How To Make Cannabis Butter For Sick Pets
This is going to be incredibly painful to write, but I do so in the hopes that someone who is in desperate need of this information will find it and be able to help their pet in distress.
This past weekend Mrs. Sprout and I lost our beloved pet Dachshund, Molly. I can’t even begin to convey the sadness we’re feeling right now. Animals have always held a very sacred place in our hearts, but our love for Molly was truly special.
Molly came into our life when I was going through a particularly difficult time with my health. Things were not going well for me and the future looked very bleak indeed.
Mrs. Sprout, in her infinite wisdom, thought a puppy would be a positive distraction from the daily pain I was dealing with. And so, on a beautiful autumn day 9 years ago, Molly came waddling into our life. It was truly love at first sight.
Since that day she has been our constant companion, spending nearly 24 hours a day with at least one of us, bringing us an endless supply of love, joy, laughter and happiness. So often, when I was down in the lowest of the low places, when my health struggles had gotten the better of me and I could no longer stem the flow of tears, Molly would come running from wherever she was in the house, jumping up on my chest to lick my face incessantly until I would break out in laughter. Only when I started to smile would she relent her onslaught of kisses. And so when Molly took seriously ill two weeks ago, it was my turn to comfort her.
For those of you who are animal lovers, I know this may be difficult to read so I will do my best to spare you the painful details. The gist of it is this; Molly seriously injured her neck, although we still aren’t sure how. We immediately took her to the vet to have her checked over. They felt that perhaps she pinched a nerve in her neck and sent us home with some medication and told us to keep her confined and as immobilized as possible in order to let the injury subside.
Things took a dramatic turn for the worst late one night, and we had to rush her back to the vet in in the middle of the night. The vet decided she required hospitalization and heavy medication. After three days in the animal hospital the Doctor thought it best that we try and bring her home to make her more comfortable as she wasn’t eating or drinking anything and maybe being home would lift her spirits. Surgery wasn’t an option, so all we could do is try and provide pain control and hopefully things would calm down on their own. They put a Fentanyl patch on her, and sent us home with Prednisone, Tramadol, and Gabapentin to try and manage her severe pain.
At first she did seem more comfortable, and we were elated when we were able to get her to start eating a little bit again (chopped organic cucumbers from our garden – one of her favourite treats), but it was clear she was still in extraordinary pain. My wife and I were sleeping in shifts, one of us with her in her pen at all times lying right beside her to comfort her, but after a week things didn’t seem to be getting any better. On top of that the Prednisone was making her extremely anxious and restless and she wasn’t able to sleep despite being on heavy narcotics. This was very worrying since she absolutely needed rest in order to heal, so out of desperation I decided to turn to Cannabis.
Now I want to make something very clear. I am not a vet, I am not a doctor, and I am in no way qualified to give medical advice. I was just a desperate and horribly worried puppy parent with no options left and my heart breaking to see my little girl in so much pain and discomfort.
The information I am about to provide is only to be used in dire circumstances, and when there are no other options left. I do not recommend giving your pets Cannabis as it can be an absolutely horrible and terrifying experience for them if dosed incorrectly. For this very reason you would be hard pressed to find any vet who would condone what I did, but I felt I had to give it a shot, and I strongly feel this information must be shared.
Only Use High CBD, Low THC Cannabis Strains For Pets
Thankfully I have been working on breeding a number of high CBD cannabis strains so I had at my disposal a few excellent chemotypes that produce little to no discernible psychoactive effect while still providing relaxation and pain relief. This is key! If you are going to make cannabis butter for your pet, you must use a low potency (read low THC) high CBD strain. High THC strains that we enjoy as Cannabis connoisseurs are NOT going to be helpful for your pet, and will likely only cause them greater discomfort and anxiety which is simply not an option.
I realize not many people are going to have access to a high CBD strain. If this is the case, and it is an absolute emergency, then you could use a heavy Indica strain and vaporize off a large portion of the THC using a device such as a Volcano or Silver Surfer vaporizer. You can then take the spent herb (which will now be brown, crispy, and far less potent) and use that for your butter.
Molly’s Butter Recipe
Using a very high CBD chemotype (approximately 10% CBD, 5% THC) I put 3.5 grams of intact bud on a parchment lined cookie sheet in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, making sure to rotate the buds around every 5 minutes or so to fully expose them to the heat.
This process (called decarboxylation) is essential to activating the cannabinoids in the buds since they won’t be heated by smoking or vaporizing.
While the buds were cooking, I placed one cup of butter and one cup of water (the water keeps the butter from burning) in a pot on the stove and melted it at the lowest setting possible.
I then took a single gram of the cooked bud and crumbled it up slightly with my fingers. The crumbled bud was then dumped into the butter and water mixture, stirred together, and brought to a gentle simmer.
I let this mixture simmer for 2 hours in order to fully dissolve the cannabinoids into the butter. Important: Never let this mixture boil, and keep a lid on the pot to stop the water from escaping. Stir every 10 minutes or so.
Once the mixture has simmered for 2 hours, you need to strain out the bits of cannabis. Cheesecloth is best for this, but since I didn’t have any on hand, I used a tea strainer and poured the mixture back and forth between two glass containers until I had removed almost all of the bud material.
