As medical marijuana gains popular acceptance in the United States – and even legal favor with the majority of states – new frontiers are opening up that even the brightest pot enthusiast could have imagined even a few years ago. One area that‘s “hot product” right now is medical marijuana for pets. In fact, more and more animal lovers are considering medical marijuana – or cannabis to be accurate – as a treatment option for their furry four-legged family members.
It’s even opening up a slew of debate as incomplete headlines like “Marijuana for pets” and “Feed your pet medical marijuana,” give the impression that people are recklessly getting their dogs and cats high for recreational purposes. But in fact, more and more medical experts and pet owners are giving ringing endorsements for medical cannabis for animals in some cases.
First off, administering medical cannabis or any medical treatment to a pet should always be done under supervision of a veterinarian. And it’s important to note that any veterinarian who writes a prescription for medical marijuana for a pet is still technically doing so illegally per federal laws. Furthermore, we’re not talking about giving your pet marijuana to get them “high.” Instead, medical cannabis for animals comes in the form of hemp-based capsules that contain only trace amounts of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive ingredient that delivers the high. So cannabis for pets mirrors the medical benefits for humans. In particular, animals who are suffering chronic pain, aren’t eating or keeping on weight, are dizzy or nauseas, or suffer from all sorts of cancers, neurological conditions, and even anxiety etc. can benefit.
It’s also a field of commerce that is completely unregulated according to our current laws. No federal or state agency has made provisions for medical marijuana for pets. And though the Drug Enforcement Agency still technically considers marijuana, hemp, and cannabis controlled substances, they have deprioritized criminal enforcement, and new bills that would further legalize medical marijuana are being introduced seemingly every week.
Two companies from Seattle, Washington, where medical and recreational pot are already legal, have stepped into the gray area of medical marijuana for pets: Canna-Pet and Canna Companion. And they’re gaining prominence faster than they can manufacture their hemp-based veterinary medicines as animal lovers and pet owners all over the United States and now across the world are buying their products.
Canna Companion opened operations in March after eight years of research and experimentation by husband and wife founders, and both veterinarians, Dr. Sarah Brandon and Dr. Greg Copas. And Canna-Pet has been selling its product to the public for about eight months. So far, both companies have reported a steady wave of positive testimonials from pet owners who use their products. But they sternly agree that this is still just anecdotal evidence, and more proper scientific research is sorely needed. Experts agree that it makes perfect sense animals would see similar benefits to humans who use medical marijuana, but more testing and caution is the responsible course of action.
“We don’t have any data to go on to indicate whether it’s going to have a therapeutic effect or whether it’s potentially problematic,” said Patricia Talcott, professor of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. “It’s probably low risk, but we simply don’t know.”
But pet owners continue to rush to their websites and order medical marijuana for their ailing pets, in what’s being labeled an “exploding market.” You’ve taken your dog to the vet and given them prescribed medication before, and maybe even gave catnip to your feline pet, so why not medical marijuana to responsibly alleviate their pain and suffering.