The legalization of marijuana has been a hot button issue for years. With medicinal marijuana legal in 24 states
- and recreationally legal in four - the public perception of cannabis is steadily shifting towards one of acceptance. For people.But what about for pets?
A new bill is hitting the floor of the Nevada state senate that would permit dogs and cats to be prescribed medicinal marijuana
. Headed up by Sen. Tick Segerblom
, this bill would be the first to approve the use of this once insidious substance for pets. Here is why this is great news for pet owners.
Marijuana Helps Manage Chronic Pain
People are discovering more and more that cannabis
can be an effective alternative to modern treatments. Tetrohydrocannabinol (or THC) is the active ingredient in marijuana, and its medicinal applications are quite extensive
. Studies show that THC is capable of activating pathways in the central nervous system that help block pain signals from getting to the brain, making it a very effective pain reliever. It is also reported to help
patients deal with nausea, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, symptoms of glaucoma, and more. It is also (surprisingly) quite effective at calming asthma attacks.A Los Angeles veterinarian, Doug Kramer, told The Associated Press
in 2013 that cannabis provided his Husky, Nikita, with some much needed relief during the twilight of her life. Nikita was given small doses of marijuana after an invasive operation to remove tumors. The treatment succeeded in managing her post-op pain, as well as help her gain some much needed weight.And Nikita is not alone. A number of vets and pet parents are noticing the pain relieving capabilities of marijuana for pets, helping to alleviate the often crippling side effects of cancer treatment and other types of chronic pain. It is also a naturally occurring substance. So for people looking for a pain relief solution that was not synthesized in a lab somewhere, marijuana is a promising alternative. The same goes for pets.
Why Legalization of Marijuana for Pets is Controversial
Just like any controlled substance, medical professionals are often reluctant to comment one way or the other on its effectiveness without years of testing. And with marijuana legalization being the lightning rod that it is, vets are especially hesitant to make any hard and fast claims on its usage in pets.Yes, there are numerous cases of how medicinal marijuana helps to improve the quality of life in pets suffering from painful and often life threatening conditions. That said, the effects of marijuana on pets is still largely unknown. And with reports of pets making themselves sick after consuming edibles, it is only natural to expect some pet owners to be hesitant about sanctioning this drug’s use for pets.
Why You Shouldn't Be Worried About Medical Marijuana for Pets
True, marijuana can cause some adverse reactions - when taken in excess. The same goes for any controlled substance. The key to remember when discussing pets getting sick from marijuana is that the edibles these pets are eating are intended for human consumption, and often contain more than one dosage per edible.So if a dog leaps up onto the counter and chows down on an entire pot cookie, of course they are going to get sick. They just took upwards of two human doses. The same thing would happen if they were to overindulge on other pain medications like Rimadyl
. The issue here is not the substance in question, but the quantity therein.And unlike other pain relievers, there have been no reported fatalities from overdosing
. They may be in for an uncomfortable few hours, and you should absolutely take them to a hospital for monitoring, but the odds that your pet will die from consuming too much cannabis is next to zero. Not many pain relievers can make that claim.
While we are still far from seeing "Marijuana Milkbones" make an appearance at the local pot dispensary, the applications for this drug in the veterinary realm are quite promising. If the studies being done end up supporting the hypothesis, more states may begin to follow Sen. Tick Segerblom’s example.Until there are conclusive studies done, however, medicinal marijuana is strictly humans-only and should be treated with the same discretion you would any other prescription medication. If you notice your pet is in pain, take them to the vet and let them determine what FDA approved medication would work best. And unless you are a licensed vet yourself, you should never give your pet any medication without the consent of a medical professional
- and that means marijuana too.Pet parents looking for a solution for their pet's pain should consult their vet and then check out PetPlus. With wholesale pricing on all major pet pain medications, as well as preventatives like Frontline Plus, Heartgard, and Advantix, PetPlus is the simplest way for pet parents to save thousands on their pet's health care needs.