New Trend: Cannabis for Pets

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(Image: Canna Companion)

Try Googling “hemp and pets” you will discover a whole new world of cannabis-based supplements and health products for cats and dogs. Most of them will mention CBD, short for cannabidiol. CBD can be made from marijuana or hemp. But most pet products use CBD made from hemp because it’s legal and non-psychoactive. Pet owners can buy treats , gels and capsules that contain CBD made from hemp.

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“More and more humans are benefitting from cannabinoid medicine. Shouldn’t our furry companions also have access to natural relief?” said Nicole Smith, CEO of Mary’s Pets, which manufactures and markets CBD supplements made from Colorado-grown hemp.

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What is CBD and is it safe for animals? CBD or cannabidiol is a natural compound found in both hemp and marijuana. CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn’t make people or pets high. And it’s being studied as a treatment for epileptic seizures in humans and for pain relief for cancer patients. It shows some promise as a nutritional supplement for pets that could help with pain and anxiety.


When it comes to dogs and cats, there are many reasons to be cautious, however. The source and quality of CBD is difficult to determine. And there hasn’t been enough research conducted to establish how effective and safe it is.  “Consumers are left holding the bag when it comes to trusting manufacturers to place in the bottle what they put on the label—nothing more, nothing less, ” according to an article in Veterinary Practice News.  “Even beneficial plant agents can harbor unpleasant residues from pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.” The ASPCA and PETA will not endorse medical cannabis for animals due to a lack of research.


More than one veterinarian is at the forefront of a movement to market CBD products made from both hemp and marijuana. Dr. Tim Shu is one of them, according to CNBC. His company, VETCBD, sells low-THC medicines for pets. “We use it for pain, arthritis, anxiety, nausea and seizures, and they don’t get high from it,” he told CNBC News.  VETCBD sells in 70 medical marijuana dispensaries in California and costs $40 for a one-month supply.
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Another  CNBC story about medical marijuana for pets features Gi Gi Griffin, a realtor in Palos Verdes, California. She buys  legal medical marijuana for her six-year-old Sheltie, Joy, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer. “I just knew I wanted to try whatever would help with my dog,” she told CNBC. Griffin  saids she spends about $120 a month on various cannabidiols, which she mixes into Joy’s food.
Even the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a report about veterinary marijuana that told the story of  77-year-old Ernest Misko who never used marijuana until his doctor recommended it for his chronic back pain. He was so pleased with the results  that when his senior cat, Borzo, had difficulty walking, Misko fed his cat  the same marijuana tincture his doctor prescribed.  “I don’t get high from (marijuana), but the pain goes away. So I tried it on my cat, my 24-year-old cat, who’s feeling better,” Misko said. Within a few days the cat was moving much better, he said.
Dr. Douglas Kramer told JAVMA that he was skeptical about marijuana’s potential to help animals until his Siberian Husky developed terminal cancer. “I’d exhausted every available pharmaceutical pain option, even steroids.” he said.  “At that point, it was a quality of life issue, and I felt like I’d try anything to ease her suffering.” He decided to feed her a small amount of marijuana.  It improved Nikita’s appetite, he said, and she appeared more comfortable during her final months.
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(Photo: R. Scott Nolen/JAVMA)



4 thoughts on “New Trend: Cannabis for Pets”

  1. Very interesting! My personal opinion is that cannabis from hemp is likely less toxic than many medications. But dosage is weight dependent and no one really has it all figured out yet. I would ask my vet first. In the long run, it seems like an excellent alternative treatment deserving more serious research.

  2. My cat has had a horrible, smelly ear infection for about 3 years now. Vet had her on anti-biotics for months, which did nothing.

    The next vet said she had a tumor in her ear, and thats why she had stinky, smelly stuff oozing out of her ear.

    My question is, how exactly should I administer the CBD? And how much is another big factor.

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