What is Delta-8 THC?

You’ve probably already heard of CBD (cannabidiol) and marijuana (delta-9 THC) but you might not yet have heard of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol. Delta 8 is a federally legal cannabinoid derived from cannabis. Delta 8 THC became legal when Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill which regulated and legalized hemp and hemp cultivation. Hemp, or industrial hemp, is defined as a cannabis plant containing less than .3% delta 9 THC. Although delta-8 is federally legal due to the 2018 Farm Bill, around a dozen states have chosen to outlaw delta-8 THC.

What are the effects of Delta-8 THC?

Although research and studies on delta 8 THC have been limited; anecdotally delta 8 has been known to come with many health benefits as well as providing a “smoother” high for users as opposed to delta 9 THC.

Some of the benefits of delta 8 include:

  • Helping users fall asleep

  • Pain reduction

  • Improved appetite

  • Increased relaxation

  • Decreased anxiety

  • Calming effects

With all of these benefits delta 8 might sound appealing to some pet owners, especially those dealing with anxious pets. Although delta-8 sounds like a potential solution, it can actually be toxic to animals.

Is Delta-8 THC Safe for Dogs?

No! 

You should avoid giving delta-8 THC to your dog for any reason.  Although there haven’t been specific studies addressing giving delta-8 to dogs, delta-8 is very similar in structure to delta-9 THC.  Delta-9 THC is known to be toxic to pets and due to the similarities and psychoactive effects of delta-8, there’s a chance it is toxic to dogs as well.  CBD has no psychoactive properties and is safe to give to your dog.

Is Delta-8 THC Safe for Cats?

No! 

Delta-8 is potentially toxic to cats and should not be given to your pet feline.  Cats will act “high” when given catnip but it acts like a pheromone and not a drug.  Giving your cat a drug like delta-8 or delta-9 THC can be dangerous.  Like with other animals, giving CBD to cats is totally safe and a hemp-derived alternative that has multiple benefits for your cat.  Although marijuana intoxication in cats only makes up 3% of animal marijuana intoxication cases, that’s likely due to how much more likely it is for dogs to get into delta-8 or marijuana without the owner’s knowledge.  Marijuana intoxication and delta-8 intoxication is possible with cats it is just rare.

Why is Delta 8 bad for my pet?

It’s well known that delta 9 THC can be toxic to animals and delta 8 is very similar to delta 9 structurally. Regardless of the lack of research, it’s safe to assume delta 8 would be toxic as well.

According to the Canadian Veterinary Journal, dogs have a much higher number of cannabinoid receptors in their endocannabinoid system than humans which makes them more susceptible to the toxic effects of THC. So although delta 8 THC might relax you and give you a “mild” psychoactive high, it could lead to a bad and potentially dangerous experience for your furry friends.

What should I do if my pet ingested Delta 8?

Although now you know not to give your family pet delta-8 THC products, accidents do happen and pets will definitely try to get their mouths on edibles if given the chance. THC edibles and candies can be particularly dangerous for your pet due to the possibility of contaminants or other ingredients that are harmful to your pet, the THC notwithstanding. If you happen to find that your pet has gotten into your delta 8 gummies or other products, your safest bet is to contact your veterinarian or poison control. In all likelihood, your pet will be just fine as the lethal dose for delta 9 is a very high amount of THC; 1.25g/lb. Of course it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet.

Most pet owners might not notice their pet has gotten into their delta 8 until they notice their pet is acting differently.

Side effects and symptoms of your pet ingesting delta 8 include but aren’t limited to:

  • Excessive sleeping

  • Lethargy

  • Urinary incontinence

  • “Drunk” walking

  • Low blood pressure

  • Increased heart rate

In extreme and high toxicity cases a pet can even suffer from:

  • Vomiting

  • Tremors

  • Seizures

  • Drooling

If you notice your pet experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should definitely contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Are there any alternatives to delta 8?

Yes! Although delta 8 and delta 9 can be toxic to pets and are to be avoided, pet owners still have a hemp derived option to give to their pets. CBD (cannabidiol) is a completely safe, non-psychoactive option for animals with no legality issues.

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one CBD product (by prescription) they acknowledge CBD comes with potential health benefits and supports more scientific research.

CBD has a calming effect on humans as well as pets and can be a great option to help calm them down when it comes to common anxiety inducing events for your pets like:

  • Going to the groomers

  • Fireworks

  • Boarding

  • Road Trips

Amy, owner of All Creatures Mobile Grooming, has first hand experience with pet owners giving their animals CBD and noticing the positive effects,

“Many animals get nervous about grooming but we have seen that dogs and cats do so much better and are far less nervous if given CBD before their appointment. They’re able to remain calm and enjoy their special spa day,”

In addition to the calming and anxiety reducing effects of CBD, many pet owners have found that giving their pet CBD has the same positive health effects as CBD in humans including;

  • Anti-inflammation

  • Pain Relief

  • Reduction in arthritis severity

  • Helpful with digestion

What CBD product do I give my pet?

So you’ve decided you want to try giving your pet CBD but there are tons of different options on the market. How can you know what you’re giving your pet is safe and effective?

First, you want to make sure whatever vendor you’re buying from is reputable and sells products that have been lab tested. Due to the danger of delta 8 and delta 9 THC to pets, you want to be sure that what you’re buying doesn’t contain either of those cannabinoids. Whatever you’re buying needs to be CBD so your pet can enjoy the health benefits without you having to worry about the product being potentially dangerous for them.

The easiest way for you to administer CBD to your pets is going to be CBD oil. CBD oil can be dropped directly onto your pet’s tongue or onto their food for easy consumption.

Kings of Canna offers CBD oil in salmon and  chicken flavors which your pet will definitely enjoy.

How much CBD do I give my pet? What is the dosage?

If you’re new to giving your pet CBD, it’s definitely best to start small to see how they react.  If you find the CBD isn’t having any sort of intended effect you can always up the dosage later.

The recommended dosage is 1mg/5lbs. For example, if your pet weighs 50 lbs the recommended dosage would be 20mg.  Always make sure you know how much CBD is in the product you purchase as well as the dropper you’re using to administer the dose.

This page includes a helpful calculator to make sure you’re giving your pet the proper amount.

Summary

As a reminder, never give your pet delta-8 or delta-9 THC as they can be toxic to pets and even potentially fatal at extremely high doses.  If you’re looking to give your pet the health benefits of hemp plant products, CBD is a completely safe alternative and your pets will thank you for it.

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