dr brandon cbd oil for cats

Have You Ever Given Your Cat Medical Cannabis? Would You?

When I first noticed that my 18-year-old cat Siouxsie’s wisdom-filled eyes were also filled with pain, I knew I had to take action. I knew Siouxsie had arthritis, and it was clearly getting worse. She was walking hunched up, she wasn’t able to jump like she used to, and she spent most of her time curled up in her heated cat bed instead of on my lap.

I took Siouxsie in for her semiannual senior exam, and I mentioned my concerns to my vet. I told her that the pain control methods I had been using (glucosamine-chondroitin treats and even gabapentin) didn’t seem to be helping her. Dr. Brandon took some X-rays, and the results left no doubt about why she was so sore.

There was almost no cartilage at all where her femur bones meet her hips. The left hip was worse than the right. I cringed when I saw the results: I have my own share of chronic pain and I knew poor Siouxsie had to be hurting 24/7.

Medical Cannabis for Cats

I’d heard that Dr. Brandon and her husband, veterinarian Dr. Greg Copas, had developed a treatment that’s non-toxic and known to be a very powerful pain reliever. That treatment: medical cannabis.

I know people who have benefited tremendously from using medical cannabis to manage pain, and I was thrilled to know that my vet had developed a formula that is safe for pets. I asked whether it could help Siouxsie, and my vet said she’d seen good results in other arthritic pets, so I decided to give it a try.

Canna Companion is made from hemp with an extremely low THC content. It’s made from 100-percent organic, non-GMO hemp in vegetarian capsules. The active ingredients, known as phytocannabinoids, have a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and appetite stimulant effect. Phytocannabinoids can also reduce the spread of cancer and even provide seizure control.

Canna Companion is legal in all 50 U.S. states. Because of its extremely low THC content (less than 0.3 percent) and because it is not meant for human consumption, it meets the current definition of hemp supplements for companion animals. I’m not sure about its legality in other countries or international shipment of the product, however.

Our Experience With Medical Cannabis for Cats

I ordered a package of 30 capsules, which I began mixing into Siouxsie’s food twice a day. Even after the first dose, she started showing signs of feeling better. As time passed, I noticed other changes in her behavior.

She started climbing on my lap again. She began climbing the cat tree again. Her walk became much more fluid and easy. Her jumps became smoother and more successful. And soon enough, Siouxsie was asking for her “purry hugs” and shoulder rides again … something she hadn’t done in months!

I’ve been giving Siouxsie the Canna Companion for about four months now, and she’s continued to thrive. She’s been to the vet for a couple of follow-up exams since then, and Dr. Brandon is also impressed with the positive effect the medical cannabis has had on her quality of life.

I know Siouxsie is old. I don’t know how much time I have left with her, but I want to make every minute of that time as happy and pain-free as possible. Medical cannabis is helping me to do that.

An Important Note on Cannabis for Cats

Keep in mind here that I am not talking about marijuana. Higher concentrations of THC are toxic to cats, so here’s a common-sense warning: For the love of all things cute and furry, do NOT smoke your cat up or give him human-grade medical cannabis!

Tell us: Would you use medical cannabis on your cats? Have you used it? Does this intrigue you or freak you out? Share your thoughts and your stories in the comments, and let’s talk!

Thumbnail: Photography © Tanchic | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.

Read more about cat health on Catster.com:

  • Glaucoma in Cats: What Are the Signs and How Do You Treat It?
  • My Cat’s Ears Are Hot — Is This Normal?
  • Cat Dandruff: Is It Something to Worry About?
  • Tags: Health & Care, Let's Talk
JaneA Kelley

JaneA is the webmaster and chief cat slave for Paws and Effect, an award-winning cat advice blog written by her cats, for cats and their people. She is a professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association, and has been a speaker at the BlogPaws and Cat Writers’ Association conferences. In addition to blogging about cats, JaneA writes contemporary urban fantasy, and whatever else strikes her fancy.

26 thoughts on “Have You Ever Given Your Cat Medical Cannabis? Would You?”

Got a solution to all my questions related to my Lily. Can you please give some suggestions about the health of my cat? I mean how to deal in winter as temperature goes down -2 degrees.
Will be thankful if you share some kind of information.

