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The ABC’s of CBD Products: Should I give my Pet Cannabis?

The ABC’s of CBD Products: Should I give my Pet Cannabis?

               With legalization of medical marijuana in many states, including Pennsylvania, many people have been tempted to try CBD oils and other cannabis products for their pets. But what is CBD used for and do these compounds really work? How much should you give? Can your veterinarian provide CBD to your pet?  Read on to learn the answers!

               First, even though medical marijuana for humans is now approved in many states, this does not currently give license for veterinarians to prescribe CBD, medical marijuana or cannabis products of any kind to pets in any state. 

             Are CBD products considered medical marijuana? No, they are currently characterized as supplements, but this definition is up for debate and could change.

            Are CBD products safe?  Generally, yes. Only two reports of fatal toxicity from marijuana exist in the veterinary literature.  However, marijuana and derivatives can be toxic to pets.  They may be especially attracted to products like edibles and become sick from accidental ingestion or exposed via second hand smoke. Marijuana can cause lethargy, difficulty walking and vomiting. Other symptoms can include irregular heart rate, agitation, trouble regulating temperature, dribbling urine, tremors, seizures and potentially coma. Signs of toxicity can be seen within minutes to hours after exposure and can last 30 minutes to several days depending on the dose ingested. Remember, marijuana plants or products containing true marijuana should never be given to pets. CBD supplements are slightly different but should still be used with caution.

            There are also concerns that some products may contain pesticides or other contaminants, and no cannabis products for pets are FDA approved.  In addition, purity, quality and strength of CBD and other products varies widely. There is little to no regulation of CBD containing products at this time therefore the safety and efficacy of over the counter CBD oils, treats, etc. cannot be guaranteed.

            What are CBD and other canabadiol products used for in veterinary medicine and are CBD products effective?  While there is currently no evidence for efficacy of CBD or other marijuana products in companion animals, there are veterinary studies in progress and compelling data in humans that suggest that cannabanoids may be useful for medical conditions like pain, anxiety, seizures, nausea and cancer.  However, as of this time, products should be used with caution for treating these and other conditions in pets. Veterinarians do not currently have appropriate information on dosing or safe, effective formulations of CBD.

            Veterinary studies exploring the possible use of CBD and other compounds for companion animals are underway particularly for use for pain and seizure disorders, but it may be some time before vets can safely and legally recommend or prescribe CBD for pets. If you choose to try a CBD product for your pet, just remember, it may not do what it is intended to do, use with caution and be aware of signs of toxicity. 

This blog brought to you by the Patton Veterinary Hospital serving York, Red Lion and the surrounding communities.



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    Very nice pet hospital. We were extremely pleased. Impressed by the education they give you as well. Our dog had her teeth cleaned and the nurse spent 10 minutes going over post-op procedures. Also we needed to come back in one week to have sutures looked at and they don't charge you an office visit for that like Leader Heights Animal Hospital would do


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    The entire staff is courteous, friendly, and helpful. They all seem to have a true love for all pets. They follow-up promptly and we have never had a problem with any of the doctors (Dr. Doug is our primary) or any of the other staff.

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