Cannabis and Animals

Those Horses Are Flying…But They’re Not Pegasus

 

Cannabis – Can I Please?

As you may know, the U.S. Pet Industry is worth more than $60 billion per year and climbing. That’s a pretty good chunk of change. Pet parents give their little fur babies whatever their heart’s desire. But why would mama’s little fur baby desire cannabis? For medical reasons of course.

Cannabis Science Inc. (OTCMKTS:CBIS), a mover and a shaker in the cannabis industry recently acquired Equi-Pharm in order to gain entrance into the pet care industry and work on cannabis based medications aimed at the furriest members of your family, even though THC is not legal yet for animals.

Equi-Pharm usually sticks to topical applications of medications and distributes and manufactures pet and specialty horse grooming items, but according to “Journal Transcript,” Cannabis Science Inc. and Equi-pharm have paired up to work the marijuana called “purple haze” into some of Equi-pharm’s topical medicinal applications.

As of now, Equi-Pharm is working on the first of three cannabinoid-infused pet products that are likely to be available in the pet market very soon.

Soon?

How soon is very soon?

There are already cannabis-containing edible treats and capsules on the market for sick and aging pets, and they seem to be working, although they have to be very careful about the claims they make.

It should be noted that the cannabis cookies and pills that are now being made for these ailing animals, don’t make your pet high. They are made with cannabidiol, or CBD, a part of the cannabis plant that is non-psychoactive. Still, pet owners from all walks of life swear by them.

Another soon, which should be a very, isn’t coming soon enough. This soon comes to us in the form of a bill that was introduced in March 2015 in the Nevada Legislature.

Democratic Sen. Tick Segerblom is sponsoring the measure that would allow animal owners to get medical marijuana for their pet if a veterinarian certifies the animal has a sickness that might be reduced, eased or relieved by the drug.

The proposal is in its earliest stages and needs to jump over a few legislative hurdles before it can become law. It’s part of a larger bill that would overhaul the state’s medical marijuana law, removing penalties for drivers who have marijuana in their blood and requiring training for pot-shop owners. It’s called, fittingly enough, “pot-for-pets,” and is provision SB372 of the larger bill.

The Wonder Drug

Some veterinarians who have given cannabis to sick and dying pets say it has worked wonders at relieving symptoms, but it has not, as yet, been proven as an animal painkiller.

Yeah, but why give animals medical marijuana in the first place?

  • Did I mention a $60 billion per year industry?
  • Animals are the last frontier and quite a lucrative one at that.
  • And for all intents and purposes, medical marijuana works for them.
  • People treat their animals as members of their family, why wouldn’t they pay up when their pet is feeling down?

Help Me Doc, I’m Hurting Here

And will they need a prescription?

  • Ironically enough, though medical marijuana is legal for humans in 23 states, with even recreational use in four states and Washington, D.C.,
  • the American Veterinary Medical Association hasn’t yet taken a stance, and even in those states where it’s legal,
  • veterinarians are not allowed to prescribe cannabis to their patients. But they are allowed to treat the animal at the veterinary hospital.
  • As of now, they’re being told to use their own best judgment when using it in the hospital.
  • If and when the Nevada bill passes, Vets will be allowed to prescribe cannabis at that time.

Then I had a mental picture of dogs waiting in line at medical marijuana pharmacies, leaning against the wall, prescriptions in mouth, and complaining about their glaucoma. I just had to laugh.

That’s Not Funny

Not that this is a laughing matter.

  • Apparently, since veterinarians aren’t allowed to prescribe it, dosages can be a little iffy, with some owners of afflicted animals guessing at how much to give their sick pets from their own stash.
  • The danger here is that marijuana intoxication can and does occur in animals that have eaten dried marijuana plants, or food containing cannibis according to Eric Barchas, a San Francisco Bay area veterinarian.
  • Barchas says, animals can go on a “bad trip” that leaves them in dire straits, lacking the coordination to even eat and drink. An animal on a “bad trip” will get anxious and disoriented, and I’m guessing a few of you out there know how awful that feels.

Poison?

Too much weed appears clinically similar to other, more serious forms of poisoning.

That’s why it’s important to tell your vet that your animal has eaten cannabis from your prescription.

The vet needs to know how to treat the animal.

The bottom line is this:

if you give your animal too much of your own Mary Jane, then you’re likely to see the effects of marijuana intoxication visited upon your pet – and it’s not pleasant.

  • In severe cases, you may think that your pet is experiencing a seizure.
  • In these cases, noises, movements and any other sensory assault on their systems can sometimes cause the animal to:
  • tremble, or jerk their head, arms, legs and tail in seizure like movements,
  • most likely causing you to almost have a seizure yourself because you think you’ve just killed your dog.
  • Other symptoms include:
  • Anxiety, panting, and agitation.
  • An extreme fatigue or drowsiness or even a deep sleep that can border on unconsciousness.
  • No sense of balance. So instead of walking, they may stagger, around like a drunk, or someone having a stroke.
  • They may drool or throw up, and sometimes have diarrhea.
  • In addition to all that, the animal may lose control of his bowels or bladder.

This makes for a big mess on your carpet.

Not that you’d be worried about your carpet at this point, you’d be frightened that your precious fur baby has overdosed and is going to die because you thought it would be o.k. to guess at the dosage and to use your own stash to get him high, …er ease his pain.

Obviously, if your pet is in a state of marijuana intoxication, the dosage was too high.

Thankfully, over a period of several hours, your precious one will start to become normal again as that is the period of time the marijuana intoxication takes to wear off.

So Pass The Bill Already

Unfortunately, until the Nevada bill passes and dosages can start to be regulated by prescribing veterinarians, medical marijuana users the world over will continue to guestimate how much of their own prescription they can use to relieve the pain and suffering of their beloved animals; and animals who are dosed incorrectly will continue to pour into veterinary hospitals to be treated for marijuana overdose.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care found that the number of dogs treated for marijuana overdoses at two Colorado veterinary hospitals quadrupled in five years following the legalization of medical marijuana in the state.

So if you’re thinking about smoking a bong with your arthritic Appaloosa – don’t. Cannabis holds some promise, but a lot of research still needs to be done. Be smart. Talk to your vet first before giving your pet cannabis in any way, shape, or form, even if it’s the treats without the THC. If it contains THC, definitely have a long heart to heart with your veterinarian before winging it with the dosage, and risking an overdose.

You’ll be glad you spoke before you toked.

Vicky

I am a freelance writer who makes words beautiful, exciting, persuasive, concise and alive, if a little loopy sometimes. I was born in S. Korea on an army base, and traveled the world from the age of 10 months into the present day, so I know a lot about many different topics. I've spent the last 22 years (and counting) raising three children into responsible young adults, and that is no mean feat. I've been writing for as long as I can remember: fiction, non-fiction, creative writing, poetry, creative non-fiction and all that falls in between. I'm a great researcher. I am also easy to work with. If you've got a topic that needs to be written about, I can write it. I've been married for 26 years to the same man, and that's a whole topic unto itself! If you need a freelance blogger or writer, hire me. I won't let you down. Contact: vicky@vickypoutas.com, Twitter.com/@vickypoutas, Instagram: @vickypoutas, LinkedIn.com/in/vickypoutas, Facebook: www.Facebook.com/vicky.batson.poutas