Is Medical Marijuana Safe for Your Pets? Explained

As cannabis becomes legal across numerous countries and states worldwide, extracts from this plant continue to find their way into our homes. Today, it’s not unusual to come across cannabis-infused edibles, topicals, inhalable, smokables, or oral tinctures when you randomly visit a friend or relative living in jurisdictions where marijuana is legal.  

A good number of manufacturers of pet products are also experimenting with marijuana. You’ll find cannabis in pet shampoos, and pet treats, kibble particularly.  

But as a concerned pet parent, it’s natural to wonder whether your furry friend can safely use marijuana-infused products. That concern shall be the focus of this post. 

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More About Medical Marijuana 

Cannabis is used either for medical or recreational purposes. As you shall find, there’s a fundamental difference between the composition of medical and recreational marijuana products.  

Medical cannabis products are mainly formulated with non-psychoactive weed compounds. The most notable one is cannabidiol (CBD). Other non-psychotropic marijuana extracts include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC). Cannabidiol products by reputable brands to shop Weed Strains from best retailer In Canada may offer numerous health benefits. Examples include relief from pain, inflammation, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, to mention but a few.  

On the other hand, recreational cannabis products contain significant psychoactive chemicals like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These products are noted for their ability to induce intoxication and a host of other mind-altering effects.  

Common symptoms of marijuana intoxication include; 

  • Hallucinations, evidenced by a distorted sense of time and space 
  • Euphoria, often marked by hysterical giggling and unexplained happiness 
  • Blood-shot eyes 

But besides inducing intoxication, tetrahydrocannabinol may also provide several health benefits. Medical marijuana doctors often recommend consuming products formulated with significant THC levels. When used alongside CBD and other non-psychoactive compounds, THC delivers compounded health benefits through a mechanism called the entourage effect.  

However, that’s as far as human cannabis use is concerned. The same doesn’t necessarily apply to pets. Although your feline friend can benefit from small amounts of THC, experts recommend giving them only medical cannabis products. Pets MUST NOT consume marijuana recreationally. 

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How Can Pets Benefit From Medical Marijuana? 

Medical Marijuana May Treat Pain 

Marijuana is mainly recommended for pain relief. Extracts from the plant, particularly cannabidiol, relieve pain by boosting the performance of specific endocannabinoid receptors.  

Whether your pet is nursing broken bones resulting from play aggression or aching muscles caused by chronic diseases like arthritis doesn’t matter. Supplementing with CBD-based products may go a long way in speeding up the animal’s recovery.  

2018 study by Cornell University examined the effects of cannabidiol on dogs with osteoarthritis. At the end of the study, researchers noted a marked improvement in comfort and mobility for dogs that consume CBD compared to the placebo group. 

Medical Marijuana May Alleviate Inflammation 

Inflammation occurs typically side by side with pain. It also happens to be one of the main medical issues you can manage using medical cannabis products.  

Just like pain, most of marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties are attributed to cannabidiol.  

CBD eases inflammation by inhibiting the chemicals involved in the body’s inflammatory messenger activity, such as cytokines. 

Medical Marijuana May Relieve Anxiety 

Pets, just like their human parents, suffer from stress and a range of anxiety disorders. Examples include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), separation anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  

Fortunately, cannabidiol has demonstrated potential for relieving all these anxiety disorders.  

CBD treats anxiety by increasing the signalling of serotonin, one of the primary neurotransmitters involved in regulating mental health. 

Medical Marijuana May Boost Sleep Quality 

Cannabidiol is a powerful sedative. Tetrahydrocannabinol is also sedating at relatively high doses. Therefore, giving your pets medical marijuana products may help to boost sleep by shortening the animal’s sleep latency.  

Studies also indicate that cannabidiol may shorten or eliminate rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is the sleep stage where animals dream the most.  

But it’s also during REM sleep that animals could experience potentially sleep-disrupting nightmares. That explains why reducing or eliminating this sleep phase may boost your pets’ sleep quality. 

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Is Medical Marijuana Safe For Pets? 

Having highlighted various health benefits of medical cannabis, you may be tempted to purchase the next marijuana-infused pet treats and share them with your pet. However, it’s best to understand the safety of these products before investing in them.  

First off, medical marijuana compounds aren’t immediately toxic to pets. Your furry friend won’t drop dead upon snacking on weed-infused kibble.  

The safety or potential risks of medical cannabis products largely depends on the dosage. Note that marijuana doctors generally recommend consuming weed-based products in moderation. The same principle applies to pets.  

If you’re serving medical marijuana supplements to your pet for the first time, start with the lowest doses available. Then, monitor the animal for 24 hours for any adverse effects. Common side effects of medical marijuana in pets include dry mouth, drowsiness, and low blood pressure.  

If no side effects occur, you can increase the doses incrementally until you achieve your pet’s sweet spot. This is the dose required to relieve the specific medical conditions you’re trying to treat using medical cannabis without having the animal experience any adverse reactions. 

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Final Word 

Medical marijuana offers several health benefits to pets. However, the compound could become problematic if overdosed.  

Also, remember that cannabis remains illegal in numerous countries.  

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