Medical marijuana is already a fact of life in 25 states and D.C., but why limit pain-relieving ganja to humans? Some pet owners think that their furry companions deserve to get in on the action, too, which led “The New York Times” to give the latest animal ownership trend a catchy name everyone can get behind: pets on pot.
Pet owners are already experimenting with cannabis for their animals, despite the fact that veterinarians aren’t allowed to prescribe anything marijuana-related, The Times reports. It’s pretty easy for humans to get a medical card in states where it’s legal — Insomnia? Lack of appetite? Joint Pain? Sign right up! — which allows people to pass that purchase right on to their pets to treat the same problems.
But veterinarians aren’t allowed to prescribe cannabis. There haven’t been enough studies that prove it works for vets to get prescription powers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states. In fact, the studies that do exist show that the THC in cannabis can actually harm your pet, not help little Buddy. That hasn’t stopped PETA from endorsing it, though. While more research is needed, some products are already available that only have cannabidiol instead of THC, which is safer for pets, Pamela Hadfield, cofounder of the digital cannabis healthcare platform HelloMD, tells VinePair.
So what’s the deal? Should you let your pet experience the munchies and a couch-melting high or not? Here’s what the vets and researchers are saying — minus all the cute anecdotes about the high that saved the pet.
Do Not Experiment — Andrea M. Brodie, DVM
“Marijuana is potentially lethal for dogs. So far there are no studies either proving efficacy of marijuana for epilepsy in dogs, nor are there any finished studies using marijuana in dogs as a medication … Please do not experiment with marijuana in your dog, as you may endanger his life doing so.” — Via PetMD
Three To One Is The Key Ratio — Pamela Hadfield, cofounder of the cannabis website HelloMD
“When marijuana is not safe for your dog is when your dog gets into cannabis flower and/or eats edibles, such as THC-laden cookies or concentrated products like cannabis butter … Technically 3 grams of pot per kilogram of a dog’s weight is a lethal dose.” — As told to VinePair
Beware The Toxicity — Destini R. Holloway, DVM
“Actually there are no therapeutic studies that have proven marijuana to be effective for controlling seizures in dogs. In fact there is a very narrow safety margin and marijuana can be toxic in pets.” — Via PetMD
Could Be Deadly — Stacy Meola, DVM, et al.
“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 (THC) butter resulted in 2 deaths.” — Via the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care
You Will Know When Your Dog Is High — George Thompson, et al.
“Predominant toxic signs in dogs included drowsiness, ataxia (rocking back and forth, but can’t otherwise move), prostration, anesthesia, tremors, mild hypothermia, salivation, emesis, and anorexia.” — Via Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Needs To Be Studied Further —Dawn Boothe, clinical pharmacology director at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine
“My gut reaction is they do probably provide some therapeutic effect benefit. But I’m never going to say there’s enough benefit that marijuana should be given to pets. I’m saying there’s enough justification that we need to study it.” — Via the American Veterinary Medical Association
Dogs Can Overdose — Narda Robinson, DVM
“If the tolerable and safe dose, whatever that might be, is exceeded, an animal may land in the local veterinary emergency clinic, and there are no antidotes for THC poisoning. While many insist that marijuana overdoses cannot kill, the consequences of cannabis can indeed turn deadly in dogs as the result of THC overdoes.”— Via VetStreet