Medical Marijuana for Dogs: What You Need to Know

Medical marijuana isn’t just beneficial to humans; dogs can benefit greatly from the medicine. But many aren’t sure how to go about obtaining or administering it.


marijuana for dogsWhen it comes to medical marijuana for dogs, the most common form of administration is through tinctures. Tinctures are a liquefied version of cannabis or hemp, often mixed with glycerin. Tinctures are typically dropped onto the tongue, or onto food.

Another popular method of administering medical marijuana to dogs is cannabis oil. A small, rice-sized amount is typically placed onto a piece of bread or dog biscuit. Either method is a viable option.

Obtaining Medical Marijuana for Dogs

The first challenge to medical marijuana for dogs is obtaining it. Online it is easy to find pet medicines that contain cannabidiol (CBD), one of the medical compounds found in cannabis. However, these products are derived from hemp, not cannabis. This is what makes them legal. However, hemp-derived CBD isn’t typically as effective as marijuana-derivced CBD. Still, it clearly has medical properties and is worth trying. A simple Google search for “CBD for pets” or “CBD pet products” will bring up multiple companies who sell such products.

Although cannabis-derived CBD may be more effective, it isn’t legal in most areas. Qualified medical cannabis patients in states like California and Colorado where there are dispensaries should be able to easily obtain high-CBD, low-THC tinctures, though the legality of purchasing it for your dog, rather than yourself, is questionable at best (we’ll touch on this a bit more later in the article).




When it comes to dosage it varies greatly by the condition and the dog. For a small dog, typically 1-3 drops of tincture, twice a day should be plenty to bring about the intended medical benefits. With larger dogs you may want to increase it to 5-8 drops. For cannabis oil, a rice-sized to a double-rice-sized amount is typically plenty.

The best thing to do is start with a moderate amount, and monitor your dogs behavior. If it doesn’t seem like they’re improving much, slowly increase the dosage.



The Legality of Medical Marijuana for Dogs

When it comes to medical marijuana for dogs, many have the same question; is it legal? When it comes to hemp oil or hemp-derived CBD, the answer is simple; yes. Although cultivating hemp is illegal in the U.S., the production and distribution of hemp products is very much legal; this is why you’ll find items like hemp cereal at mainstream locations like Wal-Mart and Fred Meyers.

For cannabis-derived CBD, the question is a little more complicated. As mentioned-above, medical cannabis products can be obtained legally by patients in numerous states. The law surrounding giving it to your pet, however, is more unclear. Most states don’t have any law specifying the legality, or illegality of this. However, it is plausible that officers could try to persecute someone under an animal cruelty/endangerment statute. There is little to no precedent of this, but it’s certainly a possibility. Truth being though, if you’re a legal medical cannabis patient and give some to your dog, there’s no reason law enforcement would ever find out (but take this advice with a grain of salt – we’re not attorneys). However, we do highly recommend if you go this route to make sure you get low-THC, high-CBD products.


Nevada Bill Would Legalize Medical Cannabis for Pets, Remove Per Se Cannabis DUID Law

Companion Cannabis, a medical cannabis tincture for dogs and cats by Holistic Therapeutics. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Companion Cannabis, a medical cannabis tincture for dogs and cats by California-based Holistic Therapeutics. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Legislation that would make several changes to Nevada’s medical cannabis law has been introduced in the state’s Legislature. One of the changes the bill would make is to allow pets to use medical cannabis obtained by their owners, and to alter a law that finds a person guilty of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) if they’re caught driving with THC in their system.

Senate Bill 372, sponsored by Senator Tick Segerblom, would allow animal owners to obtain medical cannabis on behalf of their pets if a veterinarian certifies that an animal has an illness that might be helped by the medicine. This would make Nevada the first state in the nation to officially legalize medical cannabis for animals.

Read moreNevada Bill Would Legalize Medical Cannabis for Pets, Remove Per Se Cannabis DUID Law