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Pot For Pets? UC Davis Study Looks Into Safety, Efficacy

Sammy Caiola / Capital Public Radio

Cannabis products available for sale at Western Feed and Pet Supply in Sacramento. Staff says they can help, dogs, cats and horses with everything from joint pain to anxiety.

Sammy Caiola / Capital Public Radio

Scientists at UC Davis are trying to find out if pot is good for pets.

They’re asking pet owners everywhere to take a survey about what - if any- cannabis products they use on their animals, and what effect those products have.

Dr. Jamie Peyton, chief of Integrative Medicine Service for UC Davis, said there are very few studies about the effects of marijuana on dogs and cats.

"The information for human medical cannabis and recreational around the corner is there, and the access is there," she said. "So I think there are a lot of owners that are really interested in looking into these products for their animals for pain, anxiety, seizures - the same issues we see in people.”

Many pet stores already sell treats laced with CBD. It’s a compound found in cannabis plants that doesn’t contain THC - the ingredient that makes people high.

Saleswoman Rosi Monteiro says CBD products are a big hit at Western Feed and Pet Supply in Sacramento. And she’s used CBD oil successfully with her own pups.

“They’re not like passed out or high - they’re fine.”

The legality around this is a bit confusing. CBD derived from marijuana is a federally controlled substance, so selling that without a license would be a no-go. But hemp is legal, so some people argue that hemp-derived CBD oil is, too.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does regulate pet treats, and they’ve issued warnings to some companies making medical claims about CBD products. And the California Veterinary Medical Board says vets can't prescribe or even recommend marijuana or hemp-related products for animals.

"There are so many products out there on the market, and when veterinarians are afraid to give advice about it because we don’t know, we don’t have enough research, it opens up a whole area of possible problems," Peyton said. 

The UC Davis survey is anonymous and will be live for about six months. Find it here.

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