A growing number of devoted pet owners are turning to cannabis and cannabis-derived products as safe and effective treatment options. A variety of studies have shown that CBD has the potential to be just as effective in dogs and cats in the treatment of various conditions and associated symptoms as it can be in human beings. But at the same time, experts are warning members of the public in general not to take things for granted when it comes to the whole ‘pot for pets’ issue.
While it can be both safe and effective, it’s not quite as easy as simply feeding your dog cannabis-based products and expecting a positive outcome. Instead, if you are planning to introduce cannabis products to your pets at any time and for any reason, there are five very important things to bear in mind first:
1. You need expert advice
Technically speaking, registered veterinarians are not actually supposed to recommend the use of cannabis for pets. Nevertheless, it’s not as if lawmakers can continually monitor off-the-record conversations and everyday consultations. Which means that if you have any intention of treating an animal using cannabis, it’s more than worth seeking expert advice in advance. Even if they cannot prescribe what you need, they might be able to point you in the right direction.
2. Don’t expect a prescription
As it stands, cannabis remains a Schedule I drug in the United States – the situation in the United Kingdom being all the more pathetic. As such, there are absolutely no vets across the board in either country that have the authority to prescribe what’s still an entirely illegal substance. Even if you live in a state where both recreational and medical cannabis have been legalised, pot for pets is still entirely out of bounds in terms of prescribed treatments from veterinarians. As such, don’t get your expectations up and expect to be handed a prescription – it just isn’t going to happen.
3. Trial and error is inadvisable
It’s one thing to try any number of cannabis strains yourself, until you find the perfect product to suit your needs. However, this is an approach that really should be avoided at all costs when it comes to pets. The reason being that the last thing you want to do is make things worse than they already are along the way. If you are intending to use cannabis products for your pets - either entirely at your own discretion or under the advice of an expert – it’s critically important that you select the right products from the get-go. If not, there’s a good chance you’ll both be on your way to the local veterinary emergency room.
4. Proceed with caution
The same also goes for dosage, as just as is the case with human beings, all animals respond to cannabis and cannabis-derived products in an entirely different way. Those in favour of using cannabis products for treating pets therefore always advise starting out as slowly and gently as possible, increasing dosages very gradually over time.
5. Pets aren’t people
Last but not least, the single most important thing to acknowledge is that pets aren’t people. And given that pets aren’t people, you need to erase from your mind anything that suggests you can or should approach pot for pets in the same way you would pot for people. In terms of suitability, effectiveness, side-effects, risks and so on, things are completely different from top to bottom when it comes to pets. Which once again takes things right back to the first point – it’s never a good idea to go ahead without first seeking expert advice of some sort.