We love our pets like we love our own children. Sometimes too much! For all pet-obsessed owners or guardians out there, you know that your pet is part of the family and that you could no sooner give them up than you could, say, an arm. It’s safe to say that pet owners will go to the ends of the earth and back for their pets. But does this extend to alternative medicine for pets too? A new trend is starting to point the arrow in the direction of absolutely.

Today we’re talking about how cannabis may just be the next latest and greatest thing when it comes to alternative medicines that pet owners are choosing for their animals. Read on to find out how this plant might just be the next huge thing for pet owners and the pets that they care for!
Meet San Franciscan resident Michael Fasman. Michael’s dog is a Portuguese water dog named Hudson. She is twelve years old, and when she limps, he knows that it’s due to the pain that she experiences from not only arthritis but an amputated toe. However, Fasman doesn’t want to give her pain pills because they just knock her out. On a recent morning, he could be found squeezing several drops of cannabis extract onto a yogurt plate, which Hudson seemed to enjoy eating.
Fasman has eschewed painkillers for an alternative medicine that many humans use for medical purposes on a daily basis: cannabis. He says that the extract has lifted Hudson’s spirits and ‘mare her a happier dog’, noting that she hadn’t changed but was instead just back to her “good old self”. Now, using cannabis extract has become part of his dog’s daily routine.
Many states have already legalized cannabis use for human beings and made medical marijuana and recreational use as well as growing legal and above the board. While this has led to more people being able to have access to different varieties and styles of consuming cannabis such as trying edibles, the cannabis revolution has trickled down in an interesting way to include furry companions.
Now cannabis-based ointments, edibles, and extracts are being marketed to pet owners for their pets to deal with everything from seizures to cancer to arthritis and anxiety. Many of these products contain CBD oil, a compound in cannabis that doesn’t get people–or pets– high. That’s THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. However, many of these products are not being regulated. On top of that, vets say there isn’t enough data to verify whether it is safe or effective to treat animals with.
Despite its legal nature on a state-wide level for many states, federal law’s dictation of its illegality means that there has not been as much research into the potential medical benefits for animals or humans. Vets in California and many other states cannot legally recommend or prescribe cannabis or they risk losing their license, so their hands are tied, even if they are seeing an increase of people asking about it for their pets.
Despite official scientific data not yet backing the concept, many owners think that cannabis use has improved the quality of their animal’s life and wellbeing. Lynne Tingle testifies that you can see a difference in their spirit since the animals are not in pain so they have more happiness and move better.
Tingle has two elderly dogs, Chorizo and Alice, and regularly dispenses cannabis edibles in addition to topical ointments to older dogs at her pet adoption center and animal sanctuary, the Milo Foundation. She says that the animals get “a new lease on life” as a result of the cannabis treats.
Her sanctuary isn’t the only one doing this; TreatWell Health is one of many companies marketing pet cannabis products. Based in San Francisco, this company sells cannabis tinctures that can be added orally or to food. Co-founder Alison Ettel works with pets and clients to recommend formulations for ailments, whether for pain or inflammation, appetite, end of life care, and more. The owners come often as a last resort.
Many pet owners are finding that cannabis is working for their pet. Barbara Stein says that tinctures helped her 13-year-old cat Willie treat his anxiety and digestive problems and helped his sister Prudence while battling cancer.
Stein says that nothing else worked that was recommended by the vet, so she got a medical marijuana card to buy it for her cats and has recommended it to friends with sick or aging pets. She says that the cannabis worked, and as a result? “I swear by the stuff,” Stein said.