Canine cannabis: Why some vets advise against giving pot to pets

SAVANNAH, GA (WSAV) – A controversial method of treating pets with marijuana is sweeping the nation.

While marijuana in Georgia is not legal for humans, cannabis extract for pets is. More veterinarians are prescribing cannabis extract, hemp seed in the form of oil or capsules, to treat arthritis, cancer and anxiety in pets. However, although the cannabis extract has low levels of THC, Veterinarians cannot guarantee that their furry patients aren’t getting high.

Kari Jenkins, the Medical Director for Tybee Island, Whitmarsh and Savannah Animal Care, told News 3, “the good news is that pets don’t have to do higher logic or operate motor vehicles, anything like that, so some of those complex functions that we worry about being bothered in humans aren’t as big of an issue in dogs.”

However, Jenkins does not recommend the product to her patients because pets vary in size, breed and metabolism, and the correct dosage amounts for each are still unclear.

“We don’t want to make recommendations that are actually going to make your pets worse, and anytime you’re introducing something new or carefully studied, that has to be taken into careful consideration,” said Jenkins.

She also told News 3 that she is concerned humans may show a false positive on drug tests after living in a house with cannabis extract for a period of time. She’s also hesitant that the marijuana may mask the animals warning behaviors when they’re anxious or uncomfortable. However, Jenkins remains optimistic that in a couple of years, her clinics will be able to lend a paw a helping hand after more experimentation.

“With a little bit more refinement in dosing and a little bit more research on how to go about monitoring these patients I think we’re going to see a lot more use for it in the future and I’m looking forward to seeing those coming out so that we as clinicians can be more comfortable making recommendations either for or against products,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins also advises News 3 viewers to inform their local veterinarian if they choose to give their pets cannabis oil so that they may avoid interference with other prescribed medication.

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