In 30 states now, medical cannabis is legal for patients needing relief from a myriad of health issues. You can get medical marijuana delivery Santa Monica with ease. In fact, California weed delivery is big business these days. Now, as science continues to discover the benefits of weed, veterinarians and pet owners alike are finding that dogs can benefit from medical cannabis, as well, and they are buying it in droves.
Regardless of whether your dog has chronic pain, seizures, cancer, anxiety, or another medical condition, cannabis oil promises an alternative medicine to treat his or her symptoms. Science proves it safe, effective, and without any of the side effects associated with some of the conventional drugs used to treat medical issues in dogs. If you considering cannabis oil for your dog, this is all you need to know:
Understanding Cannabis Oil
Extracted from marijuana plants, cannabis oil comes in liquid form. According to Dr. Tim Shu, found and CEO of VETCBD, a California-based pot company specializing in pet products, CO2 extraction is but one of many ways to extract the oil from the plant. “The marijuana flower contains trichomes,” he explains, “which are glands that have essential oils.”
After separating these glands from the plant, it is possible for manufacturers to formulate them into concentrations of cannabinoids and find the ideal ratio between them. There are more than 100 cannabinoids in marijuana plants, the two most of famous of which are tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD. THC is the psychoactive compound that gets users “high.” CBD is not.
“When you use cannabinoids together,” Shu says, “it is more effective than separately.” Scientists call this whole-plant approach the “entourage effect,” and it is exclusive to cannabis plants. On their own, hemp plants contain the lowest amount of THC, less than .03 percent. This makes hemp the ideal derivative for making products that cannot get you “high.”
Dr. Gary Richter, who is both owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California, explains that cannabis oil, when dosed properly, has no psychoactive effect on dogs. Hemp oil, for example, is ideal for pets for this reason. “Depending on the nature of the product,” Richter says, “if it contains little or no THC, then the dog is not going to get high.”
How Can Dogs Benefit from Cannabis Oil?
Cannabis oil effectively treats the symptoms of most modern illnesses in humans. The same is true in dogs. Science proves it an efficient solution for treating nausea, seizures, chronic pain, anxiety, arthritis, muscular disorders, back pain, side effects of cancer, cancer itself, even gastrointestinal issues in dogs, among much, much more.
As the concentrated cannabinoids in the oil interact with the endocannabinoid system, Shu explains how they provide dogs with immense relief. He says, “It is a series of receptors that run throughout the body. The cannabinoids interact with the receptors in the body and modulate things like pain, anxiety, and nausea.” In English, they support the endocannabinoid system to effect relief throughout the body.
Unlike most conventional prescription drugs for dogs, medical marijuana has no side effects with the correct dosage. It is non-lethal and does not cause lasting damage to organs and systems. It is completely safe, as Shu points out, “It does not damage the kidney, liver, or gastrointestinal tract. The dogs are not high or sedated.”
Are There Risks Giving Cannabis Oil to Dogs?
As with any medication, too much can cause complications for dogs. According to Richter, “The most significant is THC toxicity, meaning, essentially, they are high. Depending on how significantly a pet has been overdosed, the effects of that can be quite long-lasting, even days.” THC itself is safe, but since dogs to not understand being “high,” it can cause them to panic and injure themselves.
During a THC episode, Dr. Richter says that dogs may have difficulty standing or eating. They may seem scared and display anxious behaviors. If you suspect a THC overdose, then it is advisable to take your dog immediately to your veterinarian. However, as Richter points out, life-threatening risks for dogs are “exceedingly rare.”
Toxicity becomes dangerous when dogs eat cannabis products that contain raisins, coffee, or chocolate. “Even if the toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients.” Having said that, Dr. Jennifer Coates, veterinary advisor for petMD, warns that ingesting excessive amounts of pot has been fatal in dogs before, so preventing overdoses remains important.
Owner and acupuncturist at the Holistic Animal Clinic in San Rafael, California, Graham Quigley, does have concerns that, as popularity for alternative medicines continues to rise, pet owners may fall for “overly ambitious claims about cannabis oil” from unreliable sources. Quigley reminds us all and stress that marijuana oil is not a “cure-all” solution. It only offers relief from symptoms.
How Do You Give Cannabis Oil to Dogs?
Although topical pot products are available for dogs, the vast majority of people administer CBD oil to their dogs orally. Always discuss CBD treatment with your veterinarian before giving it your dog, but it is compatible with most traditional treatments and medications. Emerging science shows there may be “synergistic benefits” between CBD and conventional therapies.
As Dr. Richter says, “There are few, if any, known significant drug interactions that you really need to be concerned about.” Again, the importance of dosing correctly cannot be overstated. He explains, “As is the case with any medication, success has everything to do with dosing. If you dose pets properly, then they are going to get the positive effect that you are looking for, just without the psychoactive effects.”
However, this is where it gets tricky: The data required to establish the correct dose of CBD oil for dogs is not yet complete. As Coates noted, and as if matters are not confusing enough, FDA testing indicates that many CBD products contain little to no CBD at all. For pet owners, the best choice is to discuss treatment with a veterinarian experienced in CBD therapy. He or she can advise dosages and recommend reputable suppliers.
Finding a trusted CBD oil depends on where you live, as well as the laws in your state. “In California, to legally purchase marijuana, you must have a medical cannabis card, which a person would get from their doctor,” Richter explains. “There is no legal mechanism by which I, as a veterinarian, can provide a medical cannabis card for a pet.”
Dog owners wanting to give CBD oil to their dogs should discuss it at length with their veterinarians. Those with an existing medical cannabis card can then get what they need from a reliable dispensary to treat their dog’s ailments. However, if you cannot get a card or live in a state that does not permit it, then consider hemp CBD oils. These are easier to get, since they contain little to no THC.