Pets and Cannabis

Can You Safely Treat Your Pets with Cannabis?

| April 20, 2022

In short, the answer is not yet. You cannot safely treat your pets with cannabis. Here’s why. 

There is No Legal Pathway for Veterinarians to Prescribe Cannabis to Pets

The current Access of Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR) only applies to “persons” and can only be authorized by physicians and nurse practitioners.  

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) has been advocating for cannabidiol as a veterinary health product for some time, but this has not passed yet.   

Other Pet Cannabis Products are Not Regulated

Since there is no legal pathway for vets to prescribe cannabis to pets, some pet parents are resorting to using potentially dangerous products intended for human consumption or using products currently available on the market without proper guidance and oversight from their veterinarians. Because of this, cannabis poisoning is on the rise in pets.

The pet products sold at cannabis shops are not in compliance with Canadian regulation and are not regulated by any agency, which can be very dangerous for your pets. A recent Canadian study tested the composition of unapproved cannabis products that are currently available on the market. The study mentions that “the vague and imprecise nature of labelling on some products make deriving an accurate dose for a specific cannabinoid impractical … no evidence of efficacy or safety is presented to justify the dose recommendations for any product.”  

Because these products aren’t available for a clinic trial, or veterinarian approved, pet parents who choose to use cannabis to treat their pet are responsible for checking the quality and suitability of the product before purchase.  

Sign of Toxicity

According to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), it can be extremely dangerous for pets if they consume cannabis as they’re far more sensitive than we are. There is also a lack of scientific data with regards to dosage, frequency of administration, or even side effects. We simply don’t know enough.  

If your pet has gotten in cannabis, contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic near you. These are signs of toxicity to look for:  

– Difficulty walking; lack of balance and coordination

– Fatigue or weakness

– Excesses salivation

– Vomiting

– Dilated pupils

– Tremours or seizures

– Disorientation

They will likely ask you to bring your pet in to assess the situation. Do not hesitate to tell them exactly what they may have consumed. Your veterinarian is concerned about your pet’s well-being and less interested in you having or using cannabis.  

Not Yet, But Maybe One Day

There is a therapeutic promise that pet parents will be able to access safe cannaboid products once there is a regulatory framework. Check out the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannaboid Medicine (CAVCM) for more information.