I manage a feral cat colony from my home in the mountainous area of Northwestern Virginia.
I noticed blood on my porch and in the food/water bowls. The cat responsible was a large, possibly older Tomcat who had bloody, mutilated ears and surrounding areas likely from fighting other Tomcats in the colony. I put out a crate and he walked right in it! I shut the door and brought him inside (first feral cat to get inside). Soon he was steaking out his territory and terrorizing the poor dogs.
Soon I realized he was mutilating himself and when I was able to pet him just recently, I discovered the source of his problem, huge abscesses (or tumors) around the head and neck, most likely from male cat fighting. His fluffiness hid the large lumps although I had noticed a big, stiff neck. He was mutilating himself due to pain.
I suffer from chronic pain and empathised. I tried CBD oil until I could get a vet to visit my feral feline friend. It immediately helped with his pain and even tempered his bad attitude. Clearly, he was in need of medical care, but CBD offered some temporary respite.
All of a sudden this wild, sick, painful cat with a bad attitude was giving my hand head butts and even quietly purring!. Although I quickly learned through a few gentle palpitations anf subsequent slashes to my hand, that his lumps were painful. I am putting out the $$$ to have a home vet come bye today as coralling him into a crate and transportating him to a vet would be traumatic for him (and me!).
CBD oil has also given me some relief from my chronic nerve pain and recent acute pain from soft tissue damage brought on by an accident. I also noticed a mood change in myself and was not quite as depressed and anxious from my pain. I felt a calmness not normal for me. Again, temporary pain treatment is no alternative for for medical treatment, but seems to offer some benefit to discomfort and a bad attitude (likely due to the pain and illness). On a side note, 3 days after bringing in the Tomcat a tiny kitten appeared on my porch half frozen from a mid-December cold snap. All of a sudden my dog only home became a 2 cat home (to my husband’s dismay)! Before naming our “temporary” cats, they were referred to as “The big cat” and “The little cat”. Now BigCat (an obvious choice) and Kitty Whiskers (named by my 6 year old son) are going to be lifelong family members. Kitty Whiskers is a sweet, playful, friendly addition, forever saved from the hard life of a feral cat and old, grumpy, temperamental BigCat is getting the treatment he needs, as well as a cushy retirement home and frequent pets from yours truly. CBD oil has helped both myself and BigCat with not only physical pain but mental well-being as well. .

I support whatever helps the cat’s quality of life. Question thought – when you say you give the cat the product twice a day, does that mean you’re using one capsule split between two meals, or do you use two capsules a day? Just wondering how expensive a proposition this could be.. $1/day or $2/day? In the time since you posted this article, are you still using the product, and have you adjusted dosage at all? What’s you’re opinion nearly one year on?

Is THC Safe For Pets?

In a word, yes. THC from cannabis is being used across therapeutic modalities at an ever increasing rate, and for good reason. With a long list of positive and effective healing properties, it is no wonder this compound is gaining more and more attention. As with any powerful treatment, we have to approach THC with an awareness of the effects that come with its promising abilities.

Table of Contents

What is THC?

Scientists have discovered over 114 unique components called cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. The two most prevalent are CBD and THC .

CBD gets a lot of air time because its powerful healing properties have no associated symptoms of impairment. As for THC, conversations about its potential as a medicine have not been taken up with nearly as much enthusiasm. Despite numerous studies showing its safety and potential in treating cancer and other chronic diseases, the public is still wary of THC because of the associated ‘high’.

THC in Hemp

According to current federal regulations, hemp extract must contain less than .3% THC. This is not enough to get a dog stoned except at super high doses.

Currently, all CBD Dog Health products are hemp products and therefore have less than .3% THC.

THC in Marijuana

In some cases, dogs and cats may benefit from cannabis preparations with higher levels of THC. Products containing more than .3% THC are classified as Marijuana .

Reports of animals treated with higher doses of THC show that with gradual THC increase over time, our pets are able to successfully tolerate the psychoactive effects.

What are the benefits of THC?

The benefits of THC can not be overstated. It is an essential part of the plant with its own unique healing properties and a strong synergistic relationship to the other cannabinoids.

The entourage effect is a term that describes the complex balance of all the different elements of the cannabis plant. They all work together to amplify each other’s effects and create a multi-target therapy capable of healing many different ailments at once.

