Your Furry Friends and Cannabis

Dog Sitting in Grass

California approved a bill that legalized the sale of cannabis to pets!  In the past, vets in the state had to break the law to recommend Cannabis for our furry friends.
So what exactly does cannabis do to and for pets that vets were willing to risk legal repercussions for suggesting? 

What kind of Cannabis should I give my pets?

All animals have an endocannabinoid system. Phytocannabinoids like CBD and THC interact with our endocannabinoid receptors and other receptors in the body to produce a myriad of different effects, ranging from anticonvulsant properties to anti-inflammatory or even anti-bacterial benefits. Cannabis has been studied for its anti-seizure, epilepsy, and pain purposes and its preventative health uses because of the high amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 in hemp.

That said, most pets (dogs, cats, etc.) have incredibly sensitive cannabinoid receptors and may react strongly to even the smallest amounts of THC. Therefore, THC is not recommended. CBD is a very popular choice for vets to recommend, though, since it is THC free, non-psychoactive, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. Another non-psychoactive cannabinoid that’s gaining popularity for its anti-inflammatory properties is CBG. CBG works as an anti-inflammatory and even antibacterial compound that is generally non-impairing, but in humans, it may cause light-headedness at larger doses.

Choosing the right Cannabis Product 

So, you have decided to try out cannabis for your pet, but walking into any pet store, there will undoubtedly be many options; how do you know which one is right for your family?  

When choosing, it’s easier to navigate all of the options when you have an awareness of labeling, lab results, and choosing the right strength. There’s a major difference between full spectrum, broad spectrum, and hemp seed oil products.

Full Spectrum means that the product contains a naturally occurring amount of Delta-9 THC. This THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid that generally impairs humans when they consume cannabis. 

Broad Spectrum products do not include any THC and are much less likely to be impairing or psychoactive for your furbabies. It’s always best to start by giving your pets the lowest doses possible of CBD or CBG broad-spectrum products and working your way up with them in a consistent regimen to gauge what dose is best for them. 

Hemp Seed Oil contrary to what the name may imply, hemp seed oil usually does not contain any significant amount of cannabinoids and should not be confused with CBD oil. Though devoid of cannabinoids, this oil makes up for that in other ways and uses. Hemp seed oil is made from hot or cold-pressed hemp seeds and is incredibly rich in nutrients. Hemp seed oil is high in Iron, Vitamin E, Manganese, Magnesium, B vitamins, Zinc, and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Both humans and animals can benefit from such a diverse range of nutrients, and it’s encouraged to incorporate hemp seeds and hemp seed oil into any cannabinoid regimen as these seeds have the building blocks of the powerful flowering plant we consume already- cannabis. 

How much CBD should I give my pets?

Giving your pets just the right amount of CBD can be daunting because most people aren’t sure where to start, or they assume the same dosing for humans goes for canines and felines. A few different sources online can agree that dosing as low as 0.2-0.5mg of CBD per pound is a safe and effective starting point for both cats and dogs. So for a 25lb dog, that would be roughly 5mg-10mg of CBD per dose and scaled either up or down depending on the size of your fluffy friend. Since dogs and cats have much more sensitive endocannabinoid systems than humans, it’s best to only dose their CBD or CBG once or twice per day and always with food to ensure the least amount of discomfort or upset their stomachs at all (in rare occasions). If you find that the CBD or CBG that you’re giving your pets isn’t working for the intended purpose or it’s causing some unwanted side effects like anxiety or agitation, discontinue use and consult your vet for more information on how best to take care of your pet. CBD and cannabis treatment for pets may be legal in California now. However, for the rest of the country, we are still restricted by suppressive and archaic laws, so always approach treating your pets holistically with an ere of caution and always use safe, lab-tested products just as you would consume yourself. 

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