It’s a sunny afternoon, and Kristina Reusch is relaxing in her backyard in Kirkland, in Montreal’s West Island, with her black Labrador retriever, Sam.
He’s just come back from a walk, which takes more effort now that Sam is 12 years old, but Reusch has a product she hopes will help.
“Sam is going to be our newest CBD patient. He has hip dysplasia, and his hips are getting really stiff,” she said.
Reusch is one of a growing number of Montreal pet owners treating their pets for conditions like anxiety and pain using the Cannabidiol oil, or CBD, which is derived from the cannabis plant family.
But with no Health Canada-approved CBD medications for pets currently on the market and studies still underway, it’s difficult for pet owners to tell if they are buying a product that is safe and in accordance with the law.
What is CBD oil?
According to website of the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC), the provincial agency that sells recreational cannabis, CBD has “few or no psychotropic properties,” unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is also extracted from cannabis plants.
The SQDC says CBD does “not cause a feeling of euphoria in users,” but is instead “known for its therapeutic properties.”
It was those properties that first attracted Reusch to CBD over a year ago, when her 9-year-old cat Hailey began acting out due to anxiety.
“She started ripping her fur out, to the point where I started noticing big bald patches all over her body,” said Reusch.
After a prescription medication left Hailey drowsy and “zombie-like,” Reusch began reading about CBD oil and ordered some from British Columbia for Hailey.
“Everything remained normal, except for the fact that her behaviour issue, which was caused by anxiety, went away,” said Reusch.