Marijuana And Pets

Giving Marijuana to Pets: Is It Ever the Right Thing To Do?

I’ve seen people give marijuana to pets as if it was a harmless joke.

They’d blow marijuana smoke into the nostrils of a cat or dog, or they’d give their pets edible marijuana.

Sometimes it was iguanas, snakes, guinea pigs, gerbils, bunnies, or other “exotic” animals people keep as pets.

From what I’ve seen, cats dislike it when you blow marijuana smoke in their face. They have a natural fear of smoke.

Dogs are a different story.

Dogs often sit passively while people blow marijuana smoke into their respiratory system. Or they eagerly gobble up edible marijuana treats.

Then they get uber-excited, goofy, out of control, bark randomly, walk funny, or rush over to their food bowl.

If they ate too much edible marijuana, they became lethargic or disoriented, just like humans do under the same conditions.

Sometimes they got sick, and even vomited.

It all seemed like harmless fun back then, but things have changed when it comes to people giving marijuana to pets.

For example, some people, even veterinarians, use marijuana as a medicine for pets and farm animals.

Non-human animals get arthritis, cancer, depression, and other ailments just like we do, and have cannabinoid receptor systems just like we do.

Some vets, pet owners, scientists, and for-profit companies are experimenting with using medical marijuana edibles, teas, and non-alcohol tinctures, often high in CBD, to help relieve pain, inflammation, spasms, anorexia, cancer tumors and other medical problems in non-human animals.

High-CBD commercial pet products on the market so far have no scientific documentation to prove they’re useful (CBD is an abbreviation for the cannabinoid called “cannabidiol”).

In some cases, they’re sourcing CBD from industrial hemp rather than high-potency marijuana.

Hemp isn’t an efficient source of cannabinoids, and CBD by itself doesn’t provide the benefits provided by the complete suite of cannabinoids and terpenoids marijuana plants produce.

One thing is for sure, manufacturers making CBD products for pets are good at marketing and getting media attention.

Veterinarians & Pet Owners: Confused About Giving Marijuana to Pets

If your Golden Retriever or other pet has an illness such as a fast-moving cancer caused by Monsanto Round-Up sprayed on your yard or from other causes, a veterinarian might put your pet on powerful pain-killers, steroids, or even chemotherapy.

Those standard interventions have serious negative side-effects, so what’s the harm in trying medical marijuana, which when used properly has zero negative side-effects?

THC found exclusively in marijuana has been shown to have anti-cancer effects, including the ability to shrink tumors.

Anti-marijuana people in legalized marijuana states like Colorado and Washington claim veterinarians and police are seeing more and more cases of pets overdosing on marijuana.

They allege an epidemic of pets finding people’s marijuana medibles, bubblehash, BHO, cannabis tinctures, other dab materials, then eating the marijuana materials, and getting seriously ill, vomiting, falling down, going into a coma, or even (in rare cases) dying.

If you assumed that marijuana opponents are pushing this issue as yet another way to say marijuana shouldn’t be legal, or to put ludicrous regulations on marijuana edibles, you’re right.

And they’re pushing for new laws that specifically single out marijuana growers and users for extra jail time, fines, and other punishment for giving marijuana to pets– even if pets get hold of marijuana without their owner’s knowledge.

Thing is, if you have a sick, old, or terminally ill pet, especially one who isn’t eating, is having debilitating muscle spasms, or is in chemotherapy, medical marijuana might be the best medicine.

You should ask your veterinarian before giving marijuana to pets.

Just remember that as with doctors in general, most veterinarians are old school, afraid of cannabis prohibition, and often ultra-conservative when it comes to giving marijuana to pets.

A couple of years ago, I’d have recommended you talk to California medical marijuana veterinarian Dr. Doug Kramer, aka the “VetGuru,” the only veterinarian to gain international attention for publicly advocating medical marijuana for pets.

Unfortunately, Dr. Kramer died recently, at age 36…a terrible tragedy on so many levels.

One thing we should focus on is what is the animal going to experience. After all, marijuana is a powerful medicine, aphrodisiac, and intoxicant.

Your pets can’t tell you explicitly that they consent to using marijuana, nor can they tell you if it makes them feel better or worse.

