The science and study of cannabinoid medicine for pets is lacking. However, there are a few things to be learned from the science of cannabis and dogs and cats, even as this field of study has only just begun to emerge for years of neglect. Despite this, CBD for pets is growing tremendously in popularity.
The case for animals is similar to that of cannabis use for humans: it’s a complicated relationship. There isn’t a lot of solid, peer-reviewed research examining its safety or effectiveness. That’s slowly changing, though, and the science of cannabis and pets has recently taken a big leap forward.
The first clinical study examining the effects of hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) on arthritic dogs was published in a leading international veterinary journal. And the results were positive!
The study was led by Dr. Joseph Wakshlag of Cornell University. He and his colleagues measured the effects of a CBD product on pain and arthritis in a small sample of dogs.
More than 80% of the dogs in the study experienced significant decreases in pain and improved mobility.
Body of Evidence
While promising, one study does not mean that cannabis-based products are the best path for pet owners. Understanding the political and ethical as well as scientific implications of using cannabis and hemp products on animals is more urgent than ever, but there is a lot to unpack.
In the U.S, most veterinarians cannot prescribe or recommend cannabis products by law, regardless of their personal or professional opinion.
Even in California, one of the most forward-thinking of states regarding cannabis laws, veterinarians violate the law if they incorporate cannabis into their practices.
Here in South Africa, you can find CBD for pets readily available online, in health stores and even some pet shops. These are also readily available and don’t require input from your veterinarian. However, the same cannot be said for THC rich cannabis pet medications.
Most Research Focused on Harm
Through the early 2000’s, there were a few studies done on cannabis and dogs, all corroborating it’s mild toxicity. This is especially true for any product containing THC, so it is important to keep your own stash well out of your pet’s reach.
Many pet owners are curious as to how cannabis-based products could be used for their ailing companions, and the market for CBD based dog and cat products is booming. However changing the view of medical professionals and assessing the safety of these treatments safely is slow, hard work, and will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.
There is one noteworthy outcome of these studies with cannabis and pets. Animals seem to tolerate CBD well, but not THC. We’ve heard stories of dogs eating their owners pot brownies and being incredibly high for days. As you can imagine, a human dose of HC will get your pet quite high. THC does also seem to have an element of toxicity to it in pets. So rather stick to CBD for your furry friends.