Although somewhat controversial, there’s no denying that medical marijuana can do wonders when it comes to aiding several illnesses. It has proven to be beneficial not only for us but for our pets too.
For other pet owners, conventional medicine doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s usually more expensive and the side effects aren’t worth it. Some have come to a natural and safer remedy that is medical marijuana. It can help when pets get depressed or have anxiety. It can also be a solution in treating epilepsy, chronic pain, and arthritis in our pets.
All About Medical Marijuana, Its Legality, and Methods of Use
First things first, what are hemps and marijuana? Aren’t they the same? Well, both belong to the same plant species which is cannabis sativa.
Hemp is generally used in dietary supplements, skin products, clothing, as well as accessories. It is high in fiber and CBD but low in THC. On the other hand – marijuana, which is usually used for recreational purposes, has high THC content.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component that causes a ‘high’ or the feeling of euphoria. Meanwhile, CBD (cannabidiol) doesn’t get you ‘high’ or stoned but it reduces anxiety, pain, and inflammation.
How can our pets process weed then? Humans and most animals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which are receptors found throughout the entire body.
Under it are two kinds of receptors which are CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the nervous system. THC component binds primarily to these receptors. Dogs have more CB1 receptors compared to us and other animals. This makes them more sensitive to THC.
On the other hand, CB2 receptors are in peripheral organs and immune cells.
Cannabinoids interact and communicate with the ECS receptors. This keeps the body in homeostasis – the ability of the body to maintain a stable equilibrium in spite of changes.
Given all these information, there’s some good news and bad news that affect how we can use medical marijuana when it comes to our pets.
Good news: Products made with less than 0.3% THC are legal in all 50 states. Bad news: Veterinarians don’t have the authority to prescribe it. Although at least 30 U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana, none of them make provisions when it comes to treating animals.
You might think that maybe you can just puff some to your pet the next time you enjoy one. Problem solved, right?
First of all, it is not safe for your pets to inhale second-hand marijuana smoke. Even though it can rarely
result in intoxication (except when there’s a huge amount inhaled), the smoke can irritate their lungs.
Always remember that they have a more sensitive respiratory system compared to humans.
There are other ways to administer medical marijuana to your pets. Some companies are making treats, capsules, liquid formulations, oils, tinctures, and topical creams that are made using cannabis extract. You can use these methods instead.
Pets can’t resist food so you can never go wrong with edibles. However, it is not safe for pets to ingest human-grade marijuana so be careful when leaving your brownies and cookies where your pets can easily get them.
- Tincture (Oils)
Your pet’s oral mucous membrane is where cannabinoids are best absorbed. If you want your pet to get faster relief from whatever is ailing them, it is best to use tinctures or oil-based products since it also has the best absorption rate.
Tinctures are usually administered on your pet’s tongue. These oils are highly concentrated and have a bitter taste so don’t be surprised if your pets don’t exactly enjoy it.
Medical marijuana can also help if your pet is suffering from skin problems and allergies. Topicals that contains CBD such as special shampoos, conditioners, rinses, creams, and sprays can help reduce symptoms of allergies and dermatitis. This can also help relieve skin dryness and itching.
Of course, make sure to double check the components of the product before administering any of the methods above. Always follow the dosing instructions that came with the product that you bought. This can vary depending on your pet’s size or kind of ailment. Also, monitor your pets for any reactions and adjust the dosage as needed.
You can check out some of the companies below that offer products with medical marijuana components for your pets.
- Canna-companion: more on capsules and hemp oils for cats and dogs
- Canna-Pet: they offer hemp products such as liquids, capsules, and treats that are available worldwide
- Therabis: mostly products for dogs that can treat skin issues, joint mobility, and anxiety
- Treatibles: Flavored CBD treats, hemp oils, and capsules for different kinds of animals
- Treatwell: Offers tinctures made with organically grown cannabis. It also uses all natural ingredients that are GMO-free