Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine: Cannabinoid Therapies for Animals

  • Joshua A. HartselEmail author
  • Kyle Boyar
  • Andrew Pham
  • Robert J. Silver
  • Alexandros Makriyannis


The use of cannabis for animal species is an area of growing interest, largely due to the therapeutic benefits being observed for humans and animals in the era of cannabis legalization. The close relationship humans have with their pets and other veterinary species has led to a renewed interest in the possibility and promise of cannabis to treat similar health issues in the animal community. This chapter explores the literature available on cannabis, its interactions with the endocannabinoid system, and how animal species interact with various formulations and cannabis treatments. A brief overview of the biology, chemistry, and history of cannabis is discussed with the relevance to veterinary species in mind. The pharmacologically active components are discussed with both anecdotal and objective, evidence-based, and clinical data.


Cannabis Cannabidiol CBD Cannabinoids Nutritional supplement Nutraceutical Veterinary medicine Animals Veterinarian 



The authors of this chapter would like to thank the many individuals and institutions who have had the courage and insight to work tirelessly in this field of cannabinoid therapeutics to contribute substantial understanding to the world scientific literature of the many benefits and few risks associated with the use of cannabis and its derivatives, in both human and veterinary species. In particular, the authors of this chapter want to express their gratitude to the veterinary clinical research teams from Colorado State (under the guidance of Stephanie McGrath) and Cornell Universities (under the guidance of Joe Wakslag) for having completed in the canine patient the first-ever safety studies, comparative pharmacokinetic studies, and efficacy studies to determine the ability of cannabinoids to reduce osteoarthritic discomfort and to help patients with refractory epilepsy. The authors would also like to extend their gratitude to Dr. Ethan Russo, Dr. Jahan Marcu, and Kevin McKernan for their thoughtful insights and review of the chapter. We look forward to the continued development of evidence supporting the clinical use of cannabis and its derivatives for many valuable applications in veterinary species. It is our fervent hope that the information presented in this chapter will help future research efforts bring more detailed data regarding the range of applications for cannabinoids in veterinary species.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua A. Hartsel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kyle Boyar
    • 2
  • Andrew Pham
    • 3
  • Robert J. Silver
    • 4
  • Alexandros Makriyannis
    • 5
  1. 1.Delta-9 Technologies, LLCLake ForestUSA
  2. 2.Medicinal GenomicsWoburnUSA
  3. 3.BelCosta LabsLong BeachUSA
  4. 4.RX VitaminsElmsfordUSA
  5. 5.Northeastern UniversityBostonUSA

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