Attitudes are changing about cannabis. Along with the potential therapeutic benefits for humans, researchers are also finding that cannabis can be beneficial for dogs. The active compounds in the plant are proving to be a promising treatment for pain associated with certain types of canine arthritis.
Research has been primarily focused on the use of CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. CBD oil, in particular, is being used to treat a variety of ailments in dogs, including stress, nausea, anxiety, seizures, arthritis, cancer symptoms, back pain and gastrointestinal issues.
Many dog owners are naturally apprehensive about giving their dogs CBD, but experts reassure that pure CBD oil does not contain THC, the compound that gives users a “high.”
“Phytocannabinoid Oil does not contain THC, the chemical in some marijuana that causes the ‘high’ sensation,” says Innovetpet, a company that sells CBD oil for pets. “It’s non-psychoactive, and is safe for dogs and cats alike.” Innovetpet’s oil is sourced from Germany and UK, and is formulated specifically for pets.
Humans and other mammals have cannabinoid receptors in the brain, central nervous system and peripheral organs. These receptors are known as the endocannabinoid system. Studies have found that cannabinoids can have anti-inflammatory effects, which help people and pets cope with pain, muscle spasms, tumors, skin conditions, seizures, aggression, anxiety and other neurological disorders.
CBD has also been tied to heart health in animals. Studies have shown that it can help with irregular heart rates, damaged blood vessels and high blood pressure associated with anxiety and stress. It may also protect the blood vessels from damage.
In animal studies, CBD has been shown to help with nausea and vomiting. It has also been shown to improve appetite, making it a possible treatment for dogs undergoing cancer treatment.
Other research has found that CBD can help prevent colitis and improve gut motility in animals with inflammatory bowel disease.
Many veterinarians are finding that CBD can help with the treatment of bone breaks, sprains, strains and torn ligaments. It can also be used in post-operative care to reduce pain, swelling and stiffness experienced by many animals.
Vets recommend starting off with a very low dose to see how the pet reacts to the CBD. Life-threatening risks are “exceedingly rare,” but they do not advise administering CBD without the guidance of a veterinarian.
Most CBD oil products on the market today extract the oil from the hemp plant, but questions of quality still remain, as the market is largely unregulated in most parts of the world. Experts recommend checking the source and quality of the oil before purchasing.
Because CBD is derived from the hemp plant, it can be legally purchased in most states. Pet owners looking for cannabis oil, which also contains THC, the ability to purchase will depend on state laws. In states where medical marijuana is outlawed, it may be impossible to get the oil legally. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, veterinarians are unable to prescribe cannabis to pets.