Is Cannabis Safe for Pets?

Anyone who owns a fur baby understands that a bond with a pet is true love. You would do anything to keep them happy and healthy. And while weed makes us humans happy and healthy, it’s important to ask: is cannabis safe for pets?

The short answer is no. The complicated answer is sometimes. But one thing to know for sure is that THC can produce harsh side effects in animals.

THC and Pets

THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, gets us high by reacting with our bodies’ natural system – the endocannabinoid system – which our pets have as well. But while humans usually just get stoned, giggly, and hungry, it’s a different story for our pets. Cats and dogs can easily suffer from what vets call “cannabis poisoning.” So, is cannabis safe for pets? No.

If fur babies ingest too much THC, you might notice some scary symptoms (side note: THC also stays in a pet’s body way longer than in a person’s, so effects can last up to 24 hours. Dogs actually have the most THC receptors in their hind brain of any species). They might start twitching, rocking, or have difficulty moving overall. Lots of times, pets that ingest THC will even start throwing up or lose all control of their bladder. In extreme cases, THC can even cause seizures or even death. It’s never a good idea to give your pet weed, period.

CBD and Pets

That’s not to say that ALL cannabis products are bad for pets. In fact, many CBD companies make tinctures, treats, and other products specifically designed for animals. While CBD is also a compound in cannabis that’s full of health benefits, it’s different from THC because it doesn’t get you high. CBD for pets comes from hemp rather than the cannabis plant, and THC concentrations in hemp max out at 0.3% – so there’s no chance of your dog or cat experiencing those nasty side effects from ingesting too much THC.

The effects of THC and CBD on pets has hardly been studied because of weed’s illegal status in the United States, but two recent studies show that CBD can help increase a dog’s appetite while also decreasing nausea. CBD can also help animals suffering from arthritis, cancer, and epilepsy. But CBD still isn’t approved by any animal organization as a form of treatment. In fact, it’s actually illegal for vets to prescribe cannabis in any form to pets.

Buying CBD for Your Pet

If you do want to take the CBD route for your fluffy friend, make sure you’re getting the good stuff. CBD products for your pets should always be derived from hemp to keep the THC levels super low or non-existent, and products should also come with a Certificate of Analysis that proves the product is good quality and contains the dosage that the packaging claims it does.

Hemp-based CBD products are legal in the US and have very safe side effects, if any. But if your pet accidentally gets into that weed brownie you were saving for the weekend, call your vet or Animal Poison Control right away. Remember that for pets, ingesting too much THC can be fatal. So keep your stash locked away, your fur baby safe, and yourself stoned – just means there’s more for you, right?

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