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Wednesday March 13, 2019

By Abby Hutmacher


There is no secret about the benefit of cannabinoids for pets. Articles, online forums, even whole companies have touted the benefits of CBD products for pets – from pain management to anxiety relief, reduced joint inflammation or even a treatment for cancer! But if you ask your veterinarian about administering cannabis products to your pet, you’ll get a different story.

CBD, Vets and Pets

Don’t get us wrong; it’s not that vets don’t want to discuss cannabis with you, they just can’t. In fact, with the exception of Colorado, it’s illegal for veterinarians to discuss – let alone prescribe – cannabis for pets. This includes other legal marijuana states unless they explicitly grant veterinarians the right to do so in their cannabis framework (hint: this doesn’t happen often).

The restrictive nature surrounding vets and cannabis has put many veterinarians in a terrible catch 22: risk losing their veterinary license for recommending pot products or watch their clients risk misinformation from the internet and general public. Considering the average veterinarian spends around $200,000 and eight years of their lives going to school for their profession, it’s unlikely you’ll find one willing to risk it in your neck of the woods just yet.

Dog at Vet
In terms of CBD and cannabis, vets are on a slippery slope in most states. photo credit

Perhaps the biggest risk is to the pets themselves who may not be consuming the best products for their health. For example, while CBD can relieve anxiety, pain, nausea, and so on, products that contain THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid (the one that gets you high) can be toxic to pets. There have been two reported cases of fatal canine THC toxicity in Colorado while many other veterinarians report an uptick in THC poisoning in 420-friendly states. That doesn’t even take into account other food items that people (and edible companies) enjoy that can be toxic to dogs so always be careful how you stash your stash!

In case your pet does get into your cannabis stash, click here to learn what to do.

It's also important to note that not all pot-for-pet products are created equal. Though there are many products on the market that provide a wide range cannabinoids beneficial to pets, there are more that do not. Hemp products, for example, are often imported which means they come with fewer regulations on purity and contents, and must arrive in a “ready-to-use” format (oils, fibers, cosmetics, for example) which reduces processing and testing in the states. This has led to an influx of underregulated products marketed as supplements for pets who can’t voice their opinion on the product or its efficiency in the first place.

When it comes to ingesting less-than-superior products, many veterinarians are helpless to do anything about it until it’s too late. They can treat cannabinoid poisoning (usually by offering the pet charcoal to induce vomiting and a comfy place to stay where they can monitor them until the spell subsides), but cannot offer advice on what products to use or how to choose the best cannabis products for pets. Don’t worry though, PotGuide can help!

How to Choose CBD Products for Pets

Though the FDA works hard to ensure products on the American market remain compliant (and regularly issue warning letters to companies in violation), the speed at which new cannabis companies and products are being born can make it difficult to stay on top of things. Fortunately, you can protect yourself and your pets from unsavory hemp and CBD products.

Make sure you're only giving your pets the best CBD products available. photo credit

You can find a reputable distributor by doing a web search for “CBD products,” “CBD hemp oil” or some variation thereof and taking note of the companies that pop up. Do they offer an in-depth background on their product and processing method? Do they take special pride in their extraction method, cultivation practices, or list of product ingredients or do they gloss over the details as if they are unimportant?

Also, do they have a review section on Amazon, their website, or social media pages? Companies will always try to flaunt their best features, but reviewers will also air their gripes including product effectiveness, company responsiveness, and so on. You can also ask friends and local experts about products they’ve tried. Try to find products that are locally grown, regularly tested for potency and contaminants, and use only the best ingredients to extract and process their products.

The Future of Veterinary Cannabis and CBD

Though research is young, the future is bright for pet patients. California recently approved a bill which allows veterinary professionals to discuss cannabis therapy for pets. This should help demonstrate the clear potential a widespread push for more research could offer the veterinary community. The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in Sacramento is pioneering the way toward canine cannabis research by encouraging pet owners to submit a voluntary survey regarding their pets’ cannabis use. Visit the UC Davis website to learn more and participate in the survey.

Our pets look to us for comfort and protection, and it’s natural to want to help them using products that we know help us. But cannabis for pets is not the same as it is for people, and the products that you choose for them can have a major impact on their health, for the better or the worst. Before dosing your furry friend with pot products, consider how it might affect them first.

Have you given your pet any CBD or cannabis products? Share your experiences below!

Photo Credit: Austin Community College (license)


Abby Hutmacher Abby Hutmacher

Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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