Is Your Pet on Pot? | Maybe it should be.
“Max is a great dog. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. The poor guy has got aches and pains that make it tough for him to get up and move around. I just hate to see him in any pain…
I’ve tried prescription medications, but all they seem to do is make him sleep all day.
Help, what can I do?“
Many dogs and cats suffer from nervousness, joint pain, stiffness, and poor appetite – especially as they get older. Your veterinarian does have medications that Fido and Buttons can try. Americans spend billions of dollars each year on veterinarian services for their ailing pets. Unfortunately, all too often these medications are costly, prove ineffectual and come with a host of unpleasant side-effects.
Pet lovers are looking to natural remedies and nutritional supplements as an alternative to harsh pharmaceuticals. For chronic pet problems like pain, joint inflammation and poor appetite, marijuana seems like a natural alternative. Using marijuana as a medicine is nothing new for conditions like these. The Cannabis plant, derived originally from Central Asia, has been widely used for a variety of medicinal purposes for many, many thousands of years. However, things get a bit more prickly when it comes to treating your pet, responsibly, with marijuana.
Cannabis contains a cornucopia of powerful, biologically active phytochemicals, including cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, and THCV (and others), as well as potent terpenes and flavonoids. Perhaps, that’s a little much to throw at your little Puddles, just because he tinkles when he gets stressed?
So, Should Mr. Bentley try Pot or not?
If you think your pet has accidentally ingested marijuana – you should call the Pet Poison Helpline (or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435), or immediately seek a veterinarian’s medical opinion.
*According to the ASPCA’s animal poison directory, marijuana is considered toxic to cats, dogs and horses. The clinical signs of serious marijuana ingestion are prolonged depression, vomiting, poor coordination, excessive salivating and even coma and death are possible (in rare instances).
The culprit here is THC
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has very potent physiological and psychological effects, especially on our furry little friends. And today’s marijuana contains high concentrations of THC (compared to decades past), which makes it even more dangerous for your pet to consume.
Cannabidiol (CBD) to the Rescue
The good news is that there is another key constituent of medical cannabis, that may prove to not only be highly effective, but also produce little to no side-effects.
CBD is the key constituent in most (if not all) cannabis based pet products.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a key cannabinoid found in both marijuana and hemp. It’s healing properties are still being researched, but from all accounts, CBD appears to be safe and effective in treating and ameliorating a variety of medical conditions.
A few of the medical conditions where CBD may be able to help:
|Irritable Bowel Syndrome||Inflammation|
|Diabetes||Nausea and Weight Loss|
Will my pet get stoned from CBD?
No, your pet won’t get high from cannabidiol (CBD). Whether CBD is sourced from marijuana or hemp plants, it is the same powerful nutraceutical. What is important to note, is what else your pet is getting with their CBD. A limited amount of THC is okay, but you want to stay with products containing less than 0.5% by weight THC. That’s a minute amount of THC, and not enough to effect your animal negatively.
The Food and Drug Administration does not (yet) approve of medical marijuana for pets or for people. The government’s position hasn’t stopped 29 states from enacting their own laws and creating legal markets for medical marijuana. Unfortunately, the American Veterinarian Medical Foundation(AVMF) and veterinarians in general – are a bit slow on the uptake.
Veterinarians are currently prohibited from prescribing marijuana and most are wary of discussing the idea at all.
Despite FDA and federal opposition, the market for CBD extract from marijuana and hemp is projected to exceed $2 Billion by 2020.
A Few CBD Producers To Consider
This list is not intended as an endorsement by the CBD Medical Journal. I have not yet had the opportunity to try any of these seemingly terrific CBD formulations on my own pet. That’s likely to change in the near future, as my Toy Fox Terrier puppy is having difficulties of his own and I suspect CBD could help.
One thing worth mentioning up front, is that some CBD products are actually covered by major pet insurers, such as Petplan and Trupanion (proper policy riders and vet recommendation required).
One other item also worth noting, is that none of these manufacturers state in detail what type of testing they perform on their CBD product. One brand actually lists on their website, that they do not test for pesticides, herbicides or heavy metals. Seems a bit lame to me.
Not testing may be the current de facto industry standard, but in my opinion it is a standard that is far too low. Any quality standard that does not include final product testing for pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals, is against the public interests and the sustained health and growth of the CBD pet industry itself.
My advice is for you to do your research, talk to your veterinarian, and consider whether CBD can help your pet. Despite the testing caveats, I am very optimistic as to the future of CBD for our pets.
TreatWell is a San Francisco based company that specializes in CBD based tinctures for humans and animals.
TreatWell says that it’s pet tinctures help with anxiety, arthritis, pain, hip dysplasia, inflammatory diseases such as pancreatitis, and even seizures.
Canna-Pet is well established CBD manufacturer specializing in dog and cat formulations. Canna-Pet sells Maple Bacon flavored CBD biscuits for dogs, as well as more traditional capsules, and tinctures for dogs and cats.
What I especially like about Canna-Pet is their attention to, and use of, the “entourage effect” in formulating their products. The “entourage effect” takes into account the effects of other cannabinoids (and terpenes) present in marijuana and hemp – aside from CBD. The entourage effect is incredibly important in determining how the final CBD product will effect your pet and I was very pleased to see Canna-Pet pay so much attention to this evolving area of study.
Watch this 99 second video by CNN and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as he explains the “entourage effect” and the potential value of whole plant based CBD nutraceuticals.
Unfortunately, Canna-Pet does not indicate if they test their products for pesticides, herbicides or heavy metals. Canna-Pet is recognized by some pet insurers, such as Trupanion and Petplan (consult your policy for details).
Another CBD manufacturer is Canna Companion. My concern with Canna Companion is that, according to their own website, they do not test their products for pesticides, herbicides or heavy metals. I find this lack of thorough testing troubling, but all too common in the current CBD marketplace.
Canna Companion is also recognized by some pet insurers, such as Trupanion and Petplan (consult your policy for details).
VetCBD is a veterinarian formulated CBD oil that contains no sugar, alcohol or solvents. It is administered via a needless syringe, which sounds much more difficult than it actually is. Just apply the oil to your pet’s mouth or food and you are set.
VetCBD could be a bit trickier to get a hold of than some of the other CBD formulations listed. It is only sold through medical marijuana dispensaries in California. They do not ship and their product is not available elsewhere in the U.S. at this time. See the website for dispensary locations. If your pooch has a serious condition that you and your veterinarian think requires medical CBD, this formulation might be just what you need.
HPgenix is another potential resource for CBD for your dog. It’s made from Hemp produced within the U.S. and comes in our pouch filled with soft CBD chews.
One item that JUMPS OUT AT ME is that HP Genix Pet CBD Oil is made using Critical CO2 Extraction, and not with solvents such as butane (which is cheaper and more common). I am a big fan of super-critical and sub-critical CO2 extraction methods. They are super clean and leave behind no chemical residue that could harm your pet.
Please note: This article is not intended as legal, medical or veterinary advice. Please consult a veterinarian before giving any supplements or medications to your pet.