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Cannabis for Pets: Is It Safe?

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Veterinarians and pet owners are becoming increasingly aware of the potential benefits CBD products have for pets. Cannabis-derived products, such as CBD treats or oils, are being given to pets to give them a more comfortable lifestyle. 

But is it safe for pets to have all types of products derived from cannabis?

THC, CBD, Edibles, and Marijuana for Pets

Let’s look at a few popular components and products from the cannabis plant and see if they’re safe for pets. 

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)

THC Molecular structure

THC is the main psychoactive ingredient of the cannabis plant. While many humans love THC, do our pets? High levels of THC are toxic to pets. Cannabis toxicity can be dangerous for your pets. It most likely will require a vet visit if your pet displays symptoms from consuming too much THC, like disorientation, tremors, vomiting, and seizures.  

Some CBD products are made full spectrum hemp, which contains low levels of THC, under 0.3% to be precise. This amount has been generally found to be safe for pets. However, some pet owners may prefer to avoid giving THC to their pets altogether. In these cases, droad spectrum CBD and CBD isolate products will be a good choice for those who prefer to stay away from THC.

CBD (Cannabinol) 

CBD Molecular structure

CBD is non-toxic in the appropriate doses. A dosage guide on the label of CBD products will typically indicate the appropriate dosage based on your pet's weight. 

It’s important that you don’t share your personal CBD products with your pet, as these are formulated based on human weight. Pet CBD products have lower CBD concentrations, making them more suitable for cats and dogs. 


Edibles cookies on a plate with hemp leaf on top

Edibles are forms of cannabis products made into treats like gummies and chocolates and can contain THC, CBD, or both. Edibles can often be a big cause of emergency vet trips due to cannabis toxicity. That’s usually the case when pets eat edibles made for humans. These edibles often contain other toxic ingredients, like chocolate, xylitol, or raisins. 

However, there are edibles specifically formulated for dogs, and these are generally considered safe as they avoid toxic ingredients and contain low amounts of hemp extract. 


Marijuana tree

Marijuana is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses [1]. When considering giving cannabis products to pets, they must be derived from hemp. CBD oil made for pets will be derived from hemp and will not be derived from marijuana due to its high THC concentration, which is toxic to many animals. 

Marijuana toxicosis can be dangerous and include symptoms such as vomiting, lack of coordination, lethargy, and more. Your pet should be taken to a vet immediately if symptoms of marijuana toxicosis are observed.

Is Cannabis Safe for Dogs?

Black fluffy dog eating a cookie

Cannabis comes in two main categories: hemp and marijuana. Hemp is defined as cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC by dried weight. 

Cannabis plants with higher levels of THC are considered marijuana or weed and not inherently safe for dogs, primarily due to the presence of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. 

Hemp-derived CBD products formulated specifically for pets and containing negligible levels of THC may offer potential health benefits for dogs.

What Can You Use Cannabis in Dogs For?

Cannabis products are not FDA-approved to treat or cure any medical condition. 

You should also discuss implementing cannabis into your dog’s wellness plan with a veterinarian before self-diagnosing. However, if you are interested in adding cannabis products to support your pup, then there are some benefits being reported by anecdotal evidence and current research. 

Let’s look a little closer at a few of these benefits attracting pet owners to such products:

Discomfort icon


CBD works very similarly in pets as in humans and may provide some low-level discomfort support for our furry friends in the right doses and with the OK from your vet. 

A study in 2019 demonstrated a significant reduction in seizure frequency in dogs given CBD [2]. This is only one condition, but CBD’s impact on seizures is opening the door for further research on CBD’s effects on pain in dogs.

CBD works with the mammalian endocannabinoid system, which is tasked with regulating systems involved in pain sensations, inflammation, and stress. While CBD doesn’t block pain receptors like opioids, it helps to shift the endocannabinoid system into a state of balance to help the body better cope with distress, which may lead to increased comfort.

We never want our pets to be in pain, which is why before diagnosing and administering CBD to your pet, it’s important that you speak with your vet to ensure that your pet is getting the proper medical attention they need. 

Inflammation Support icon

Inflammation Support

Whether it comes to humans or pets, CBD products' potential impact on inflammation is a large reason personal testimonies praise the benefits of CBD. While there are more studies on CBD’s influence on inflammation in human bodies, a recent study examined the relationship between CBD and inflammation in dogs. 

The results of this study demonstrated that CBD could reduce the inflammatory response induced by an ex vivo model of LPS [3]. The results of this study show promising results, especially for older dogs who may benefit from some support for joint inflammation.

Nervousness and Stress Support icon

Nervousness and Stress Support

Whether it’s car rides, an empty home, or fireworks, it can be stressful to handle a stressed-out dog. 

While more empirical research is needed on CBD’s effect on anxiety in dogs, the limited research suggests that there is a positive relationship there. 

In a study where they measured canine stress based on a few environmental changes, including being left alone and traveling in a car, it was found that a CBD treatment significantly reduced stress compared to the placebo group [4]. 

Are Hemp Products Safe for Dogs?

Yes, hemp products are generally safe for dogs. However, different brands can vary in quality and potency, so it's essential to choose products from reputable companies that provide transparency about their sourcing, manufacturing processes, and third-party testing for quality and purity.

The Takeaway: Cannabis for Pets

The potential benefits of cannabis products for pets are still being researched, but anecdotal evidence and limited research suggest a positive relationship between cannabis and some common conditions in pets. 

Remember that no CBD product on the market is FDA-approved to treat health conditions in pets, and you should discuss implementing cannabis products into your pet’s healthcare routine with a veterinarian. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long does it take for dogs to feel edibles?

Considering edibles go through the digestive system, it typically takes around 45 minutes to an hour for dogs to feel the effects of edibles. However, this depends on individual factors, and the onset time can vary. 

Can I give my dogs edibles?

You can give your dog edibles that are formulated for dogs. You shouldn’t give your dogs edibles made for humans as they contain potentially toxic ingredients for dogs and cannabinoid concentrations that are too strong. 

Is marijuana safe for dogs?

Marijuana, which contains THC, can be toxic to dogs and is generally not considered safe for them. 


  1. Brutlag, A., & Hommerding, H. (2018). Toxicology of marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, and cannabidiol in dogs and cats. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, 48(6), 1087-1102.
  2. McGrath, S., Bartner, L. R., Rao, S., Packer, R. A., & Gustafson, D. L. (2019). Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 254(11), 1301-1308.
  3. Gugliandolo, E., Licata, P., Peritore, A. F., Siracusa, R., D’Amico, R., Cordaro, M., ... & Interlandi, C. D. (2021). Effect of cannabidiol (CBD) on canine inflammatory response: an ex vivo study on LPS stimulated whole blood. Veterinary Sciences, 8(9), 185.
  4. Hunt, A. B., Flint, H. E., Logan, D. W., & King, T. (2023). A single dose of cannabidiol (CBD) positively influences measures of stress in dogs during separation and car travel. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 10, 1112604.
Helle Brandrup

Certified Veterinarian & Wellness Advocate Hailing from Aalborg in Northern Denmark, Helle Brandrup's narrative is a blend of deep-rooted passion for animals, family bonds, and the power of wellness. From her early years in Aalborg, Helle ventured into the realm of veterinary care, taking on...

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