Cannabis as a treatment for dogs has alot of pet owners wondering if their dog might benefit? Fortunately, some curious openminded veterinarians are dipping their toes into the cannabis medicine chest. Embracing pot for pets for its medical benefits makes these docs true blue scientific pioneers. The dosage range* below is provided through experimentation by veterinarians Gary Richter and Richard Silver.  In treating their patients, they have determined a dosage range based on body weight with this warning: start at the low end of the range. Increase the dose slowly to allow your pet to acclimate to the higher dose. My advice is to increase the dose by 25% every 3-5 days while carefully watching for a response. Observation skills are critical! NOTE: The most optimal dose may be less than your highest calculated dose. Taking a higher dose – beyond what is needed for the desired effect (optimal) can have negative consequences due to a phenomenon known as the biphasic curve. This is a main concern when cannabis rich THC plants are the source since CBD hemp plants have an inconsequential amount of THC. I will use myself as an example. My brain on THC can flip from a pleasant relaxed feeling (5mg) climbing up the ladder to a state of paranoia when I once accidently took twice that amount. For me personally, it’s the reason I stopped using edibles and switched to tinctures – much easier to adjust dosages.

Early warning signs that your pet may have gotten too much THC has been called the drunk sailor syndrome: loss of balance, excessive sedation or abnormal behavior. NOTE: marijuana overdoses are most common when pets consume – without permission – adult edibles. Never leave your stash within reach of pets or children!   Also, keep in mind, that second hand marijuana smoke – depending on amount of exposure – can wag the tail of the dog!

Guideline dosage range for tinctures that contain THC for 1:1 ratio (equal parts of CBD:THC)

*Range for dogs: 0.1 – .25mg /kg/day. Start with the lowest dose (0.1mg) to calculate the daily dose.

First, you must convert weight from pounds (lbs) to kilograms (kg) – divide pounds (lbs) by the number 2.2.

Example if your dog weighs 50 lbs: 50 divided by 2.2 = 22.7 kg.

Starting at the lowest dose 0.1mg. Take body weight 22.7kg and multiply by 0.1 = 2.27mg.

Next, take the highest dose 0.25mg and repeat: 22.7kg multiplied by 0.25 = 5.67mg/day.

The daily range for this 50 lb dog is 2.27mg – 5.67mg.

Next, determine the amount of THC in your product. Like pharmaceuticals, liquids for oral administration are typically reported as milligrams (mg) per milliliters (ml). In a 1oz bottle (30ml) the label may report the amount of mg per dropper (less accurate) or mg per ml (most accurate and should include a syringe for measurement).

Example: if your label reads 5mg per ml (mg/ml) of THC then divide desired amount (D) 2.27mg by available (A) 5mg/ml. A trick I learned in med school is to remember the title, District Attorney for D over A because if you mix up these two numbers and get the wrong dose, you will be talking to one!

Low dose: 2.27mg: 5mg/ml = 0.45ml.

High dose: 5.67mg: 5mg/ml = 1.13ml.

Calculated daily dose range for this 50 lb dog = O.45ml – 1.13ml.

Final step: divide daily dose by 2 to administer half in the morning (am) and the other half in the evening (pm).

Be aware that we are working with a plant that does not behave like a drug.  Being a plant verses a chemically concocted drug – there are no FDA approved dosage amounts. Furthermore, there are no costly clinical trials to determine efficacy and negative side effects. And there won’t be. The pharmaceutical industry spends millions to obtain patents for each new promising discovery. The jolly green leafy cannabis growing in your yard or closet received its patent thousands of years ago – compliments of Mother Nature. So, being a complex plant with hundreds of components – not a standardized drug – the effects can very from person to person; dog to dog; cat to cat. You simply cannot expect to receive written instructions for how much or how often to take Mother Nature’s medicine. Nor will you find a recommended dosage listed on the label of a cannabis product based on body weight, size or age. Let the experiment begin!