As of April 2016, 24 states regulate and permit the use of medicinal marijuana for humans, potentially cracking open the door for what could be a lucrative branch within the multi-million dollar pet industry. While the idea of using medicinal marijuana to provide treatment to pets with chronic pain and other ailments is not yet FDA approved and veterinarians cannot prescribe it, many people are using their own judgment to treat their dogs with cannabis products that are specially formulated for pups.
This practice is becoming so prevalent that CNBC recently profiled some of the dogs that are using the drug.
VET-CBD, a manufacturer of one of these products and a company founded by a veterinarian, states on their website that their natural plant-based compound is non-toxic and that it does not produce a high. They also claim that their product, CBD, “shows promise in its use for conditions such as seizures, pain, anxiety, cancer, and more.” This claim is supported by numerous testimonials in the above video above.
Despite the possibility of more success stories like these, there are general concerns about the unknowns and the risks associated with treating dogs with marijuana in a climate where veterinarians aren’t in control of dosing or the types and quality of products.
According to The Journal of Veterinary Medicine and Critical Care, a study on 125 dogs with different levels of marijuana ingestion noted that:
A significant correlation was found between the number of medical marijuana licenses and marijuana toxicosis cases seen in 2 veterinary hospitals in Colorado. Ingestion of baked goods made with medical grade tetrahydrocannabinol butter resulted in 2 deaths.
Thankfully, people like Dr. Rob Silver, a Colorado-based veterinarian and authority on the use of medical marijuana in pets, are working to fund studies that will give more guidance to treating canine diseases with medical marijuana. And more guidance means more information for pet owners, veterinarians, and officials. This information may reduce the stigma and, most importantly, the risk associated with medicinal marijuana for pets, leading to the regulation of the practice.
Feature image and H/T via CNBC