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Would You Give Cannabis Products To Your Pet?

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

In this Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, photo, Luke Byerly administers CBD oil to his 14-year-old beagle, Robbie, during a break at Byerly's job as a technician at a veterinary clinic in east Denver. People anxious to relieve suffering in their pets are increasingly turning to oils and powders that contain CBDs, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana.

Advocates say that CBD treats anxiety, pain and promotes better sleep and some scientific studies have backed up those claims.

Which is why people are turning to it to treat everything from insomnia to seizures.


Cannabidiol, or CBD, is derived from marijuana, but it is non-psychoactive, which means it doesn't get people high like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. 

As more people are using CBD, they are also giving it to their pets.

“It is certainly good for inflammation," Trey Reckling, founder of Academy of Cannabis Science told KNPR's State of Nevada. "That’s one of its best benefits. It’s known to be about 25 times better than aspirin or other conventional NSAID medicine for inflammation.”

Reckling became interested in the effects of CBD when his dog, Sweet Georgia Brown, had a stroke. The vet told him Georgia would benefit from anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling in her brain, but what he could prescribe wouldn't be as powerful as what Reckling himself would have, because the vet knew he was in the cannabis industry. 

Reckling gave his dog CBD products and his dog survived for another year. He realizes that the incident is a "case study of one," but says it's important to study cannabis and learn as much as possible. 

Tim Shu is a Los Angeles-based veterinarian and founder of VetCBD. He said he has treated a number of animals with CBD and found it to help with pain, anxiety, inflammation, nausea and seizures.

Shu said he's seen animals go from daily seizures to once a month or once every two months after using CBD products.

And while Shu says CBD is non-toxic and safe, he warns that amounts can impact pets differently and it is important to start with a small dose under the care of a veterinarian.

Reckling agreed that it is vital for animal owners to be cautious about doses.

“Finding that formulation is really critical," he said. "We want to discourage people from doing any kind of at-home experimentation."

Shu also warned against giving animals cannabis products meant for humans.

"In order to utilize THC medicinally, what we do is we formulate it so that it's safe and effective for these animals," he said.

Pets & Cannabis Online Course from UNLV

Trey Reckling, founder, Academy of Cannabis Science; Tim Shu, founder, VetCBD

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Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.