Following the legalisation of marijuana as a medicine for human use in 29 American states, pet owners are, in increasing numbers, turning to medical marijuana to treat their sick pets suffering from ailments such as arthritis and cancer.
Cats, dogs, horses and lizards are some of the animals who are said to have benefited from medical marijuana. The manufacture, sale and distribution of marijuana has become a multibillion dollar industry in America.
There is an astonishing growth in its use.
“We are seeing about 20% growth every month; we are treating thousands of animals”.-Alison Ettel, the founder of a California company that supplies pet cannabis products.
It is interesting to note that the US federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration which oversees the safety and efficacy of drugs both animals and humans has not approved marijuana use either in humans or animals. This is despite the fact that individual American states have sanctioned the drug.
Notwithstanding that the understanding of how cannabis might improve health is still work in progress, a growing number of cat and dog owners are giving cannabis to their companion animals.
Alison Ettel said that pet owners came to her and asked whether the drug might help their companion animal. She says that her company is finding that it does and that it does not get dogs and cats high. It is not toxic, she says. I wonder how she knows that? I think it is because of low THC levels (the element that makes people high).
There are two cases which demonstrate the extraordinary efficacy of cannabis as a medicine. One concerns a horse. He has degenerative ligament disease. He was close to being destroyed after laying down and refusing to eat. He was given marijuana extract. He was back on his feet within an hour.
Another story concerns a skunk. He had become lame. He found fresh energy after he chewed on hemp treats. Other pet owners have used the medicine to calm down their dogs suffering from anxiety and to alleviate pain.
The medicine comes as a tincture or as a treat which can be chewed. Another form of administration of this drug is shampoos and sprays as manufactured by Nature’s Best in Pennsylvania.
Alison Ettel’s company, Treatwell, started out making edible cannabis for humans. They then manufactured dog biscuits high in cannabinoids. These are chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers which provide pain relief and relief from nausea and anxiety.
I’m told that cannabis can be toxic to pets, or certain elements of cannabis can be and human dosages can be fatal. I wonder if the expansion of cannabis as an animal medicine is moving on to quickly without proper scientific evaluation.
Common sense advice: start with the smallest dose possible if you want to try it and make sure it is prepared for animal use by a reputable manufacturer.