Has cannabis helped get your arthritic dog get back on his feet, or stopped your cat’s seizures in their tracks?
Scientists at the University of California, Davis want to hear from you.
They’ve launched a survey prompting pet owners to weigh in on whether cannabis products have helped their furry friends in one capacity or another.
Dr. Jamie Peyton, chief of Integrative Medicine Service for UC Davis, said there’s a serious lack of research on the efficacy of cannabis for pets.
"The information for human medical cannabis and recreational around the corner is there, and the access is there," she said.
"So I think there are a lot of owners that are really interested in looking into these products for their animals for pain, anxiety, seizures - the same issues we see in people.”
There are many pet treats and tinctures on the market today that contain CBD – the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis – but the legalities surrounding them are hazy.
Dr. Tim Shu is a California veterinarian and the founder of VETCBD, which makes CBD oil for cats and dogs. He told Civilized in an interview late last year that attitudes around treating pets with cannabis are rapidly shifting.
“Cannabis and pets has always been associated with toxicology, emergency trips to the hospital and things like that…because for so long, veterinarians were saying, ‘you have to keep marijuana away from your pets, otherwise they’ll end up in the ER’,” said Shu.
“[Now] there’s really no shortage of owners willing to try [CBD] for their pet because they’re impressed by the lack of side effects and the efficacy in comparison to a lot of the traditional prescriptions.”
While California veterinarians aren’t legally allowed to prescribe cannabis for pets, Shu said he’s recommended the treatment to “thousands” of animals. He said he’s seen some animals go from having multiple seizures in a week to once a month after taking cannabis medication.
The UC Davis research team wants to investigate these kinds of claims further and hopefully shed some much-needed light on the subject.
"There are so many products out there on the market, and when veterinarians are afraid to give advice about it because we don’t know, we don’t have enough research, it opens up a whole area of possible problems," Peyton said.
The anonymous UC Davis survey can be found here. It will be live for six months.