Estimated 6-minute read
Can my dog use cannabis for medical purposes?
The accessibility of marijuana has been escalating considerably since its legalization and regularization have advanced globally. It generates unusual scenarios, which are gradually taking relevance in our day-to-day lives.
According to The Cannabist, the number of questions on answer.com related to marijuana and pets has increased by 65 percent. This coincides with the upward trend of legalization around the world.
However, as a "new" scenario, how to trust the veracity of the notes that talk about this topic when the consumption of humans is still unknown in many ways. Since several factors lead to more questions and more research.
To guarantee real research, legalization is necessary, even if it is only for medicinal purposes. This leads to regularizations that ensure the safety of the new methods tested. For example, in the United States, laws have been passed allowing the medicinal use of marijuana under strict guidelines.
But what domino effect does it triggers in people. As we have already mentioned, as cannabis products become more available, veterinarians have seen an increased interest in the use of this plant in pets.
Given the above, it is understandable that some may wonder if these safe, legal, and effective products can also help their pets. Below, we will discuss factors for the medicinal use of cannabis in animals, from the difference in cannabis components, the difference in endocannabinoid receptors in animals and humans, as well as negative scenarios for intoxication, treatment, and regulatory advances in cannabis products for pets.
Importance of regularization
In the United States, for example. The FDA must approve products claiming to have beneficial or therapeutic properties in order to be legally manufactured and marketed. This approval process guarantees the safety and efficacy of such products through studies.
This first factor is important for all countries according to their regulatory agencies so that veterinarians can have a safe reference, study, and apply effective treatments to their patients.
Unfortunately, cannabis-derived products that have emerged as therapeutic and beneficial agents for animals have not yet followed the regulatory path to governmental approval.
Some cannabinoids, such as CBD, show promise for treating epilepsy, analgesia, anxiety, etc. However, the scientific evidence available on their use in animals is currently very limited. As far as animals are concerned, reports on the use of cannabinoids are limited to anecdotal cases or comparisons of studies with humans.
Real regulation is a necessary factor to counteract a problem that has always existed, misinformation. And in this case, self-medication. The decentralization of the media accelerates disinformation, virilization, and advertising of millions of dubious products on the market.
However, we are talking about marijuana, an indifferent panto, judged depending on the circumstances. But let's not delve into this vast and controversial topic and focus on our part. We are taking responsibility for our pets and how we care for our pets.
Recent laboratory analysis indicates that a significant portion of the products currently available on the market is incorrectly labeled concerning the identity and amount of the active ingredient found in the product.
Let's make a comparison. Imagine a country where marijuana is illegal, Mexico, for example. The decriminalization process is just beginning in this country, which is heavily influenced by U.S. politics and interests.
Let's say you go to buy marijuana. Without regulation, there are no dispensaries or pharmacies to guarantee that what you are buying is really a "skunk lemon haze with 20 percent THC". In Mexico, there are also "medicinal" brands with exotic names and elegant presentations. However, let's not be silly; even if you always go for your "skunk lemon haze," it will always be a different flower with totally different THC levels. There is no time for quality standards; in reality there is an only good new flower or a bad old flower.
So it is with existing cannabis products for animals. Anyone can build trust and veracity in their products, but without a regulatory body, everything is hypothetical. I am not saying that it is a severe risk; however, discrepancies exist, and the risk is unnecessary. Let's be aware that, for our pets, there are no regulated products as far as cannabis is concerned. And can they consume cannabis, or edibles just like you? Will they enjoy it as much as I do?
Mentioned that cannabis products "especially for pets" represent a certain degree of danger. So, if you ask me, "Can I give my dog an edible? Or does my dog enjoy the effect of marijuana as much as I do? The answer is: please don't do it.
Look, I am a regular user of marijuana; I really like this plant, and I don't see anything negative about it other than its negative effects. However, our pets are different, so I will explain why it is better not to give marijuana to your pet.
Marijuana has more than 100 chemical components, known as cannabinoids. The most notable are THC and CBD, but you already know this. Most therapeutic products are CBD-based, but what about THC? It is toxic to animals to the same extent as humans.
Pets can vary significantly in size, so certain amounts of cannabis can become toxic to some pets much faster than humans. Physiologically, our bodies act differently. Something harmless to us can be very harmful to our pets, like chocolate. Since the way of metabolization is different per species. More factors that play an important role are the age, the state of health, and already mentioned the size of the body lead to different, but negative reactions in dogs when consuming marijuana.
Symptoms of possible cannabis intoxication are seizures, tremors, depression, ataxia, excessive drooling, vomiting or even urinary incontinence. In severe cases, severe seizures and coma may occur. Physical signs include low or elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Some side effects are short-lived but still dangerous, but mostly unnecessary.
There have been fatal cases, extremely rare. Reports indicate that deaths have been observed after ingesting edibles containing highly concentrated cannabis, such as medical-grade THC.
It is important to raise awareness, as there is very little information on the relationship of cannabis with animals, and it is only logical. We are only just beginning to understand its effects on humans. However, one thing is certain, today it is not convenient to clinically treat your pet with cannabis components.
Of course there is a counterpart and strong recommendations to do the opposite, but remember that these are self-medications, not something that is good for one is good for all. Be careful where you keep your edibles, especially if you use cannabis for medicinal specialization, as animals are very curious.
Let's hope that the studies of this branch advance as well as its regularization for animals and that soon there will be products that provide real and safe benefits to our furry friends.
Dhillier Writers. (2022). Esto es lo que le pasa a tu perro si le das maría. May 2022, from Vice. Website: https://www.vice.com/es/article/zmk358/perros-fumados-marihuana-cannabis-mascotas
N.A. (2022). Cannabis use and pets. May 2022, from AMVA: American Veterinary Medical Association. Website: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/cannabis-use-and-pets
Rania Gollakner. (2022). Cannabis (Marijuana) Intoxication in Cats and Dogs. May 2022, from VCA Animal hospitals. Website: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/marijuana-intoxication-in-dogs-and-cats