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Cannabis for pets: a hot topic

Marijuana legalization has made a consumption of cannabis products quite conventional. People use it for medical needs or simply to get elevated. It brings comfort to sufferers and attracts millions of recreational users. Marijuana has influenced almost all spheres of human lives: it is used in edibles, topicals and medical products not even mentioning various smoking and vaping opportunities.

The time has come when cannabis has ceased to be only a human treat. Dispensaries now provide a range of products created especially for pets. Even despite their obvious advantages, they are still the subject of hot debates. Why should one be extremely cautious with marijuana for pets and how to get therapeutic benefits without exposing your pet friend to danger? Find answers in the article.

Marijuana as a pet treatment

Before mentioning the potential benefits of using cannabis for pets, it is vitally important to note that pet products are totally different from the ones that are designed for humans. Treats that are healthy and safe-to-use for people, can be deadly for animals. That is why it is necessary to restrict access to human marijuana by storing it in tight containers far from the pet`s reach.

Pet cannabis products are all created on the basis of cannabidiol (CBD) — one of the most recognizable cannabinoids found in marijuana plant. The last year was claimed «a year of cannabidiol» because of the extreme popularity of cannabis products on its basis. One of the main benefits of CBD in comparison with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is that it does not provide psychoactive effects in both humans and animals. At the same time, it has unique therapeutic properties that get doubled if cannabinoids work in synergywith the plant terpene component.

Why use CBD treatment instead of THC if it comes to animals? It is explained by the fact that pets, especially dogs, have more brain cannabinoid receptors than humans do. In the other words, they are over-sensitive to all biologically active compounds that interact with their bodies. As a result, they are more susceptible to toxic effects and they can easily overdose on marijuana with the most severe negative consequences. THC is much more brain stimulating, so even the small doses of it frequently appear to be lethal for animals.

Benefits of CBD pet treatment

The only case when marijuana treatment is recommended for your pet is when he has certain medical indications. To understand what conditions can be treated by CBD-based pet medicine, check the list:

Pain (both temporary and chronic)

Cannabidiol has a potential to bind to animal cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2 that are located in the central and peripheral nervous systems of the body. Binding to the receptors this way does not help to treat health problems but temporarily alleviates pain that is accompanying many chronic diseases like cancer, osteoarthritis, etc. Moreover, a study proves that cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling, which results in reduced pain sensations.


Cannabidiol is long and successfully used as the anti-inflammatory treatment for humans. Despite the lack of a scientific basis on the subject of CBD anti-inflammatory efficacy for pets, there are no grounds to suppose this cannabinoid works differently with humans and animals.


The calming effect of CBD medicine is well studied and successfully implemented in pet-directed products. It is useful if a dog (or any other pet) demonstrates permanent chewing, barking, aggression or any other symptoms of being over-anxious. One of the popular applications of CBD god medicine is to mitigate separation anxiety.


Some diseases result in severe nausea conditions when it is necessary to use the anti-nausea and anti-vomiting medicine. A good alternative to common antiemetic medication is the CBD treatment. According to a study, this cannabinoid has significant antiemetic effect enough to treat the negative consequences of nausea and improve the pet overall condition. One of the notable side consequences of such treatment is also the appetite stimulation.

Risks and hazards

Even in spite of numerous therapeutic advantages brought to pets by the controlled CBD use, there is a dark side of using marijuana for pets — intoxication. It is usually caused by THC-containing cannabis products that were accidentally consumed by a pet. The most frequent ways animals get intoxicated are the following:

  • chewing a plant marijuana flower;

  • ingesting edibles designed for humans;

  • inhaling a secondhand smoke.

The main problem is always the carelessness of the owner. Dogs get intoxicated much more often than cats because the latter are less attracted to cannabis sweets or dried buds. Anyway, the cases of cats poisoning are not too rare.

Look through the consequences of cannabis intoxication in pets to evaluate the significance of the problem:

  • lethal outcome;

  • respiratory problems;

  • disrupted heart rhythms;

  • coordination loss (like walking drunk);

  • lowered blood pressure;

  • depression;

  • involuntary urinations.

To avoid these hazards, it is important to remember than all marijuana products, which make people high, are poisonous for the pets. A consumption of THC-infused edibles or THC smoke is frequently accidental, so it is necessary to take safety precautions: to keep cannabis products and marijuana flowers out of reach and not to smoke or vape cannabis in animals` presence.

Proper dosage

If you have determined that your pet requires a special CBD treatment, it is recommended to consult a vet to calculate the required dosage of cannabis components.

Otherwise, you can use the information on the label to make your own calculations. The danger of overdose highlights the necessity to be overcautious with determining the proper dosage. Be attentive: the label defines how much cannabidiol there is per bottle, not per one dose. If you use tinctures, you can check how many drops should be given at a time.

Pay attention to the fact that market CBD oils and tinctures are designed for a specific animal, and a dosage recommendations are grounded on presumable weight. That is why there are different tinctures for large and small dogs.

How to choose best marijuana treatment for pets

Modern cannabis market is full of pet products: tinctures, treats, pet topicals. How to select the product that suits your needs best and provides the maximum efficiency with minimum side effects? Check the following recommendations:

Look for a certificate of analysis

The presence of this certificate proves that the cannabis product was lab tested and approved for pets. Without this approval, you can never be sure that it will not result in unexpected side effects, intoxication and pet poisoning. Moreover, the certificate will provide you with information regarding the presence of pesticides, bacteria or other pathogenic flora.

Check the cannabinoid profile

Most products for pets are CBD based, though some use a combination of CBD and THC, which is especially effective for painkilling. Note that the safe amount of THC is no more than 0.3%.

Read the labels

Make sure that all the used ingredients are organic and there are no artificial taste modifiers, odorants etc.

Define the problem

Different types of cannabis-based medicine for pets treats different problems. The first step is to clearly identify the problem, which frequently requires the help of the veterinarian. For example, if your pet is dealing with a pain, it is necessary to understand its source; body inflammation will require totally different approach from a wound treatment.


Cannabis-based products for pets have a proven potential to treat numerous health problems. However, due to the increased toxicity and risk of hazardous consequences, they have to be treated with caution and applied only when there is a medical need.

While people consume marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, animals` use must be restricted only to the first one. Pets have no recreational needs, and trying to treat your dog with a natural cannabis delicacy might result in highly unfavorable health consequences for the dog and a stress for its owner.