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Despite the widespread use of medical marijuana and cannabis in many countries apart from the U.S, there’s still a lot of confusion and uncertainty surrounding it, even more so when you’re considering cannabis to treat conditions in pets like dogs.

Topics such as safety, legal issues, research are still clouded in ambiguity, and many pet owners do not know where to turn for advice. Fortunately, this post covers these topics and clarifies the dilemma of substituting cannabis-derived products such as CBD for pet treatments at home.

Using Cannabis As Medical Substitute for Pets

To address the elephant in the room, the answer to this is simple. Administering products such as CBD oil or edibles to your pet at home can never fully substitute the veterinarian’s advice, knowledge, and medical treatment because the health of your pet hinges on regular visits to your vet.

However, in chronic non-life-threatening situations such as arthritis or anxiety, you can try CBD products from your local dispensary or thc store and see how your pet responds. Then you can think about turning to traditional medication.

One advantage of a natural remedy such as CBD for pets is that it works well with traditional medications. Therefore, your pet can receive the best of both worlds. But first, you have to understand the ways cannabis can affect your pet.

How Cannabis Affects Your Pet

Like humans, pets such as dogs also possess cannabinoid receptors. These receptors belong to the endocannabinoid system of your pet’s body and help maintain internal regulation of functions such as:

  • Metabolism
  • Appetite
  • Coordination
  • Movement
  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Sleep
  • Immune system response
  • Pleasure

There are many naturally occurring cannabinoids in cannabis. However, CBD is vital in treating several conditions in both humans and pets because it has a similar molecular structure as endocannabinoids. 

Therefore, upon introduction into your pet’s bloodstream, it combines with specific cannabinoid receptors and assists them in maintaining the optimal balance in many of the previously mentioned functions.

Though research on the interactions of naturally occurring compounds such as CBD with the endocannabinoid system is far from over, many studies have established some level of certainty on the subject.

Current Research On Pet CBD Use

Despite the gradual legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana for humans, most veterinarians still find themselves in a difficult position if they should offer sound and research-backed advice to clients asking about cannabis for pets.

According to the Colorado State University’s Professor and Hospital Director, Dr. Tim Hacket, there is still a lot of research that has to be done on the subject of medical cannabis as an alternative treatment for pets like dogs. This has been due to the previous years’ rigid legal barriers, though this is gradually changing since new statutes in several states presently allow academic research.

In 2016, CSU surveyed pet owners and discovered that more than 64% of dog owners reported finding hemp products helpful for pets’ treatment. Despite the anecdotal evidence offered by the survey, there’s still the need for scientifically-controlled research.

Simply put, cannabis may be effective for pet treatment, but veterinary science is still uncertain.

Other universities like the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine have begun clinical trials in partnership with Therabis.

The Legal Rules And Regulations

As far as cannabis and CBD products go, you must know what the law in your state says before you proceed to make a purchase. This is because each state has its unique rules governing the production and use of medicinal marijuana and products derived from cannabis.

Thus, you’re likely to find different views on CBD usage for pets in the field of veterinary medicine, depending on your location. At present, the California state legislature is deliberating a new bill that will permit vets to discuss the use of medical cannabis for pet treatment with owners.

This bill is the first of it’s kind. Therefore, other states have no laws that allow this kind of discussion between pet owners and vets. As a result, don’t be surprised if you find your vet reluctant to discuss the subject of CBD for your pets.

Nevertheless, the purchase and sales of hemp-derived products such as CBD edibles and oils for dogs and cats can be legal, depending on your state’s laws.

Uses of CBD For Dogs

Dr. Patrick Mahaney, CVA, VMD, CVJ, owner of the California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness located in Los Angeles, believes that cannabis has several therapeutic effects on pets. Some of the varieties of health conditions it can treat include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Behavior problems
  • Kidney and liver diseases
  • Digestive tract upset
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain management
  • Separation anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Noise phobias
  • Seizures and other nervous system-related disorders


The manufacturers that offer CBD products such as edibles and tinctures for pets continue to increase. Pet owners can find reliable information such as specific ingredients, testing policies, dosage, and consumer stories on their websites for reference. Always remember to do your research before administering medical cannabis to your pet and visit your vet regularly.


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