Some of the known therapeutic properties of THC include:

  • Analgesic (pain management)
  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-nausea
  • Sedative
  • Neuroprotective
  • Reduction of intraocular pressure
  • Bronchodilator
  • Promotes sleep
  • Gastrointestinal support
  • Appetite stimulant

THC Toxicity

THC Toxicity is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. This is one of the first things that comes up with any google search about cannabis for pets. Reports of pets getting into their owner’s edibles often prompt headlines that claim ‘THC overdose’ and can make it look like normal therapeutic use of THC runs the risk of injury or death. This accidental dosing is not the same as intentional therapeutic use.

What do they really mean when they say THC is toxic?

The word toxicity conjures fears of poisonous chemicals, contaminants, and dangerous side effects. To most people, toxicity means, ‘may cause death’, when in reality, the effects of THC in our pets are overwhelmingly beneficial and safe despite the ‘intoxicating’ effects.

In addition, there is clinical research that provides evidence as to the safety of cannabis and THC, even at extremely high doses.

One of the clearest examples proving THC’s relative safety in comparison to other common medications is from a study from The Mason Research Institute .

In this clinical study, scientists set out on a mission to find the lethal dose of THC in rats, dogs, and chimpanzees. They experimented using 3000 mg/kg, up to 9000 mg per single dose. This sounds like a lot of THC, and it is. The only way to get this amount of THC into an animal was via super concentrated intravenous injections .

Not only is this a cruel experiment to do on any living creature, but it is also completely out of proportion with what our pets would come into contact with intentionally, or even accidentally in real life.

To give you some context, one dose of our Heal tincture contains approximately 0.9 mg of THC. That means they were experimenting with a dosage 10,000 times higher than what we recommend for our more serious cases. Can you imagine what would happen if you took 10,000 times the recommended dose of your medications? It would be miraculous if there were no adverse effects, nevermind a chance for survival.

Despite those odds, this study reported no instances of death in their canine test subjects even at those astronomical doses, proving that THC is incredibly safe, despite the somewhat concerning appearance of its psychoactive effects on animals.

Is there such a thing as too much THC?

Of course! More is not necessarily better. As with any medication our goal is to find the right dose, not the highest dose possible. Dogs have way more receptors for cannabinoids than humans, which means they are super sensitive to all its effects, including the psychoactive ones. This can be extremely uncomfortable and even traumatic for a dog.

In addition, dogs exhibit different responses to THC than humans.

Here are some of the visible effects of high doses of THC in dogs:

  1. Urinary incontinence
  2. Cooler body temperature
  3. Excessive salivation
  4. Changes in heart rate

And most commonly …

5. Static Ataxia .

Static Ataxia

Static ataxia is a term used to describe the physical state dogs get into when they have a lot of THC. Regardless of how serious it sounds by name, static ataxia is not particularly dangerous.

Unlike humans, dogs who ingest THC can show a dramatic loss of coordination , balance, and motor function . They tend to stagger as they walk, sway while standing and keep a wide gate and rigid stance. Reports tend to describe them as looking drunk or woozy .

Typically we don’t see these kinds of effects with animals who are treated with a hemp extract except at super high doses. It has also occurred in the past with very old dogs the first time they received a dose.

Dogs that are treated with a product containing more THC may be more prone to static ataxia and other side effects, but usually those effects are dampened over time and can be avoided by starting on a low dose and working up to your desired treatment.

What do Veterinarians say about THC?

Most conventional, western style veterinary colleges teach very little about whole plant medicine, nevermind cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. It is because of this, as well as stringent laws regarding their ability to advise on cannabis for pets, that many vets refuse to recommend or even discuss cannabis for pets.

Lack of Information

Typically, veterinarians will say that they don’t have enough information from clinical trials to discuss or recommend, but that is changing quickly. Since 2018, there have been significant advances in clinical research by reputable scientific institutions around the world. There is still so much to be done, but these studies corroborate the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that has accumulated for decades.

Here’s a great double-blind, peer-reviewed study from February 2020 that looks at the effects of products containing different ratios of CBD to THC on dogs.

Because of the mounting evidence as well as pressure from the public, veterinarians are growing more open-minded and comfortable with cannabis as an alternative therapy.

At present, veterinarians who know a good deal about cannabis medicine have actively gone out and learned in their own private time. In time, training in cannabis medicine will become a necessary part of their training.

Why are Vets Scared?

