Cannabis use and pets




Cannabis in veterinary medicine

Compiled by veterinary experts, this report provides a firm base of knowledge for veterinary practitioners about cannabis in veterinary medicine.



As variations of cannabis-derived products have become more accessible, veterinarians have seen increased interest among clients in using these products for their pets. It's important to understand the legal landscape surrounding cannabis when talking with clients about whether these products are legal, safe, or effective for treating medical conditions in animals.

Cannabis (categorized as either marijuana and hemp) is handled differently under federal and state laws. More than half of U.S. states have passed legislation permitting medicinal us​e of marijuana in humans under strict guidelines. Additional states have passed laws permitting its recreational use. State laws legalizing marijuana or hemp use in people do not apply to such use in animals. However, in recent years, laws pertaining to the use of hemp-derived products in animals have been implemented in many states.

Get answers to your regulatory questions in our FAQ

For a detailed guide to cannabis and its impact on veterinary medicine, view the AVMA's report on cannabis in veterinary medicine.

Cannabis can be further defined as either marijuana or hemp, depending on concentration of a substance called Δ9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This distinction also impacts how cannabis is regulated.

  • Cannabis with a Δ9 THC concentration exceeding 0.3% dry weight is referred to as marijuana. Marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act and its use is regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
  • The DEA additionally lists tetrahydrocannabinols as Schedule I controlled substances, including Δ9-THC, Δ8-THC, and others.
  • Products from the Cannabis sativa subspecies with a Δ9 THC concentration less than 0.3% dry weight are referred to as hemp, which was descheduled in 2018 through passage of the Farm Bill.