The American Veterinary Medical Association has been studying the growing trend of cannabis use for pet health, including the potential benefits and risks. They recently posted a statement about their perspective on this fast-evolving issue.
Here’s a quick summary of what you should know before using cannabis products on your dogs, cats, and other pets.
While many states have permitted the use of medicinal marijuana in humans, the AVMA notes that state laws legalizing its use in people do not apply to cannabis use in animals.
Many cannabis-derived products that have been marketed as safe and effective for animals have not gone through the usual FDA approval process.
The AVMA acknowledges that some products, especially CBD, have shown promise in the areas of epilepsy and pain management in pets, but scientific evidence specific to animals is very limited.
The AVMA also warns that laboratory analysis of pet cannabis products has found that many have been mislabeled, in terms of both the amounts and types of ingredients found in the products.
As of this date, only one cannabis medication (called Epidiolex) created for use in humans with seizure disorders has been approved by the FDA. This drug may be used by veterinarians in accordance with the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act.
Veterinarians have been sounding the alarm about accidental ingestion of cannabis in pets, especially the ingestion of marijuana edibles in dogs. Many of these edibles are also mixed with other ingredients that can be toxic to dogs, like chocolate.
Cannabis toxicity in pets can range from mild to severe, with some cases even leading to death, mostly associated with aspiration pneumonia.
As with other medications and supplements, be sure to talk to your veterinarian before using any cannabis products on your pet.