According to petMD, dogs suffering from anxiety can benefit from the use of cannabis oil as an alternative form of medication.

“The [marijuana] flower contains trichomes, which are glands that have essential oils,” Dr. Tim Shu, Founder and CEO of a pet cannabis company commented.

Marijuana plants contain 80 different cannabinoids, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component) and CBD (cannabidiol, the medical component). Dr. Shu says that once the trichomes are separated from the plant, they can be formulated to find the ideal ratio of cannabinoids that can be used for medicinal purposes. That is where benefits come in—when cannabinoids are used together, the effects are more beneficial, otherwise known as the “entourage effect.” petMD states that emerging research suggests there can be ‘synergistic benefits’ between marijuana and traditional medications.

“There are few, if any, known significant drug interactions that you really need to be concerned about,” Dr. Gary Richter, Owner and Medical Director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital, stated. “If you dose pets properly, then they are going to get the positive effect that you’re looking for while not having any psychoactive side effects.”

CBD oil is sometimes a better pain medicine alternative for dogs because it has no life-threatening side effects with proper dosage. Dr. Shu pointed out that, “It doesn’t damage the kidney, liver, or GI tract. The dogs aren’t high or sedated.”

Cannabis oil is usually provided orally for dogs and can be used with traditional medications and treatments, provided that a veterinarian has signed off on it. Pet owners should still remember to consult a veterinarian on how to properly care for their furry friends. Owners should remember that overdosing can lead to potential risks, just as it would for us humans, and that cannabis oil is not a ‘cure-all’ form of treatment. Dr. Jennifer Coates, a Veterinary Advisor with petMD, warns that overdosing could lead to fatal outcomes, although it’s still a rare occurrence.

“The most significant is THC toxicity, meaning, essentially, they are high,” Richter claimed in agreement. “Depending on how significantly a pet has been overdosed, the effects of that can be quite long-lasting, even days.” Pet owners should also remember that sometimes our dogs can have problems due to other ingredients used within the product.

That being said, more research is needed to determine the proper dosage of CBD oil for dogs. Dr. Coates emphasizes that the best course of action is that all pet parents consult a veterinarian who has experience with pets being treated with cannabis oil about proper dosage and reputable manufacturers. Depending on where you live, it may be easier for some.

“In California, to legally purchase marijuana, you must have a medical cannabis card, which a person would get from their doctor,” Dr. Richter said. “There is no legal mechanism by which I, as a veterinarian, can provide a medical cannabis card for a pet.”

Pet parents who want to give their dog cannabis oil should speak to their veterinarian. From there, pet parents who have a medical marijuana card can visit a reputable dispensary and purchase the product that best meets their pet’s needs. Alternatively, hemp products, which contain lower doses of THC, could be considered instead.

The Information is for educational purposes only. It is presented in summary form. The Information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease, nor is it a substitute for professional care. Should you have any health-care related questions or suspect you have a health problem, you should consult your health-care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.