With recreational marijuana legal in Washington State, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of questions from pet parents about its uses in veterinary medicine.
As most people know, marijuana has two main active components: THC and CBD.
THC – Toxic to Pets
THC is the chemical in marijuana that causes the high (and many of its other effects). THC may also cause increased sensory perception (ie., brighter colors), laughter, a change in the perception of time, drowsiness, and the munchies. However, in some people, THC causes fear, anxiety, distrust, and hallucinations.
THC is toxic to pets. With the increased availability of edible marijuana products and marijuana cigarettes, and we’re seeing an increase in the number of marijuana poisonings in dogs. Often, these poisonings require emergency treatment.
CBD – Illegal for Veterinarians to Recommend
CBD is the compound in marijuana that may decrease inflammation. CBD does not make people high and is not mind-altering. It’s been investigated since the 1970s as a potential anti-seizure medication in people with uncontrolled seizures.
CBD appears to be a safe drug in people with no addictive side effects, and it may be therapeutic in a number of human medical conditions, such as epilepsy, arthritis, and anxiety.
There are no published studies of CBD’s safety in pets, its potential drug interactions, its proper dosing, or whether currently available products contain a consistent amount of CBD.
And while CBD products are readily available for purchase – some even specifically labeled for pets by their manufacturer – it is illegal for veterinarians to recommend CBD products at this time.
CBD Oil – The Jury’s Out
We get questions daily from pet parents who would like to treat their dog or cat with CBD oil. Some pet parents choose to use these products without consulting with us first.
To be on the safe side, please don’t give your dog CBD oil or any marijuana products.
Studies are underway, but until we have more information and products that have been tested for purity and accurate concentrations, as well as federal authorization to prescribe, veterinarians are unable to recommend them.