Surgical-glove-clad hand holding cannabis. Graphic paw print image overlaid.

Considering a Cannabis Product for Your Dog? Here’s What You Should Know

In Medical Cannabis Products for Dogs: What You Should Know, the first of a two-part series, Sarah Silcox, DVM explains what you need to know about medical cannabis and for dogs. In this second part of the series, Dr. Silcox explains what you need to know if you’re considering a cannabis product for your pet,

There are currently no cannabis products approved by Health Canada for use in animals, and veterinarians are unable to prescribe, dispense or administer medical cannabis to patients.

Also, dogs seem to be particularly affected by cannabinoids, perhaps due to differences in the receptor distribution in their brains. And there is the potential for drug interactions when using cannabis products – even the THC free CBD products. It is therefore recommended that pet families avoid the use of products with any significant THC levels, as these can easily land your pet in the emergency room!

CBD is also known to be a potent inhibitor of a group of metabolic enzymes that are responsible for the metabolism of up to 50 percent of drugs vets use in clinical practice. And drugs not being metabolized properly can lead to increased levels of these drugs in the body.

This doesn’t mean that CBD cannot be used with other medications, but it is something that should be done in consultation with your veterinarian. What you shouldn’t do is change, or worse, discontinue your dog’s prescribed course of therapy for something “more natural.” This can have disastrous results for some animals, particularly when we are dealing with life-threatening issues such as seizures.

All in all, cannabis-based therapies are an exciting new area in veterinary medicine, but there is still a lot of work to be done! There needs to be a focus on continued education, research, and push for changes that will provide veterinarians legal access to products approved for use in animals.

In the meantime, if you think cannabis may be worth trying for your pet, be sure to discuss it with your veterinarian first.

BIO: Sarah Silcox, DVM is a Canadian veterinarian focused on Cannabinoid, Integrative, Hospice, and Emergency Medicine, and serves as the President and Director at Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine.

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