A Guide to Cannabis for Pets: Benefits, Risks, and Expert Insights - Royal Apothecary

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A Guide to Cannabis for Pets: Benefits, Risks, and Expert Insights

Similar to us humans, cannabis has been shown to have several health benefits for our pets as well.

Among them, some of the most common include pain, arthritis, seizures, and anxiety. Luckily, with the use of CBD in limited amounts, the main medicinal compound found in cannabis plants, you can offer a lot of relief to your favorite and loyal companion.

As a completely non-intoxicating and edible compound, CBD does not lead to any side effects or ‘high’, nor any pain during its ingestion as is the case with medicinal injections. So you don’t have to worry about your dog going paranoid or throwing tantrums.

Available as animal feed in several flavours and forms, these CBD-infused products for pets can be bought from any local dispensary, CBD retailer, or online store.

Before you get going with your shopping spree, let’s find out a bit more about cannabis for pets.

What is CBD for Pets?

CBD or cannabidiol is the main medicinal compound found in cannabis that is opposite to its counterpart THC.

The latter is the main psychoactive compound or cannabinoid that is responsible for the infamous effects of marijuana such as the high, the laughter, and the feelings of euphoria or sometimes paranoia.

For pets; however, CBD does not come from marijuana but hemp. To be specific, any cannabis plant with more than 0.3% THC is called marijuana; whereas, those that do not exceed this limit are referred to as hemp which is being legalised for farming and medicinal purposes in many states and nations.

Hemp, in general, has a higher CBD content and is mainly cultivated for food, beverages, supplements, fabrics, and personal care. 

Therefore, while giving a taste of THC to your dog may not be a great idea, lest you want to compromise your sleep; treating him to a bit of CBD or hemp might just do wonders for his overall wellbeing. Especially, when it comes in the form of cookies, brownies, gummies, capsules, and pills!

How does CBD Work for Dogs and Cats?

Sourced from natural hemp, CBD works the same way for pets as it does for humans.

That is, by reacting or combining with the CBD receptors (CB1 and CB2) that are naturally present throughout our bodies and in other mammals.

Better known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), it is what is responsible for maintaining balance across various physiological processes of our bodies including pain, sleep, appetite, mood, and immunity.

There are two ways in which CBD enhances the body’s ability to use its endocannabinoids.

  • By regulating the CB1 or CB2 receptors for better functionality.
  • By inhibiting the enzymes that are responsible for synthesizing and breaking down endocannabinoids. Thus increasing their levels and prolonging their effects.

By interacting with the ECS, CBD offers several health benefits for dogs and cats including pain relief, reduced inflammation, lack of anxiety, and better sleep.

Benefits of Cannabis for Pets

Despite limited research, pet owners have shown an immense interest in the potential therapeutic effects of cannabis, especially CBD.

If we were to believe anecdotal reports, pet owners have found CBD products to be quite helpful in the treatment of pain, arthritis, seizures, and anxiety.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), CBD, in particular, holds promising effects in the treatment of epilepsy, and chronic pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. 

Another study reported that cannabis can be used to treat behaviour-based disorders in pets such as fear-based aggression aside from pain, seizures, and nausea.

All-in-all, there are several health benefits of CBD products for dogs, cats, and horses. These are relief from itching, anxiety, pain, nausea, poor appetite, seizures, cancer, digestive problems, inflammation, immune disease, and reduced mobility.

Regardless of these therapeutic claims, there is limited evidence about the use of CBD in animals. 

Expert Opinions and Research about cannabis for pets

While most cannabis-derived products for pets are not FDA-approved, many wellness companies are selling them for their nutritional and therapeutic value.

And although veterinarians are not allowed to sell these products yet; recommending them for pets is still not against the law.

It is for this reason, that the market for cannabis products is rather large and rapidly growing as we speak. Close to $200 million in sales already, the CBD market is expected to grow at a relatively greater CAGR of 31.8% between 2023 to 2030.

Despite the lack of evidence-based research and conflicting legislation surrounding its use, certain guidelines have emerged as of late for veterinarians and pet owners alike. These are:


Since a single dosing regimen may not work the same way or as efficiently as it should across all the types of CBD products, finding the right dosage is pretty crucial.

In that, your pet’s weight, size, and medical conditions (if any) play a key role. To be safe, it’s better to start with a low dosage and gradually increase from there if needed.

The timing of feeding or dosage can also have a profound effect on the absorption of CBD. Thus, it is better to stick to the same window of timing for CBD consumption every day.

2. Quality

CBD products for pets should also profess the highest quality of the content that is free from any THC whatsoever.

Make sure that whichever product you have bought has gone through the necessary testing for purity and potency.

3. Form

The type of product that contains CBD may also change the rate of absorption and efficacy, thus, the overall result. So choose the best type of CBD product that suits the animal.

Risks of Cannabis for Pets

Since CBD does not accumulate in the body over time, as is the case with THC; using it for prolonged periods is not harmful either.

Even when combined with other drugs, CBD does not seem to have any negative effects.

The only risk associated with cannabis for pets is cannabis toxicosis which arises due to over-exposure to edibles. And even that is not clear as it could also be due to the additional toxic ingredients present in these edibles such as chocolate or raisins. 

Overexposure to cannabis edibles by dogs and cats can lead to sedation, sleepiness, or a hyperactive appetite. 

Other temporary effects may include drowsiness, dry mouth, low blood pressure, and gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhoea, vomiting, and salivation. Here’s the complete list.

Nonetheless, most dog and cat owners consider hemp products to be way more effective than other treatments and medications.

Best Practices for Using Cannabis with Pets

As I said earlier, the dosage, form, and quality of CBD products are some of the most important factors to consider when using cannabis on pets.

Apart from that, here’s what you need to look for:

  • Seal of quality assurance such as the the National Animal Supplement Counsel (NASC), or any other third-party certificate that mentions the potency and ingredients level of the product.
  • Avoid human-oriented CBD edibles as they often contain ingredients such as xylitol that are rather harmful and toxic to animals.
  • Choose products that have other minor cannabinoids such as CBN or terpenes in them along with CBD. FYI, when found in conjunction, CBD seems to have a better effect. Just make sure to avoid THC at all costs.

Cannabis Dosing Tips for Pets

Since every animal has a different set of endocannabinoid receptors, hitting the right amount of dosage may also vary from individual to individual.

As a thumb rule, you should always start slow with a lower dosage of CBD initially and then take it from there if you need to increase the level.

But beware! Cannabis or CBD to be specific, has a biphasic effect, which means too little or too much of it may not work.

So look for the right note or dosage and stick to it unless it doesn’t give your pet the desired effects.

Ideally, you should aim for about 0.1 or 0.2 mg of CBD edibles for every one kilogram of your dog’s weight which should be given to him twice daily and orally.

As far as CBD tinctures or oils are concerned, start with 1 drop of it per 10 lbs of your dog’s body weight per day and gradually move to 2 drops after a week or so. 

Where to get CBD for pets in California?

The popularity of CBD for pets can be seen firsthand as soon as you enter CBD for pets near me in Google or any other major search engine.

Among them is the Royal Apothecary Dispensary which sells all kinds of CBD edibles for pets including bites, wraps, and CBD gummies for pets in California.

Sold in 100mg packs, these products maintain the highest quality of medicinal cannabis or CBD.

For a health-oriented drug, CBD edibles may very well be one of the tastiest and mouth-drooling treats you can give your pets.

For more info and instant order placement, you can always download their iPhone app.

On that note, we wish you a happy pet-caring and petting with these herbal CBD products.

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