Marijuana has been recognized for the many medicinal benefits it can bring to humans but is the same true for our pets? Veterinarian and author of “The Ultimate Pet Guide” Dr. Gary Richter joins The Doctors along with pet owners, Sky and Morgan, to discuss giving cannabis to pets.
Both Sky and Morgan give their dogs CBD, the non-psychoactive component of marijuana, and have seen great results. Sky’s dog was diagnosed with lymphoma and CBD has been helpful in getting her dog to eat, go to the vet for chemo, and has calmed her anxiety.
One of Morgan’s dogs was abused by skateboarders, and she couldn't walk, but since taking CBD is happily walking. The other dog was attacked by a pit bull but since taking CBD his anxiety has subsided, he was not approachable by humans but now is, and he is also no longer marking the house.
Dr. Richter is not surprised by these results as he has seen many animals benefit from CBD and various forms of cannabis. Just as it is used to treat humans with PTSD, he believes many dogs coming out of shelters and abusive situations have their own PTSD that can benefit from cannabis.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork points out that veterinarians are not legally allowed to discuss or recommend cannabis to their patients so if someone wanted to try it out for their pet, how do they make sure they aren’t doing any harm?
Dr. Richter says that CBD from hemp is very safe and the worse side effect could be drowsiness. You have to be more careful with medical marijuana that contains THC, which does have medicinal benefits, but can also be toxic to dogs. Dogs are more sensitive than humans to THC so proper dosing is needed to be safe.
From a labeling standpoint, there is no government oversight to make sure claims are accurate so Dr. Richter has some advice on how to choose the right products. He suggests getting in touch with the company of the product you want to buy and asking them to see a certificate of analysis which proves the product went to a lab and you can see what’s in it. He also says it’s a good sign if the company is excited to talk your ear off about their product and its benefits!
While there is currently not a state in this nation that has a specific law allowing vets to recommend cannabis to animals, California currently has a state bill that will allow just that. It could be as little as a few months away which Dr. Richter says would be “an absolute game changer.”