There are many corporations out there touting the benefits of their medical cannabis products for dogs. How much of this is a sales pitch, and how much is actually backedup by research? Unfortunately, while the benefits of medical cannabis are well established for humans, there isn’t much research on medical marijuana for dogs. We’ll walk you through the research and consider what you should consider before giving your dog medical cannabis.

The Research on Dogs and Cannabis

Very little research has been conducted on how cannabis affects dogs. The research that has been conducted so far focuses on CBD products and not THC. As CBD may help humans with epilepsy, one study sought to discover if CBD could help dogs with epilepsy. The dogs given CBD had fewer seizures, but the study was small and needs to be repeated for researchers to draw conclusions.

The next study was conducted by a CBD company, so it may be biased. It found that eighty percent of the dogs in the study saw pain relief when given CBD. The study only looked at 22 dogs, all of whom had pain from osteoarthritis. This study does not indicate that CBD will help dogs with other kinds of pain.

A third study completed in February 2021 found that CBD did decrease the aggression response of dogs in shelters without decreasing their overall activity. However, this study, as the others, had a very small sample size. It does not definitely prove that CBD could help with dog behavioral issues.

Ultimately, more research is needed before we know whether cannabis can help dogs for pain, seizures, behavioral issues, or other conditions. Currently, the FDA does not approve of medical cannabis for dogs and hasn’t released safe dosage recommendations.

What Do Veterinarians Say?

In some states, veterinarians may be penalized for even discussing medical cannabis for your pet with you, including licensesuspension. However, in California, the law protects vets who talk to pet owners about cannabis options for their pets. If your vet is still reluctant, you may be able to find a vet who will discuss the possibility with you.

At least one vet, Dr. Klein, the AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, argues that CBD (and not THC) has anti-inflammatory, antinausea, anti-anxiety and other benefits that may also apply to dogs. Although, the AKC acknowledges that there is no research to support this.

Ultimately, your own vet is the best resource to help you make this decision. Dogs that respond poorly to other pain control options or who have conditions that CBD is already a treatment for in humans may be better candidates for experimental CBD treatment. Who knows, you may even be able to get your dog into a CBD study.

Cannabis Side-Effects in Dogs

If you chose to put your dog on CBD for medical reasons, what kind of sideeffects can you expect? Typical side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Drowsiness

These are normal and manageable side effects of CBD and not signs of an overdose. Although, you should still discuss side effects with your vet.