When we raised our concerns over the safety of cannabis and THC to Dr. Gary Richter MS, DVM, CVA, CVC, a leading voice in cannabis medicine for pets, his response mirrored our experience.

“Life-threatening risks for dogs from medical cannabis are exceedingly rare,” Richter says. “Toxicity more often occurs when a pet has eaten a product that contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins. Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients.”

When veterinarians’ main experience with cannabis is dogs who have been unintentionally exposed to cannabis and consumed human doses of THC along with other truly harmful substances, it is no surprise they are hesitant to recommend it as treatment.

What about vets who do embrace THC, CBD and Cannabis?

Another veterinarian who has actual experience working with cannabis medicine is Dr. Trina Hazzah, DVM, DACVIM, CVCH. Dr. Hazzah has been practicing with Chinese herbal medicine and cannabis medicine for years, while working as an oncologist at the busy Los Angeles VCA Animal Hospital. I spoke to her about how she uses cannabis in personalized treatment for animals suffering from different cancers.

She advocates openly for the importance of a healthy diet and the use of cannabis as an alternative to damaging and invasive cancer therapies, typical to western veterinary medicine.

“I always say to people, what’s the worst that can happen — they stare at the wall for a while if they get too much?” says Dr. Hazzah. “But, what’s the worst that my chemo can do? Much worse than that. And you can use cannabis to help balance the side effects of chemotherapy and other western treatment.”

Again, to clarify CBD Dog Health does not sell any products which contain enough THC to cause a high in animals. This doctor is working with cases where she is treating patients with up to 100 mg of THC in a dose and doing it completely safe.

Some final tips to make sure you’re safe:

  • Ensure you are using a high-quality product .
  • When dosing with higher levels of THC, start low, and slowly increase the dose.
  • Monitor your pet closely and keep a journal to record the effects. expert or veterinarian.

The Takeaway

Cannabis medicine is complicated. We are still in the beginning stages of researching everything it can do and how it works. In the coming years we can expect to see the secrets of cannabis medicine unlocked with even greater specificity. For now, we can rest assured that this stuff works and is very safe.

For most ailments, the .3% THC found in a full-spectrum extract, like the one we use at CBD Dog Health, is all a dog or cat needs. It is not enough to cause any psychoactive side effects and is perfectly safe.

It is possible for pets to be exposed to too much THC. Usually this happens accidentally when pets get into something they shouldn’t have. This is risky business for older pets who may react badly to the intense stress caused by the psychoactive effects of THC.

If you suspect your pet may benefit from higher levels of THC and you live in one of the states where marijuana products are currently legal, that is a great option! Work with a medical cannabis professional to design a safe and effective dosing regimen that will heal your pet naturally!


About Carter Easler

Carter is a cannabis educator and holistic practitioner with certification in the use of Cannabis Therapies for Veterinary Medicine by The College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies. He continues to study and share his knowledge of cannabis therapeutics through written articles, educational videos and live speaking engagements across the country.

Growing up in a family of veterinarians, Carter developed a deep love for animals and saw first hand how holistic medicine could change both their lives and his own. As Director of Education for CBD Dog Health, Carter now travels North America educating pet parents, business owners and veterinarians about the benefits and science behind cannabis therapeutics and holistic medicine.

Medical marijuana for pets? Newest user has four legs and a tail

Alvin getting his laser treatment. He needs to go back to the vet this week for additional medication for seizures.

Bobby Jo Bonser and her partner have been fostering a Pekingese rescue named Alvin for the past month in their West Chester home. After noticing that the little dog was dragging his back legs when he walks, they wanted answers.

The vet thinks Alvin may have had a traumatic back injury when he was young.

They suggested laser treatments, which Alvin now gets twice a week, Bonser said .

“We have some medication for pain management,” she says, but neither Bonser nor the vet seems to think the dog is in any pain at present. Alvin also receives Reiki massages to help build up his strength.

With any luck, the treatments and massages will help little Alvin heal before he finds a forever home. But as someone who works with a lot of pets with unique health problems, Bonser’s open to medical marijuana as a treatment option.

“Even being in recovery myself,” she says, “I believe in the benefits.”

And she’s not alone.

With almost half the states in the U.S. giving medical marijuana legalization the green light (and with recreational use OK’d in places like Colorado and Washington D.C.), the next big question seems to be whether pets, like humans, could benefit from the medicinal qualities of the plant-based drug.

