5 Things to Know About Medical Marijuana for Your Dog

Number 6: The animal will be unable to say when it has had too much.

Our four-legged friends (and when I say that I’m referring to dogs) are using medical marijuana to help their canine ailments. Now that’s something to bark about. (Insert laughter.) Just like their human counterparts, canines are being given cannabis to help ease pain, ailments, and cancer side-effects. 

"History has shown us some of the most useful medicines have been plant-derived; so there's no reason to think it can't offer us some more therapy," DoveLewis Animal Hospital veterinarian Ladan Mohammad-Zadeh told KATU News

Though cannabis-derived treatments look good on paper, the scientific verdict is still out regarding the use of cannabis for canines. Medical marijuana has proven effective for humans; dogs aren’t humans, and animal cannabis treatment is still very much a gray area. Vets such as Laden caution that further research is needed on efficacy and risks of cannabis for canines

“Everyone is still worried about the legal ramifications and the stigma.”

With those caveats in mind, here are five things every canine’s companion should consider about medical marijuana for dogs.

1) CBD Infused Dog Biscuits

The Bay Area edible company Auntie Dolores has launched a pet-centric product line named Treatibles. According to Auntie Dolores brand manager Matthew J. Cole: “Most people breed cannabis for the euphoric experience of THC. But they’ve been overlooking cannabidiol—commonly known as CBD—which is non-psychoactive.” 

Based on an Israeli study that suggests CBD can be used to treat epilepsy, inflammation, and chronic pain, Auntie Dolores now markets CBD-infused dog biscuits—to treat canines suffering these maladies. A bag of 40 Treatibles will run you $22 and contain 1 milligram of CBD per treat.

2) Sleep and Energize

Vancouver Wellness Hospital is one of the few health clinics that recommend treating sick animals with marijuana. Dr. Kathy Kramer has found that weed treatment alleviated pain for dogs suffering from cancer. A Vancouver couple testifies that the oil-based cannabis they administer to their dog helps their cancerous pet sleep through the night and wake up energetic.

Yet: “Everyone is still worried about the legal ramifications and the stigma,” says Dr. Kramer. She admits that the cannabis canine treatment is dose dependent and does include the risk of a toxic reaction.

3) It’s Not FDA Approved

Canna Companion is a Washington company that produces pet capsules that are a mix of dried, powdered hemp strains. Though Canna Companion can provide success stories from their pet-owning customers, the company was still notified by the FDA that the capsules were an “unapproved new animal drug and your marketing of it violates the [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic] Act.”

Though Washington is a state where medical marijuana is legal, vets who practice cannot legally prescribe cannabis products for pet. Strict regulations apply to advertising the benefits of canine cannabis drugs.

4) Cannabis Can Potentially Help a Dog With Seizures

After seeing a CNN report on cannabis oil helping a little girl control her seizures, a Portland couple decided to medically treat their mutts in the same manner. Their dogs were also suffering from seizures. The couple used a human’s medical marijuana card to buy CBD oil for the animals. After a few months, the canines went from having four seizures a week to none at all. The couple believes the treatment also helped restore their dogs’ health and energy. 

5) Discuss With Your Vet First

Have a chat with your vet before treating your dog with cannabis products. Dogs operate on a completely different metabolism than their human friends; so you need to know the correct doses.

A survey of U.S. veterinarians conducted by Pets Best Pet Insurance found that the third most common toxin canines are treated for is marijuana; coming in right behind rat poison and chocolate. 

Chris Middleton, president of Pets Best says: “There’s just all sorts of examples out there, all sorts of substances that are good for people but not pets.”

Middleton cites grapes, avocados, and garlic as examples of good for people/bad for pets.

“Most of these treats have very low levels of CBD,” Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center told ABC News. “It looks like these certainly could be helpful products in some cases, but right now we don’t have enough information.” She went on to say: “Whether it’s THC or other cannabinoids, the problem is we have no therapeutic dose. We don’t know, are you underdosing your animal or overdosing your animal? These are the things we need to determine.”