You and Bella are due at the Vet’s office in twenty minutes. All eighty pounds of her are wedged underneath the bed and you are tossing the cupboard looking for anything that will coax her out. Your nerves are shot thinking about dragging Bella into the clinic and odds are she will require sedation to be looked over properly, adding another $50-$200 to the bill.
This is only one of the many scenarios that cannabis could drastically improve. Imagine being able to feed Bella a treat 45 minutes prior and eliminating that fear and anxiety. Current research informs us that all mammals possess an Endocannabinoid System, ECS. The ECS is linked to the central and peripheral nervous system. THC, CBD, and THCV interact with cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors respectively. Research teams are working tirelessly to better understand the ECS, but we do know that our dogs and cats have one too.
CBD products have been very popular among pet owners that witness their pets suffer from seizures, chronic pain, cancer, anxiety, and so much more. Owners have reported these results to online platforms and to my vet techs and doctors. Decrease in overall pain, appetite stimulation, massive shifts in anxious behavior, and the list ongoing. The June 1 issue of the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association published a CBD clinical trial by Dr. McGrath, a neurologist at Colorado State University. McGrath conducted a small study that found 89% of dogs who received CBD over 12 weeks had a reduction in the frequency of seizure. The CBD drops used only contained 0.3% or less of the THC compound. Dr. McGrath is now conducting a much larger CBD trial, pushing her research further for dogs that suffer from Idiopathic Epilepsy.
While CBD alone is an astounding compound, current ECS research tells us that it is most effective to utilize CBD: THC ratios. Putting these compounds together creates the “entourage effect.” Essentially the amount that a specific cannabinoid interacts with the receptors of the ECS increases with the presence of other cannabinoids. This is why the varying amount of THC and CBD in your cannabis product can significantly change the way the cannabis affects your body. Are we robbing our furry friends of half the medicinal properties this plant has to offer?
THC toxicity can be an issue for canines. Working as an Emergency Veterinary Technician I have taken care of my fair share of cannabis toxicities. In 2002, a study of 250 marijuana toxicity cases found 96% of those sneaky snackers to be canines, 3% to be felines, and the remaining 1% was made up of other species. Your typical case is small dogs, as dosing for cannabis is directly related to body mass. Our main concern is what else the cannabis product contains, such as chocolate in an edible. If it is strictly THC the animal ingested we observe symptoms such as lethargy, in coordination, low body temperature, lack of interest in food, and slower heart rate. More severe cases, where a dog has ingested a large amount in relation to their size, we will see symptoms such as dysphoria, ataxia, severe hypothermia, coma, and even death. It is always important to remember that animals cannot consume THC as humans do, be mindful and only use animal approved products for your pet.
How do I know what is safe for my dog? The American Veterinary Journal published an article in January 2019 to help owners choose safe products for their pets. Stephen Cital, RVT explains the Certificate of Analysis. He recommends asking for a COA from any CBD products you are interested in. The COA provides you with a cannabinoid profile, terpene & flavonoid profiles, elemental analysis, and more. He concludes the article with a warning to stay cautious and ask questions as you search for the right product for your pet. Colorado State University, Cornell University, and the American Animal Hospital Association (to name a few) have produced strong research into how cannabis can make a difference for our four legged friends. Be mindful, this market is in its infancy. Always do your own research and talk with your Veterinarian about what treatment plan is right for you and your pet.
Article by: Andrea Harris