of reasons people want to try this alternative option on their pets. Some breeds, and many mixed breeds – specifically rescue dogs – experience tremendous anxiety. This Velcro-dog will be totally chill when its owner is around, but completely freak, destroy the house, and not stop whining when left alone.
It’s a terrible position for a new dog owner to be in, especially for those who live in an apartment complex or any other close quarters where neighbors can hear the ruckus.
While there are dog anxiety vests, like the ThunderShirt, that are effective, but not enough, and medications prescribed by the vet that will make your dog so hazy they rebel the pill, cannabis has become a turn-to option.
It works on humans, so why not our canine buds?
Why didn’t my vet react positively to this question?
Each pet, like each person, is different, so there may be specific reasons your vet does not want your animal to consume cannabis. However, a common reason vets ignore or deflate the topic is because cannabis is not legal in many places. It’s still illegal on a federal level, it’s illegal in most states at a recreational level, and it’s only medicinally recognized in about half of the states at this point.
If you think cannabis is right for your pet, do your own research and, if legal, experiment with a little to see how your pet reacts. If you like the effect, great! If not, or you think it unwise in your specific situation, we respect that opinion. You do you!
What’s the counter argument?
The American Veterinary Medical Association is staying away from support for the moment, while individual veterinarians are showing increasing support. With that said, even those who recognize that cannabis could benefit pets, want more scientific support.
In an AVMA blog post, one pro-cannabis vet, Dr. Douglas Kramer – specifically for the treatment of postoperative and chronic pain – said, “My position is the same as the AMA’s. We need to investigate marijuana further to determine whether the case reports I’m hearing are true or whether there’s a placebo effect at work. We also need to know what the risks are.”
Another more questioning vet, Dr. Dawn Boothe, followed with, “My gut reaction is they do probably provide some therapeutic effect benefit . . . but, I’m never going to say there’s enough benefit that marijuana should be given to pets. I’m saying there’s enough justification that we need to study it.”
So, what should I give my pet if I want to try cannabis?
There are numerous companies that produce cannabis products specifically for pets. Canna-Pet offers CBD-filled capsules for cats and dogs, as well as hemp doggy biscuits.
Similarly, Canna Companion also provides capsules that were developed by Washington State licensed veterinarians. These capsules are all natural, non-GMO, and do not contain wheat, corn, sugar, or soy.
Is cannabis right for your pet? Ask one of the professionals at Fire and Frost Cannabis Supply in Vancouver for their recommendation.