Skip to main content
Beagle puppy getting sleepy

Prescribing marijuana for pets

Q: Marijuana is legal in my state for medicinal and recreational use. My dog has osteoarthritis, and I want to give him cannabidiol, a marijuana derivative. However, my veterinarian won’t recommend a dose. How can I convince her?

A: Marijuana may be legal in your state, but the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I controlled substance, along with heroin, LSD, peyote and Ecstasy. Schedule I drugs “have no currently accepted medical use,” so veterinarians generally are prohibited from prescribing them.

Even if it were legal to recommend marijuana, veterinarians are uncertain about how it should be used, since few studies have been done in dogs. That minimal research suggests that the cannabidiol (CBD) component of marijuana may be effective in osteoarthritis and a few other conditions. However, canine dosages, side effects, and drug interactions are not yet clear.

Marijuana, the dried Cannabis plant, contains CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and over 100 other cannabinoid chemicals. While THC is psychoactive, CBD is not, and it is showing the most promise in medicine.

Until more is known about CBD and it becomes legal, follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding other treatments for your dog’s arthritis.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by Reviews.com since 2017.

samoyed dog standing in the snow

Do you live in an area where you're...

Child and dog sitting on stairs dressed in costumes

Halloween is a time for ghoulish family...

depressed pug with head on pillow

Can dogs suffer from depression? Could...

Small dog chewing on a red toy bone in front of Christmas tree

Recreating the perfect Christmas scene...

Advertisement for pet insurance.

More From Figo Blog
Labrador Retriever retrieving a blue frisbee from the yard

One of the best things about owning a dog is...

Woman with dog looking at tablet

Since 2017 Americans have spent between $17...

Woman drinking coffee and holding small cat near

On any given day, between 50 and 70 million...

Kristin Levine with dog

We recently had the opportunity to interview...

man working on laptop in coffee shop with a dog in his lap

September 29th is #NationalCoffeeDay, and we...

Puppy crate training in progress

There are many tools I utilize when training...