Nine Reasons This Vet Recommends Hemp Terpenes for Pets

September 26th 2018

By Dr. Dirk Dekens, DVM 

Marijuana and Hemp Terpenes are not the same!

We are about to witness the legalization of marijuana for recreational use for humans in Canada this October. I would  be remiss not to voice a word of caution as to what this will mean for our pets.

In other countries, like the U.S., where marijuana has been legalized, the instance of accidental ingestion and illness in pets has risen.

With the anticipated increase in availability of marijuana in Canada, accidental ingestion of THC by our pets (the psychoactive compounds found in and derived from the cannabis plant), especially dogs, will be more commonplace than ever before.

Edibles, such as chocolate marijuana brownies, will gain in popularity and dogs invariably get a hold of them. Knowing that both chocolate and THC are toxic to
dogs, we have ourselves a double whammy on our hands!

Signs of marijuana toxicity in cats and dogs

Your dog or cat could ingest marijuana without your knowledge. Here are some symptoms to look out for that could point to marijuana toxicity
  • Depressed
  • Unsteady walking
  • Tired and lethargic
  • Coma
  • Low heart rate and blood pressure
  • Slow breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Coma
  • Hyper
  • Increased vocalization
  • Seizures
If your pet is suffering from these symptoms they need emergency veterinarian care.

What about CBD and hemp terpenes for dogs and cats?

There is growing evidence that CBD (or cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive compound found in hemp plants) has beneficial effects on a variety of medical and behavioral conditions in humans and pets. There are also new studies about the effects of hemp products and CBD on animals that are underway.

I am not a scientist by training, but I am a good listener and observer and I can tell you that there have been many cases where I have seen a significant improvement when products with CBD or hemp terpenes were used by themselves or in conjunction with more traditional medications and treatments.

As a healer of animals I simply cannot ignore these observations and it would be a great disservice to my patients and my clients to deny this emerging treatment option.

Ethical considerations sadly come into play as the ABVMA, our governing veterinary association, currently does not allow for veterinarians to prescribe or advise on dosages for CBD usage for pets. Veterinarians who are supportive of the use of CBD in pets are caught between a rock and a hard place.

What are hemp terpenes?

Hemp plants not only produce cannabinoids, but also a large variety of hemp terpenes, which are basically fragrant essential oils with wide-ranging therapeutic benefits.

Hemp terpenes are not a banned substance and have been shown to have medicinal properties.

As much as CBD holds a lot of promise, there is a definite argument to be made not to ignore the various additional health benefits of hemp terpenes.

A good comparison for CBD and hemp terpenes is aspirin. In ancient times fever and pain was treated with medicine derived from the willow tree and myrtle amongst other plants. In the 19th century scientists discovered the precursor to aspirin in the leaves of the willow tree and were able to make the synthetic form of aspirin. Thus we stepped away from the natural product in favor of a synthetic medicine that was a lot more efficient to produce. We may well have lost the synergistic benefits of the other “ingredients” from the willow tree in doing so…

Let’s hope this doesn’t happen for CBD as well.

Having said that, without being able to make any suggestions or recommendations on dosage, I have compiled a list of medical and behavioral issues in our pets that may benefit from the use of CBD and hemp terpene products.
  1. chronic pain
  2. palliative care
  3. anxiety
  4. seizures
  5. sleep disorders
  6. inflammation
  7. inflammatory bowel disease
  8. appetite stimulant
  9. antiemetic (for vomiting and nausea)  
If you have questions or are interested in using hemp terpenes for your pet's pain, mobility, arthritis or other issues, give our clinic in NW Calgary a call at (403) 615-8016 to make an appointment.

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