MARIJUANA AND OTHER CANNABIS PRODUCTS AND YOUR CAT OR DOG
Adapted from “Pets and Pot: Highlights on therapeutic marijuana and cannabinoids” Katie James. DVM360 magazine, December 27, 2107
Marijuana has over 450 unique chemicals in it. The most well-known of these are the cannabinoids, of which there are over seventy types. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the one responsible for the psychotropic effects (“getting high”) of marijuana. Another cannabinoid is Cannabidiol (CBD). It is the CBD that is reported to have many of the therapeutic benefits without the psychotropic effects.
Numerous states are decriminalizing marijuana and even more states are allowing physicians to prescribe marijuana or CBD products for the treatment of several illnesses. In some states veterinarians are also allowed to prescribe these products. We are, therefore, receiving numerous questions concerning the benefits and availability of cannabinoids. There is some clinical experience in other states which suggest that pets may benefit from some of the effects of CBD. Currently, though, no reliable data exists regarding the efficacy of any portion of the marijuana plant as an analgesic or for other therapeutic indications in companion animals. At the time of the writing of this summery (May 17, 2019) it is illegal for Virginia Beach veterinary clinic veterinarians to prescribe any of the cannabinoid products.
At this time most of the cases we see concerning pets and cannabinoids are due to toxic exposure of pets to marijuana. The majority of these cases are due to accidental exposure due to the pet eating a food item containing marijuana. Intentional exposure cases are also seen, but gladly rarely. Signs of toxicity can vary from case to case and may include a very fast or very slow heartbeat, an increased blood pressure, depression, staggering, vomiting, altered behavior, drooling, weakness, low body temperature, and seizures. Pets that have been exposed to these products should be evaluated by an animal hospital Virginia Beach veterinarian and may require hospitalization.
Studies that are being done now are to analyze the benefits, if any, of cannabinoids in humans. As those studies become documented and if pharmaceutical companies start to produce more products for human treatments, you can be sure that soon after that companion animal products will become much more widely available and used.