Allergies, arthritis, cancer — these are just some of the illness pets suffer from just like humans. And much like the human race, treating your pet’s ailment can become very pricey. But, for many, cannabis is a natural and affordable option used to treat their pets.
There are countless cases of dogs intentionally or accidentally eating marijuana, and now that recreational pot is legal, reckless users have put more pets at risk.
Nationally recognized veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber says, “what’s interesting is that in Colorado the number of visits — pet visits to an emergency facility have quadrupled because of marijuana toxicosis, since the legalization.”
Glassy eyes, unsteady, tremors: The same kind of high humans get can be very sickening for dogs, but it’s rarely fatal.
Pets have a negative reaction to THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive element in cannabis that gets you stoned.
Another naturally occurring compound is called CBD or Cannabidiol.
While CBD is certainly found in marijuana, it can also be derived from hemp, which is legal to ship and consume because it’s nonpsychoactive.
In other words, you can’t get high from hemp-derived CBD and neither will your pet. Hemp-derived CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory.
Wellness companies are combining it with other natural ingredients to create powders and oils.
Healthy Tails, a specialty pet store, just started carrying “Pet Releaf” — and it can barely keep up with demand.
“It’s unbelievable we brought in a small amount, and it sold out,” said John Lay, owner of Healty Tails. “So we brought in a larger amount, and it sold out.”
Michelle Ficht wanted a natural way to ease her dog’s anxiety. ‘Woody’ takes a form of cannabis tincture.
“He can actually sit and sleep and relax, where before he would be so worried about everything else he wouldn’t be able to relax,” Ficht said.
Ficht is part of a growing wave of consumers using CBD to treat everything from anxiety to arthritis and allergies. However, those claims haven’t been evaluated by the FDA, so there’s still skepticism.
“Now, that I think more legalization in more states, we’ll see more research being done; scientific research to prove some of the benefits and when or if that happens, I think it’ll become a little bit more accepted,” Dr. Werber said.
Jennifer Solac says she’s sold on the marijuana for pets. Solac, who was in the veterinary field for nearly two decades, works full time in the medical marijuana industry.
“They don’t have a long life anyway, so if you can give them something natural all the way through their life; it’s just less harmful,” Solac said. “It gives them a longer life.”
At this point, there is not enough data to track whether long-term CBD use is harmless or harmful.
But for Woody and countless others, the special snack has both tongues and tails wagging.
Disclaimer: Like with any supplement, check the dosing on the labels based on your pet’s weight. Also, talk with your veterinarian before you start administering it to them.