The next step is to separate the butter from the water. To do this put the mixture in a glass container in the fridge for about an hour. The butter will rise to the top and solidify, and you can then just remove the solid block of butter from the container and discard the water. The bottom of the butter may be a bit mucky from the water so I just pat it dry with paper towels and discard them.
Now for the crucial step of testing the butter on yourself. Do not skip this step. Since there is so much variation in bud potency, unless you’ve had your cannabis tested by a reputable lab, you have no idea how much THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids will be contained within the butter. Therefore you absolutely must test the butter on yourself to determine potency.
I took a sample of 1 teaspoon (5ml) of butter, spread it on some toast, ate it, and started my stopwatch. Starting at 45 minutes after ingestion I felt some mild headiness, but only very slightly. This was from the small amount of THC kicking in first. After 2 hours the headiness had completely dissipated as the Cannabidiol took over and began doing its work on my muscles and anxiety; producing a gentle calming effect and moderate muscle relaxation. Since peak absorption of ingested Cannabis is reached at 2 hours, I now had a benchmark for the potency of this batch of butter and could adjust the dosage appropriately for Molly.
Note: If you feel anything more than just a mild effect from the butter, it will be too strong for your pet, and you must adjust the dosage down accordingly. Since I only felt very moderate effect, I felt comfortable giving Molly a weight-adjusted dose appropriate to her 15 pound body.
Using the 5ml dose of butter I ingested at my bodyweight of 225 pounds, it worked out 0.0222ml of butter per pound of bodyweight. When testing on yourself, use this number to calculate how much you need to personally sample.
For Molly’s bodyweight of 15 pounds, that would be a 0.333ml dose of cannabis butter. However, dogs and humans do not have the same metabolisms. Also, considering the fact that Molly had so many potent medications in her system already, I was weary of causing an adverse reaction so I decided to cut that dose in half for safety sake. If it was ineffective, I would know within two hours and I could always give her more.
Please please please do not take this lightly. You must start with extremely small doses and work up to what is effective for your pet. I am talking tiny MICRO doses here. And again, do not do this unless you have no other options left.
Deciding on a micro dose of 0.15ml of cannabis butter, I placed some of the hardened butter in a small glass dish, which I then placed in a larger dish of very hot water to melt the butter (DO NOT use a microwave). I then used a brand new and sterilized 1ml medicine syringe the vet had given us and drew up 1ml of butter into the syringe. I then took a sheet of tin foil, placed it on a cookie tray, and dispensed 0.15ml drops of butter onto the sheet and immediate placed it in the freezer. Once the butter drops had frozen I was able to cleanly pluck them off with a dull knife. I then took this tiny amount of butter and simply smeared it on the roof of Molly’s mouth so she couldn’t spit it out. Then we waited.
Within half an hour Molly was noticeably more comfortable. Where previously she was constantly shivering and whimpering from pain with her pupils as big as saucers, she was now sitting normally and the whimpering and shivering had ceased. Within 2 hours she was sleeping peacefully on her side, and even stretched a couple of times to indicated her comfort.
The true test came when she needed to go outside to pee. This was a challenge because her neck was in so much pain she couldn’t place any weight on her right leg. We would have to set her on the grass extremely carefully and pick her right back up again before she had a chance to move around. Even still, nearly every time we did this she would yelp in pain and we would have to spend the next half hour trying to calm and comfort her.
This time was different. We picked her up as before but this time you could tell by how her body felt that she wasn’t tensed up and she was so much more relaxed. We put her on the grass and she actually stood on her right leg with no problems. She was a little wobbly, but no yelps, and she actually wanted to walk around a little. So we put a blanket down on the grass for her and she contently laid down and rested for quite a while.
When it was time to go back inside she actually ate some food and drank some water and then immediately went back to sleeping. This was the first time in well over a week that she was able to rest in comfort. No more getting up every 10 minutes trying to reposition herself. No more shivering and crying, no more constant anxiousness.
That night she slept better than she had since this whole nightmare began. We were even able to get a little sleep ourselves now that she wasn’t getting up in pain multiple times an hour. The next few days the butter continued to work it’s magic. Her pain would intensify and return about 8 hours after her last dose of butter, so we began giving it to her on a regular schedule as soon as we noticed her becoming restless again. Each time, within half an hour of her dose she would calm right back down again and that pained look in her eyes would diminish. I can’t tell you how thankful we were to be able to bring her some relief.
This whole ordeal has reaffirmed why I do what I do. Cannabis has been such a blessing in my life. It was there for me when I was so sick and in so much pain that I was wasting away from starvation. Today, it keeps me functioning when I would otherwise have to take so many toxic medications that I am sure I would be hopelessly depressed and probably give up on life altogether. It was there for my mom when she was dying of pancreatic cancer and all the most powerful medications in the world couldn’t bring her any relief. Cannabis eased her considerable pain. It brought her restful sleep, and even the ability to eat a few very small home cooked meals in her final days.
And with our beloved Molly, we were gifted with a few more days with her before she had to leave this world. But those were days that were no longer filled with pain, anxiety, and constant fear.
On her last day the three of us spent the whole day outside in our beautiful garden; on the grass, the sun shining and the birds singing around us. Just before she left she stood up and went for one last walk with me through the garden; no limping, no pain, just slowly strolling, taking time to sniff the flowers, letting me know she wasn’t hurting anymore.
I love you my beautiful little girl. You will be in my heart always.
Molly, keeping watch over Daddy’s plants