Cannabis Legalization & What It Means for Our Pets

As of October 17th, 2018, cannabis products are legal all across Canada. This may lead many people to think about our furry friends and the possible benefits these products may have.

Now that it is a legal substance, will veterinarians be able to prescribe and/or recommend cannabis products for our pets? The answer is no – not yet at least.

We often get inquiries about products, such as CBD oil, and if they can help with certain ailments that a pet may have. While there are many studies done in human medicine, there are so few done in veterinary medicine as of yet. In the words of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine (CAVCM), “It is important to recognize that cannabis is not a single chemical product with consistent effects; there are thousands of strains and available products at varying levels of “active” ingredients. This variability in available products potentially makes the use of recreational cannabis for veterinary medical purposes very haphazard, anecdotal and fraught with complications. Additionally, it is currently unclear how quality and quantity assurance for recreational cannabis will be managed.” Currently, veterinarians are unable to access these products unless changes are made to the current legislation. Due to the lack of studies and the many variabilities associated with cannabidiol, many veterinarians won’t recommend and can’t prescribe such products.

Questions regarding cannabis products are not the only thing we face in a veterinary profession. We also see many marijuana toxicity cases.

Here are the signs and symptoms of toxicity:

  • Dribbling urine (incontinence)
  • Acute lethargy
  • Difficulty or inability to walk
  • Pet may seem “stoned.”
  • Hyperreactivity to stimuli (light, sound, movement)
  • Drooling
  • In some severe cases, you may see what looks like mini seizures

For further information on marijuana toxicity in our pets;
See our previous blog post: Pot Toxicity & Our Pets
or visit:

  1. Pet Poison Helpline
  2. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Written by: Van Isle Veterinary Hospital