Is Cannabis Safe for Pets?

Medically reviewed by Michael Matthews, M.D.
24 February 2020
Many people rely on cannabis to get rid of pain, stress, anxiety and other issues, but what about pets?
24 February 2020
16 min read
Is Cannabis Safe for Pets?

Pets are like your children that need help when they are sick. Unlike us, they cannot communicate what they are actually suffering from, so the onus is on you to find out and help them. Many people rely on cannabis to get rid of pain, stress, anxiety and other issues, but what about pets? Is cannabis safe for pets? Or will they not be able to manage the effects? Let’s find out...

Truth be told, many people claim that their pets are completely okay even after consuming a few buds. We all have mischievous pets that eat straight from our grow rooms, but since there’s no evidence of the positive effects, we cannot recommend it.

Since cannabis can be consumed in many forms including buds, edibles, concentrates, and oils, you can always use oils to make your pets a bit more comfortable. When you think of cannabis oil, though, remember that it might also contain THC and other cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. Such types of oils containing all the terpenes and cannabinoids of the plant are generally referred to as full-spectrum oils. Thanks to CBD legalized in all states, it’s not really an issue to purchase them even for your pets.

CBD oil for pets

With CBD oil becoming famous everywhere, you’ll see ones that are advertised specifically for pets as well. Both medicinal and recreational marijuana is becoming legal in most states but CBD is different.

The cannabis plant contains more than 120 different cannabinoids. These are complex compounds occurring naturally in the plant. Out of all these cannabinoids, the ones that are most popular are CBD and THC. THC behaves very similar to the endocannabinoids present in the human system, but it produces psychoactive effects.

While some of us may be perfectly okay with THC’s tendency to make us high, we cannot expect our pets to think the same. No matter how funny it seems, never blow cannabis or any type of smoke on your pet’s face. There are scores of dogs and cats that actually love marijuana and even make it obvious by stealing buds when you aren’t looking, but there are many other pets that cannot stand cannabis.

Regardless of whether your pet loves or dislikes marijuana, you can certainly try helping them using CBD oils. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t produce any psychotropic effects. When THC binds to the receptors present in our body, CBD changes the structure of the receptors and actually reduces the negative effects of THC to a great extent.

For this very reason, CBD oil is safe and can be used for pets.

Why use CBD oil for pets?

Is Cannabis Safe for Pets?: Dog Brain

The image above shows the important functions of a dog’s brain. Note how it explains how cannabis affects different parts of the brain. However, while the picture demonstrates the usage of cannabis in general, we are talking specifically about CBD here. While there are no studies to prove how CBD helps pets, there are many testimonials from dog owners all over the internet.

In fact, CHF (Canine Health Foundation) has also sponsored a study to evaluate the benefits of CBD and how it can potentially treat problems in pets. At this moment there’s no definitive proof, sure, but don’t forget that there are millions of pet owners that have found CBD to help pets with:

Arthritis – Just like CBD has proven beneficial for humans suffering from arthritis, it can help your pets as well. Arthritis eventually makes it difficult for your pets to be mobile after a while, so try CBD oil and you’ll definitely witness the difference.

Seizures – Like humans, many pets suffer from epilepsy. It can make life difficult for your furry friends. While CBD has already proven that it can help patients with epilepsy, you can rest assured that it will help your pets as well.

*A note on dosage*

Your physician will be more than happy to give you the exact dosage of CBD. However, if your pet isn’t suffering from any particular disease and you want to use CBD oil to simply improve the quality of his/her life, you can start with the lowest dosage and then increase it slowly with time.

How to choose CBD oil for pets

Just like you’re choosy while picking up stuff for your children or loved ones, you will obviously want the best for your pets. Due to lack of regulations, just about anyone can start selling CBD and nobody will even bat an eyelid. This encourages several fake products on the market. Since CBD is usually sold as a supplement, the usual regulations applied for other medicinal products will not work for CBD. Thus, it’s your responsibility to do your research and then select the best product. 

Is Cannabis Safe for Pets?: CBD for dogs

Here are a few ways to ensure that you get pure and unadulterated CBD:

  1. Get full-spectrum oils 

There are many types of CBD oils including full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and CBD isolates. While CBD isolates contain nothing other than CBD, it’s recommended that you go for full-spectrum oils. Why? Well, full-spectrum oils contain all cannabinoids of the plant including THC and CBD.

Along with the cannabinoids, the oil also contains terpenes and flavonoids that offer many other health benefits. Now, you’re probably worried about the THC, but since most oils contain less than 0.3% THC, it’s not really a big deal. Plus, CBD reduces the side effects of THC, so you don’t need to worry.

Broad-spectrum oils are also good but they don’t contain any THC. Despite what you’re made to believe, THC has a wide range of benefits that can really help you. Many physicians prescribe high-THC oils for their patients so that the recovery is faster. Thus, full-spectrum oils are the best for your precious pets.

  1. Take a look at how the oil was made

Most CBD companies will tell you exactly how the oil was extracted. CBD oil can be extracted through many techniques including the use of butane, but residues of butane in the oil can be a major concern. Therefore, choose oils that are made through CO2 extraction. In this process, carbon dioxide or CO2 extracts all the phytochemicals from the plant. While it acts like a solvent itself, it doesn’t possess any of the dangers that are associated with other solvents like butane.

  1. Don’t look for the cheapest product

Is Cannabis Safe for Pets?: Dog taking CBD

While it’s a necessity to bargain and save money while purchasing products, the same cannot be true for medical products. It takes time and effort to extract CBD. Thus, it’s actually expensive. Also, you’ll find cheap CBD products available in many stores now, but don't purchase it unless you’re sure that it’s pure CBD.

  1. Analyze the label

You must do this no matter what product you buy. The label may seem unimportant, but it actually is, especially when you’re buying something like CBD. While most companies offer CBD, THC, other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in their full-spectrum oils, there are other manufacturers that may use artificial corn syrup, vitamin C and other supplements in the product.

Although these extra ingredients don’t really alter the effectiveness of the oil itself, it simply doesn’t make sense to add anything else to your oil. Also, when the label says 500mg, make sure it’s actually 500mg of CBD and not hemp! Due to the actual CBD being expensive, you can expect unscrupulous activities from many manufacturers.

  1. Do not purchase anything without lab reports

As simple as that. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide lab reports, simply walk away!

CBD oil is certainly beneficial for pets, and you will know only once you get them. Even if your pet is healthy, CBD oil will improve the quality of his life, so give it a try and see if it helps!


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