Our four-legged friends may turn their little wet noses up to the recreational purposes of marijuana, but it seems to be extremely effective in treating many health ailments in pets, just as it does their human counterparts.

What Is Cannabis Oil?

Cannabis oil is the thick resinous constituent obtained from the cannabis plant. It contains psychoactive compounds called cannaboids, mostly found in the female cannabis flower. Endocannabinoids are compounds naturally produced by the bodies of mammals that maintains its overall health. Cannabinoids emulate a mammal’s endocannabinoids. The main types of cannabinoids include THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive element and CBD (cannabidiol), the medical element which is known to offset the psychoactive effect of THC whilst still having a plethora of health benefits that won’t make the user “high”.

Benefits of Cannabis Oil for Pets?

Treatment of :

  • arthritis

  • back pain

  • nausea

  • seizures

  • stress and anxiety

  • depression

  • hypertension

  • diabetes

  • heart disease

  • symptoms of cancer

  • symptoms associated with chemotherapy

  • gastrointestinal issues

  • improved appetite

  • general pain relief

  • symptoms associated with old age

  • pain associated with inflammation

Potential Risks

Overdosing essentially means your pet is high and this can last for several days. In some cases, they may not be able to eat or stand up. Of course, overdosing can lead to potential risks and in rare cases, fatalities, so it’s imperative to adhere to the prescribed dosages given by your medical professional. If you suspect an overdose, consult your veterinarian immediately.

The use of cannabis oil is not intended to get pets high or sedated. With the correct dosage and administration, medical cannabis is not dangerous. In contrast to some prescribed traditional medications and treatments, medical cannabis doesn’t impair vital organs like the liver, gastrointestinal tract and kidneys.

Always consult a veterinarian who has experience with pets using medical cannabis. They will be able to give you the proper dosage as well as reputable suppliers thereof.

How Is Cannabis Oil Administered to Pets?

Cannabis oil can be administered orally to your companions or as a topical treatment. Dosages can be dispensed by using tinctures, capsules or in the form of bird seed or biscuits.

Is it Legal In South Africa?

The legal ramifications are still a grey area in South Africa. The Western Cape High Court in South Africa recently declared the ban of cannabis “unconstitutional”. Adults now have the right to grow, use and/or possess the plant in their own homes. The legal implications of treating animals with medical cannabis in South Africa are still uncertain, so ensure you consult with a credible veterinarian practitioner in this regard. Dr Jimmy Symmonds, a holsitsic veterinarian in Cape Town says, “Veterinarians can apply to use unregistered medicines in terms of Section 21 of Act 101. An application form is available from the Medicines Control Council of South Africa.”


Many people urge pet parents to proceed with caution when using cannabis oil for their pets as sufficient research and studies have not yet been conducted.

Some warn that just because the dog’s symptoms have improved, doesn’t mean the illness is cured. The symptoms could be suppressed because the pet is “high” and this may cause a possible treatment to be neglected.


Many people are not dissuaded easily as they have seen the results first hand…

Dr Edward Bassingthwaighte, an Australian holistic veterinarian, is in awe at the results he’s had healing some dogs with medical cannabis. A few cases are as follows:

– An old Jack Russell was treated with CBD oil for a critical heart murmur and agonising arthritis. A month later, he was more vibrant, happier to go for longer walks and his heart murmur was significantly less critical. According to Dr Bassingthwaighte “I simply can’t explain the improved heart murmur. They normally don’t get better.”

– A senior Staffy dog had a tumour in her mammary gland that was 6cm in diameter. X-rays showed the possibility of mestatasis. Three months later, the tumour had diminished to nothing and six months later, no relapse had occurred.

Treat Well is a Californian company that specialises in providing non-psychoactive alternatives for treating animals and humans with cannabis. Alison Ettel, founder of Treat Well, confirmed that when she started working in the industry ten years ago, she was treating 20 animals a year, mostly being dogs. Now they are seeing at least one to five cancer patients a day and they are in awe of the improvements in life expectancy. They have experienced a 20% increase every month and are now treating thousands of animals.

The National Cancer Institute, a division of the United States National Institute of Health, confirmed that numerous scientific clinical studies were conducted and found that CBD displayed cancer resistant traits that were able to eradicate cancer cells. They also stated that the combined use of CBD and chemotherapy made the latter more efficient in annihilating cancer cells and allowing bordering healthy cells to increase their rate of survival.

Cannabis advocates strongly believe that in comparison to traditional medicine, medical cannabis is far more affordable and in the proper doses, has far fewer side effects than that of painkillers and the like.

If cannabis medicine is the route you’ve decided on, your family vet is the best point of contact. Always inform your vet when your pets are given medical cannabis (or any other herb) as they can possibly interact with other drugs such as anaesthetics, painkillers and sedatives.

Ensure the product contains no additives or contaminants and is tested for cannabinoid content and quality. Begin with lower doses of medical cannabis and monitor the effects it has on your fury loved one.

Although cannabis will not necessarily heal untreatable ailments, it is strongly believed to ensure that our furry companions enjoy a better quality of life by releiving any pain; improving depressive and anxiety related issues, increasing their appetite and energy levels; allowing them to sleep soundly and to ultimately live each day with more vivacity and spirit.

Author: Taliah Williamson www.bespokeink.co.za

Origin: Infurmation www.infurmation.co.za