MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WWSB) - There's a new trend in veterinary medicine. Cannabis oil is now being used on dogs and cats to treat everything from seizures to anxiety.
A common misconception is that this cannabis oil is marijuana. It isn't. There's actually very little THC if any in it at all, which is what makes someone high when using traditional marijuana.
So vets and pet parents have started using it on animals and finding that cannabis oil can help them like any other medication.
When you walk into Vapin' Lizards on State Road 64, cannabis oil for cats and dogs sits on the shelves. Owner Barbara Hogan just started stocking the products recently.
"I got it right away to try on my own dogs personally," Hogan explained. "I have a little terrier who is 13 pounds named Jack, and he is petrified of thunderstorms and 4th of July. So just before the 4th of July, I thought it would be a good test to try it on him, so I did. It did really well. I give it to him daily now. He's not afraid of thunderstorms anymore."
CBD oil is used to treat epilepsy and seizures in pets. It's said to reduce anxiety and relieve pain.
"A lot of people equate CBD with marijuana," Hogan explained. "It's two different things, two different plants all together."
You can get a 30 ml bottle for $39.99. That's about 50 twenty-drop servings.
One of those vets is Dr. Terry Clekis at Braden River Animal Hospital.
"It's not regulated by the government at all so quality control is probably lacking," Dr. Clekis explained. "What we are interested in doing is finding a manufacturer that we put total trust in so we know what we are getting."
Dr. Clekis says most vets are not making the recommendation that people give their pets cannabis oil because he says there's been no studies proving the biological effects. However, he has made anecdotal recommendations in the past. No prescription is needed for CBD oil.
"I bring it up to them with the understanding that I'm not truly recommending it, just say it might be worth while trying in the chance that it might work," Dr. Clekis said.
Dr. Clekis keeps CBD oil open as another avenue of potential treatment.
"My contention is I don't think it'll hurt anything," he said. "I haven't seen any negative side effects of it. Other than it may not have the desired outcome that we'd like to see."
When Marsha Panuce, owner of Donte's Den, started researching CBD oil, she was worried about potential side effects and the possibility of the drug being psychoactive.
"Are they hallucinating?," she wondered. "Are they dreaming? I don't want any negative psychotropic incidents to happen. It's not. They just kind of relax and have a very very nice and sweet sleep."
Panuce says animals can't overdose on the drug. She uses it at her shelter.