Nevada was about to be the first state in the nation to pass a bill allowing medical marijuana for pets with chronic disease – until it was defeated in legislature. And while the American Veterinary Medical Association has not taken an official stance on the issue, some pet parents who have found little to no relief from more traditionally accepted pharmaceuticals are pushing for alternatives in what feels like the Wild West of veterinary medicine.

  • Pennsylvania unveils draft guidelines for medical marijuana program
  • South Jersey father who fought to change medical marijuana laws dies

There are quite a few companies (mostly based in the Pacific Northwest and California) experimenting with weed-based edibles to help treat pets, like Canna Companion in Mill Creek, Washington. Their digestible hemp-based capsules are legal as over-the-counter pet supplements in all states, though they have not been FDA-approved or regulated.

“In general, hemp can assist in all the same ailments we find medical marijuana aiding in the human fields: arthritis, IBD/IBS, pancreatic inflammation/pain, neurological conditions, cancer-associated symptoms, glaucoma, etc.,” says Sarah Brandon, executive director of Canna Companion USA.

As part of a more alternative approach to holistic care for pets, researchers have worked to remove chemicals that would cause highs in animals. It’s similar to the way in which cannabinoids are produced to treat seizures and other medical conditions in children – one gets the medicinal effect of the drug without the side effects.

“These compounds are not considered drugs,” explains Brandon. “We mimic the natural hemp plant.”

Who’s a good candidate?

Pet parents typically look to medical marijuana products for their pets after having to face severe conditions that have been unresponsive to pharmaceuticals and that tend to fall into a few common categories: inflammatory, pain, neurological or anxiety.

“They are tired of their four-legged friends having adverse effects from other therapies,” says Brandon, “therapies not working to provide an improved quality of life, or feeling helpless during terminal illnesses. They realize human children are responding well, having improved qualities of life and less adverse effects from other therapies and wonder if their dog or cat would respond in kind.”

Brandon spends a lot of time counseling pet owners on the most appropriate expectations based on a pet’s diagnosis and focuses more on quality of life than cures.

“More often than not,” she says, “we are able to help their pet feel better when traditional therapies have not done [so].”

Best-case scenarios could mean relieving a dog’s chronic pain or a cat’s seizures or inducing an animal to eat more during cancer treatments without side effects commonly caused by pharmaceuticals.

Unfortunately, there’s little data surrounding the benefits of cannabis use in animals. Most studies usually deal with toxicity, or what happens when pets accidentally ingest the drug. There is very little evidence of its effectiveness outside patient trials conducted by the companies themselves.

A call to the Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania yielded very little in terms of data about how marijuana could impact pet health for the better. Most of the treatments being explored at this internationally known research and teaching facility have more to do with accidental overdose, a very clear and present danger for furry friends as more people have access to the drug in their own homes.

Vets also have very little wiggle room when it comes to prescribing medical marijuana in most states, including in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. There are also notable differences between the marijuana a human may use and a product that is created specifically for an animal, particularly when it comes to delivery and dosage. A pot brownie that a human eats, for example, is not only dangerous for a pet because of the cannabis, but it’s also toxic because of the chocolate. Pet owners really need to do their homework and consult with their vets before giving any supplement to a pet.

How does it work?

One of these states is California, where VETCBD has developed a medical-grade cannabis product for pets that’s administered using a dropper. The cannabis extract, which is non-psychoactive, is being used to treat pets with a range of ailments, including cancer, seizures, pain and anxiety. And while the product isn’t currently available in our region, that could change when Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law comes into play.

“Animals can benefit from the medicinal aspects of marijuana in the same way that people can,” says Kate Scott, a veterinary nurse at VETCBD in Orange County. “Pets have used VETCBD for seizure control, pain, anxiety, arthritis, nausea and loss of appetite.”

The tincture, which is sold exclusively in dispensaries throughout the state, is specific to each patient depending on symptoms and weight – it can be dropped into food or directly into an animal’s mouth. The ingredients come from the same batches produced for humans in the company’s backyard.

Jess Cosca, who handles business development for Treatibles and Auntie Dolores, two companies that produce edible weed in San Francisco, is a Philly ex-pat who’s helped to introduce new chews for pets.

