Puppies on pot: It may sound a little unorthodox, but hemp-laced pet medicine is growing in popularity.
According to NBC News, pet owners are using it to help their animals manage pain, anxiety and chronic illnesses. Five-year-old Georgia, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, suffers from a neurological disease. When traditional medicine failed to help her, Georgia’s owner, Kelly Conway, opted to try cannabis-based medicine at her veterinarian’s urging. NBC said:
Conway was skeptical, but to her surprise, it worked.
“It has truly been a miracle and I don’t say that lightly,” Conway told CNBC. “I feel like I have a whole new dog. Georgia’s happy and relaxed. She’s not in pain. It’s amazing.”
Seattle-based Canna-Pet and Canna Companion specialize in cannabis for pets. The companies utilize hemp in creating their cannabis compound for cats and dogs. The hemp-based meds include just a trace amount of the high-inducing THC. So the animals are getting the beneficial components of cannabis without the high.
Unfortunately the growing new industry has no real regulations for manufacturing, verifying and standardizing the contents of the medicine. NBC said:
“There’s a huge amount of research that needs to be done,” said Narda Robinson, director of the Center for Comparative and Integrative Medicine at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. “I expect there is some effect, but we need rigorous studies. We need to know more about safety and dosing and proper applications.”
Robinson hopes to start clinical trials sometime next year.
At the same time that medical marijuana for pets is gaining popularity, veterinarians are reporting that a record number of dogs are getting stoned on marijuana, in an unsafe way, after finding and eating their owners’ pot edibles. According to USA Today:
“We see dogs stoned out of their minds for days. They’re a mess,” said Tim Hackett, director of the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. “The pot goes in cookies and butters. Dogs love that stuff, and they won’t eat just one.”
Hackett said marijuana itself isn’t toxic to dogs, but in large quantities (like when a dog eats a pound of pot cookies), it can be dangerous. A stoned dog has issues breathing and vomiting, and there is a risk of serious illness or even death, he said. Synthetic marijuana can also kill pets.
Until clinical trials on marijuana use with pets have been completed, NBC said, vets concur it’s best to practice caution. “Never give any cannabis-based product to your dog or cat without consulting your vet,” NBC said.
If one of my two labs was suffering from a medical condition that could be helped by a hemp-based medicine, I would consider giving it to them. Of course, I would try traditional medicine first, but it sounds like a promising alternative to modern medicine for pets.
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