THE NEW SMOKER
Petibles: Edibles for Pets?
umanoids? Generally, we love getting high. Which means we love that little old chemical Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), because THC is the psychoactive flavonoid compound that makes us high when we ingest cannabis. It’s a lot of fun. Well hey - we all know our pets like to have fun with us, they’re our best friends, after all. So does that mean they love getting high? It’s not outside the realm of possibility, but Jake the beagle loves chocolate and grapes, too. CATCHING THE COMPARISON? Maybe you didn’t know about grapes, but pretty much any dog owner knows that chocolate is no bueno por los perros (no good for dogs, for any non español speakers). THC is highly toxic to animals at higher concentrations, and might even be lethal, which means that you reeaallly don’t want to be blowing your smoke in his face or sharing that amazingly strong edible you got from the shop with him (and let’s get real, all those edibles are amazingly strong these days >> see Extreme Edible Experiences in this issue for examples). But just because it’s not a good idea to get Jake high, doesn’t mean that there are no positives for him from cannabis, OR that you have to totally stiff him when you’re enjoying your own tasty weed treats. Because there are a growing number of cannabis edibles and tinctures on the market today made just for our furry friends. LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME SCIENCE STUFF Every animal with a vertebrate skeleton has an endocannabinoid system. Just like us, our pets have cannabinoid receptors in nearly every bodily tissue, and they readily absorb and benefit from a gamut of cannabis flavonoids (of which more than 80 have been discovered). The most well known of these is THC, which, as we covered, is no good for animals at high concentrations (it interferes negatively with their nervous systems). But another
By Elly Prothero flavonoid found in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), has a whole different story. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, meaning it does not get you -or Jake- high. But it does have a regulatory effect on the immune, nervous, reproductive and metabolic systems. That CBD has a “regulatory” effect means it creates balance in unbalanced bodily systems. For example, an imbalance in the immune system often manifests as painful inflammation. CBD acts to decrease inflammation. Notably for your pets, CBD has had profound results for pets that suffer from arthritis, increasing mobility and generally reducing pain caused by arthritic inflammation. A thing to note about CBD and edibles for your pets is that most of the products out there are made from hemp, not from marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana are varieties of cannabis, but while the marijuana plant produces more THC flavonoids that CBD flavonoids, the hemp plant produces more CBD than THC. Interestingly, research has shown that CBD also acts to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. THE PIONEERS: In the last five years, the number of pet overdoses from marijuana has seen a four-fold increase, according to the Pet Poison Helpline and reports from the ASPCA. This can likely be attributed to the higher-than-decades-past THC content in marijuana products meant for us humanoids, and is more often a result of curious critters getting into their owner’s stash (hey, Jake), than owners intentionally getting their pets high. However, in the last five years there has been a notable movement toward including our furry friends in the quest for benefit from cannabis. And the movement is coming from both medical marijuana entrepreneurs, as well as licensed veterinarians. In 2013, Julianna Carella, founder of the success-