By Rebecca Victoria Olmos | Correspondent

Just like humans, our pets have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). In both humans and animals, this biological system is comprised of enzymes, receptors, and endocannabinoids. The ECS helps regulate various functions, including sleep, appetite, and pain sensation. It also responds to the cannabinoids consumed through the cannabis plant. 

The significant difference between humans and animals is that THC, by itself or in high doses, is toxic to them. While it may not be lethal, it can be harmful. Our furry friends respond much better to CBD. CBD can help pets with a variety of issues including, separation anxiety, arthritis, skin disorders, pain, and behavior issues, according to Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA, CVJ.

Suppose you’re considering giving your pet cannabis for any health issue. In that case, it’s best to start this journey by talking to your vet, especially if there are any other conditions or medications involved. Californian veterinarians cannot prescribe cannabis, but beginning in 2019, they are permitted to discuss cannabis with their patients. 

Once you feel comfortable giving your animal companion a little cannabis, you can head to the store. You can purchase pet-friendly hemp-derived CBD products at pet shops and cannabis-derived varieties at dispensaries. They come in the form of treats, tinctures/drops, and topicals. 

The plethora of brands, ratios, and dosages in which you can find these products can make it hard to figure out the right choice. Wherever you choose to make your purchase, make sure the product’s company is reputable and has the lowest concentration of THC possible. Most brands will have a dosage chart based on the animal’s weight.

And just like humans, it’s best to start low and go slow. Start with one dosage, one treat, or a small layer of topical. Then you can increase based on you and your pal’s level of comfortability.