The Benefits and Risks of Using Cannabis for Pets

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It’s undeniable, medical cannabis is booming, but is it the best medicine for our pets? Not only are patients enjoying better access to cannabis, there has also been a tsunami of new research proving its potential medicinal value. Pet owners are also attracted to the possible medicinal benefits of cannabis for pets. If cannabis works so well for humans, why can’t its therapeutic value be extended to our four-legged, furry companions? So, what are the benefits and risks of using cannabis for pets? Cannabis for Pets: How Does it Work? To understand cannabis for pets, pet owners must first grasp cannabis as a medicinally valuable plant. Much of the plant’s therapeutic potential comes from the natural chemicals it contains, including over hundred compounds called cannabinoids. Different strains or chemovars means different combinations of cannabinoids, creating a unique cannabinoid profile. The most famous cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Scientists have already linked these compounds with multiple medical benefits as far-ranging as pain relief, inflammation, epilepsy, and palliative care. Cannabinoids are unique in the way they interact with a physiological system called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors and chemical messages which is continuously working to keep the body in balance, which means regulating pain, appetite, mood, memory, and more. Most mammals have an endocannabinoid system, including pet owners and their pets. The cannabinoids from cannabis fit nicely into the endocannabinoid system, stepping in where needed if the system isn’t in balance and needs extra support. Much like with their human companions, the endocannabinoid systems of cats and dogs also regulate their appetite, mood, and pain. Dogs and cats, as mammals, have a remarkably similar endocannabinoid system to humans. But, there are some very important differences. The benefits and risks of using cannabis for pets…

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