In late December 2020, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law House Bill 5085, allowing veterinarians to consult with pet owners on the use of hemp or marijuana products for their animals. A legislative analysis, titled “Allow Consultation with Veterinarian on Use of Marijuana or Industrial Hemp on an Animal”, notes that it opens up the vets’ freedom to either advice against or recommend offering pets cannabis in different forms. Research has shown the ability of cannabis to aid in the management of common ailments in pets, such as lowering stress levels and reducing inflammation.
Read the full legislative analysis here.
“Supporters argue that, just as humans need individualized health care and advice, so too do our pets,” according to the legislative analysis. “Some pets may benefit from medicines or other applications derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, while others may experience adverse effects.” The analysis continues that the laws ensure complete pet health care, “allowing veterinarians to become a trusted source of information, in a marketplace with many competing and confusing claims, would ultimately benefit both pets’ health and owners’ peace of mind.”
While Michigan law bans the sale of CBD (cannabidiol) pet and animal feeds and treats, residents may add products like CBD oils to pet food. However, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development notes safe levels for animal consumption are yet to be established.
CBD is a natural extract from the cannabis plant. It has less than 0.3% THC, so it does not intoxicate users. However low the THC content, there are psychoactive properties that are still in the substance and useful. Fortunately, pets do not hallucinate or get high from consuming CBD-infused products.
If you have a pet who frequently becomes afraid or anxious, CBD may help reduce their stress levels. The chemical interacts with brain receptors, reducing the effect stress signals have on a pet’s body. Heavy storms and fireworks startle many animals, and CBD on hand may keep animals from feeling too anxious about what is going on around them. Research shows that CBD is a natural way to reduce a pet’s fear without prescription medication side effects.
Helps Pets with Pain
Many pets have been shown to experience less pain when CBD is introduced into their systems. The pain may come from certain body parts or inflammation of cells. The anti-inflammatory properties in CBD can help calm a pet’s joint inflammation, reducing their pain. This makes cannabis products suitable for older dogs that end up with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Now that there is a law that allows it, pet owners should discuss such supplements with their veterinarian before treating them with CBD.
Another benefit that requires more research before verification as a cure is CBD has shown to be quite effective at improving pet appetite and reducing their nauseousness. Reducing nausea is critical to stop the elderly and sick pets from throwing up often.
The next time you are worried about a pet’s well-being, consider getting a CBD-based product. Make sure you clear any doubts or worries about using CBD products by consulting your veterinarian during the next check-up.