Previous surveys and studies of cannabis use in pets have shown that owners have also tried using cannabis-based treatments to manage separation anxiety, noise phobia, irritable bowel syndrome, lack of appetite in their animals. Dog owners reported that hemp products were most effective in treating pain and helping their pet sleep, according to a report published last year in the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. The most common side effects cited were sedation and an overactive appetite. Turns out even dogs get the munchies.
Cannabinoids are best absorbed through a pet’s oral mucus membrane, Silver added, so medicating is as simple as spreading the tincture on your pet’s tongue.
“In my experience, I found that using hemp-based cannabinoids, which are very low in THC, can cover almost all the bases as far as applications,” he said. “That’s where I always start.”
4. Pets Have Anxiety, Arthritis, and Cancer, Too
Depending on your location, cannabis products can be hard to come by. Luckily, hemp-based treatments are available in all 50 states and can provide some of the same relief. Hemp products are high in CBD, a cannabis compound that has lauded medical uses but doesn’t cause the psychoactive high that comes with THC.
That’s why Dr. Greg Richter, a veterinarian in California, and Dr. Rob Silver, a holistic vet and pet herbalist in Colorado, have working in home states and beyond to educate pet owners and legislators on the benefits of treating pets with cannabis. Silver has even published a book, Medical Marijuana & Your Pet: The Definitive Guide, which draws on his research and experience to help people determine whether cannabinoid treatment is right for your animal.
A growing number of veterinarians believe cannabidiol (CBD) products can be effective in treating an array of ailments in dogs and cats, from anxiety to a lack of appetite—but federal and state laws make it nearly impossible for them to discuss it with pet owners.
While Richter, in California, acknowledged that hemp-based products can be effective and are more widely available, he prefers to use cannabis products whenever possible in order to take advantage of the plant’s entourage effect—the synergistic results created by the hundreds of active compounds in cannabis working together. That effect disappears when you try to isolate a specific elements, he said.
She's keen to point out that there are no stoned Shih Tzus staggering around as a result.
The only side-effects she's heard of are sleepiness and increased thirst – "so you do have to make sure they have access to do their business regularly".
Spreading the word
In short, that depends on where you are and what you want.
"She is in great health for a dog her age," she says, "and I attribute that to good genes, good food and the cannabis."
"We're in over a thousand pet stores; we've got some chain stores using the product. The growth of the cannabis industry in general has really moved the needle on this."