Marijuana, of course, is only one product of cannabis. Sources vary on the exact number, but cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of among 60 to over 100 distinct chemical compounds — called cannabinoids as a group — that can be derived from the plant. Acting on receptors in the brain, cannabidiol has proven effective in alleviating symptoms of human nervous system disorders, from multiple sclerosis to epilepsy.
However, there are veterinarians that support THC-free hemp supplements for animals. Miami-based veterinarian Dr. Patricia Khuly, VMD, has recommended hemp supplements to her patients, and has even made homemade versions using hemp oil for her pets. “I find they can be somewhat effective as part of a well rounded chronic pain protocol,” she tells Leafly—though she has never used them for pet anxiety or improving fur and skin. “Hemp oil sounds interesting for use in the same way fish oil would be implemented for these other indications,” she adds, “especially for my vegan clients who prefer to source non-animal based products for their pets.” She would like to see more research first, though.
Before you decide to slip your pup a sample—or even one of your edibles (hint: they can’t eat chocolate)—be warned that animals are incredibly sensitive to THC. This is due to abundant receptors in their brains, their heightened sensitivity, and their propensity for experiencing static ataxia. Like humans, dogs suffer from a variety of ailments, such as aching joints and anxiety, that could possibly benefit from treatment with cannabinoids. But because we know even less about the effects of cannabis on dogs than we do of its effects on humans, you should consult your veterinarian before proceeding further. Cannabis has the potential to cause numerous negative health effects in pets, and unlike in humans, it can even be lethal for your animal.