Treatibles come in a variety of sizes and flavors for your pets.

Some of the most common ailments owners have questions about are joint pain, inflammation, separation anxiety, seizures and palliative care.

“While a human suffering from cancer may be able to ingest 1,000 milligrams of THC,” Cosca says, “a dog would respond negatively to even low doses of THC.”

The Treatibles being sold online and at select retailers (more than 50,000 bags so far) are made from medical-grade hemp with a low dose of THC (0.3 percent, to be exact). Each bag has clear dosage instructions on the back, dependent upon the weight of the animal.

“We’ve heard from thousands of customers who have used our products on their animals, everything from dogs to lizards to skunks, and found no adverse side effects,” says Cosca. “The unfortunate reality is most of our customers find little hope in traditional pharmaceuticals and, like many pet owners, would do anything to make sure their furry companions aren’t suffering.”

The ingredients and suggested usage for Treatibles.

In some cases, dogs with severe epilepsy go from taking phenobarbital, potassium bromide and Valium to pre-emptively managing seizures with medical marijuana and hemp-based edibles. A 15-year-old Lab mix named Gypsy who has severe arthritis due to a metal implant in her hip is one of Cosca’s favorite success stories.

“She couldn’t walk or jump without yelping in pain,” she says, “and refused to take her prescribed tramadol.”

Once her owners started her on edibles, she began running more and yelping less. She was even fetching tennis balls again – something that hadn’t happened in years.

“More and more people are learning about the medical benefits of marijuana for themselves and loved ones,” Scott says. “Our pets are living longer and fuller lives now, and with age, comes certain ailments. Our goal is to bring comfort, happiness and freedom to pets and their owners.”

What are the dangers?

Tina Wismer, medical director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Philly, says that because the nature of marijuana has changed during the past decade with an increased interest in edibles, so has the risk to pets.

“Edibles (cookies, brownies, etc.) and other concentrates, like wax and shatter, are becoming more common today,” she warns. “These products have high levels of THC. Dogs and cats will readily ingest marijuana and become intoxicated.”

The most common clinical signs of marijuana intoxication are depression, ataxia and urinary incontinence. Other signs include agitation, vocalization, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, high heart rate and low blood pressure.

“Animals that get into edibles or concentrates may have seizures or become comatose,” Wismer says. “Clinical signs can be seen as soon as 30 minutes after oral ingestion and may last up to 72 hours [much longer than when people smoke it].”

Because this burgeoning medical marijuana industry for pets is self-regulating, there are some red flags that pet owners should be aware of, like how products that claim to be free of solvents, like ethanol or butane, may not be. Butane, for one, is very dangerous to dogs and cats – and yet it can be found in some of the most popular products on the market.

“Nothing is harm-free,” explains Brandon, “which is why we list adverse effects on our website and have veterinary professionals [students under our tutelage, nurses and doctors] available to discuss individual cases or specific concerns anytime.”

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Some side effects to watch out for: sedation, temporary wobbly gait, gastrointestinal upset and red or itchy skin. Most are temporary, Brandon says, but it’s important to monitor any pet that’s taking a supplement for allergic reactions that are lasting. There are records of pets that have actually died after ingesting marijuana-laced foods.

In a recent survey of U.S. veterinarians conducted by Pets Best Pet Health Insurance, the third-most common toxin for which veterinarians treat dogs is marijuana (behind chocolate and rat poison). Just because a drug responds well in humans does not necessarily mean the same will be true for pets. There are many substances that are great for people but not pets – like grapes, avocados and garlic.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have any idea what the appropriate dose for dogs [or cats] is,” Wismer says. “We have had animals that ingest these cannabidiol products and still develop signs like animals that get into THC. It is unknown if this is what happens in an overdose, or since these products are not regulated, what is really in them. More true research, not anecdotal evidence, is needed.”

What happens next?

What we already do know is that cannabinoid-based drugs have been used for quite some time in the U.S. The commonly prescribed drug Nabilone is a synthetic cannabinoid that’s used to treat everything from nausea and vomiting to chronic pain.

“We expect and hope that in the near future,” says Scott, “laws change such that we can help pets and their owners across the country.”

The question is whether there will be sufficient research showing real benefits to pets beyond company research. UPenn is expected to conduct research in the coming year, but don’t expect to roll Fido a proverbial doobie anytime soon.