Over the years the use of medicinal marijuana in people has increased dramatically. Although there are some scientific benefits for the use in people, there is nothing proven in pets to recognize the benefits for treating animals with marijuana. Marijuana effects in people cannot be extrapolated to animals. In fact, dogs are more sensitive to marijuana than people.
Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, “a four-fold increase in (animal) toxicities was reported between 2010-2015”. In order to inform the public a statement from The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association was published: “ The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association recognizes the interest of companion animal owners and veterinarians regarding the potential benefits of marijuana therapies for a variety of animal medical conditions. Similar to human medicine, there is extremely limited data on the medical benefits and side effects of marijuana products in companion animals.” Therefore no accurate and safe dosages for animals are known and furthermore, in Canada, there is no CBD (marijuana) product approved for use in animals. It is illegal and unethical for veterinarians to prescribe marijuana at the present time.
Marijuana is not a “heal all” product in animals and owners must be aware of the differences of medicine vs recreation.
1. Recreational Pot/Marijuana: These are plants that can be dried and smoked, vaporized, and even used in baking. This marijuana contains the highest level of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which is a psychoactive compound, thus leading to the highest levels of toxicity in animals.
2. Medical Marijuana: This can only be purchased from an inspected and qualified company with a medical prescription. This marijuana contains moderate to high levels of CBD (non-psychoactive compounds) and minimal levels of THC. These products are used for medical use in people under the supervision of a physician.
3. Hemp: Hemp oil, tincture or powder has been used for years as a rich fibre source. This is another type of subspecies plant of marijuana and only lately has it been misinterpreted as healthy product for medical use in animals. This product contains very low levels of THC and minor levels of CBD therefore medical effectiveness of hemp is unknown.
Marijuana toxicity in animals is a real problem and as owners you must be aware of the dangers of marijuana. Here are the signs of marijuana toxicity in animals:
- Dilated pupils and bloodshot eyes
- Wobbling and agitation
- Uncontrollable dribbling of urine
- Seizure and death
At present, there are no safe and effective doses of marijuana for animals. With the continuous scientific studies, and not just “google claims” we will hopefully have accurate data on the medical use of marijuana for animals. The history of medicine proves that majority of medications have originated from plants, herbs and even mold (penicillin). However, the science is used to take the negative of these products out and ensure the positive ingredients are safe and accurate.
Written by Dr. Lisa Lomsnes