If you’re engaged in a massive cannabis smoking session and your pets are in the room, they might be getting stoned from second-hand marijuana smoke.

The issue of consent is important. Doing things to animals is such a pervasive meme in our society that we don’t accord animals much respect when it comes to what they want.

We lack accurate insight whether giving marijuana to pets makes them feel good, bad, or indifferent, because they can’t explicitly tell us.

It’s not like your dog or cat is going to say, “Hey there friend, that weed was really good.”

How can we know  for sure that our pets are consenting to being dosed with marijuana?

I’ve even seen instances when people gave veterinarian-prescribed pharmaceutical medicines to pets, and it obviously made the animals ill.

In fact, I’ve seen at least one case where a dog was vomiting because of a veterinary pharmaceutical, but when the dog was given a whole-cannabis tincture, the vomiting stopped.

I’ve also noticed that pet owners have recognized that smoke presents problems for animals, so they’re giving their animals vaporizer vapor rather than combusted cannabis smoke.

Most reasonable people would say if you have a cancer-ridden dog who starts eating again after days of not eating because medical marijuana helped stimulate the dog’s mood and appetite, go for it.

But until veterinarians, pet owners, and scientists figure out marijuana affects pets, giving marijuana to pets has to be done with care and sensitivity.

I recommend giving marijuana to pets only in consultation with a veterinarian.

Use lab-tested, dose-controlled, whole-marijuana derived organic cannabis tinctures sold through a dispensary.

Administer a very tiny dose and then carefully observe your pet. Tune in to your empathy, and focus on your pet’s feelings.

Here’s a poignant pet marijuana story from the website of the world’s premier animal advocacy organization: PETA (aka People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

This was the situation I was recently in when my kitty of 11 years, Monkey, was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. The tumor was not operable, and the vet believed that the best course of action was to keep her feeling as good as we could for as long as possible. The cancer has caused her to lose a lot of weight, and she was having trouble sleeping. I decided to mix a little cannabis oil in with her wet food and was astounded at the difference. She started acting like a kitten again, able to eat and play. She slept and purred and acted like herself again. Even though I ended up losing her to cancer several months later, in that time I got to enjoy her for the kitty she was, not watch her slowly disappear before my eyes. I had shared with my vet that I was giving her these treatments. My vet was supportive, and as a medical-marijuana patient in the state of California, I had access to the medicine that she needed. It was through researching this treatment that I discovered that medical marijuana for animals was not a new concept and was not as “out there” as I had originally thought.

There is evidence that marijuana was used to treat horses by the Ancient Greeks through a treatment called Berlin Hippiatrica, which involves placing a mixture of herbs, including marijuana, on a horse’s wounds. A modern version, a poultice called Lame Away, was developed by Brian Walker and Ed Breslin in California, inspired by Walker’s daughter, who rides horses. After seeing inflammation problems that were not helped by traditional pain medications and alternative therapies such as chiropractors, Walker made a salve that included THC-A, the nonpsychoactive form of the chemical THC, which is found in marijuana. The effect on the horses was astounding, and Lame Away was born. The product line now includes the poultice, plus a salve for wounds and an internal tincture to maintain health, all made with THC-A so that they are not psychoactive. But topical preparations and nonpsychoactive versions of marijuana are not the only products being investigated by vets.

Veterinarian Doug Kramer from Los Angeles has developed a special tincture for dogs and cats made with marijuana called Canine Companion. The tincture is sold in medical-marijuana dispensaries and is designed to treat animals for pain, inflammation, and end-of-life health issues. As with medical marijuana for humans, it is personal experience that usually precedes involvement. Kramer had a similar experience with his dog as I did with Monkey. Marijuana eased the pain during her final weeks. The marijuana caused her to stop whimpering and start eating, gaining weight, and acting more like herself. It wasn’t a cure, but he believed it helped alleviate her pain during her last days. For human caregivers, this relief is really all we want for our animal companions.

Giving marijuana to pets could be the most compassionate thing you can do in some circumstances.

Do it ethically, with awareness and compassion. Your pet may well get value from Nature’s kindest plant.

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