Medical marijuana for pets

I have had so many questions about medical marijuana in animals lately, especially with it becoming legal in Washington state where I practice. This is probably one of the best articles out there about medical marijuana use in pets and the legal issues that come up with it. See Veterinary Marijuana in the recent JAVMA journal.

Marijuana may become something we reach for often in the future for chronic disease, cancer, and pain in both our dogs and cat. The largest issue now is that it is a federal crime for me to talk to clients about how to use it, because as veterinarians we are regulated by the federal government and the state protections that extend to MDs do not apply to use. However it is legal in Washington state for people to buy and use marijuana in their companion animals without our guidance. Go figure. I am hoping that the laws soon change so we can offer guidance and even prescribe it. Meanwhile if anyone has a good article or wants to write one on the proper use of marijuana in dogs and cats I would be happy to publish or share it here.

2 Responses to “Medical marijuana for pets”

  1. Michelle Nichols Says:

    I was hoping you would have a good article, Lena! This information is becoming more and more sought after by families of dogs in hospice care. Through our Caregivers’ Support Program just yesterday, a pet parent reached out to us in the name of “looking for options” for his lab with cancer after a failed effort at chemotherapy. The details on his condition and the recommended therapy aren’t as important as the one thing he was seeking for his beloved dog and wasn’t finding: comfort care until he could live out his days. He said he had friends who had put it into a cookie…though he didn’t tell us any more than that. I plan to ask more pointedly once it becomes more appropriate and I’ll let you know what we find out…

    So we called the Cannabis clinic to ask of their experience…I was thinking: if anyone is open minded and optimistic about its use in dogs with cancer, they would be. I was surprised to hear that they did not recommend its use, related to the simple fact that dogs are reliant upon our care and without a known response, could likely have a negative one that they can’t understand and as their caregivers, we would be unable to reverse or help them to understand. In our conversation, we also brought up pertinent issues like variabilty in every being’s response to the chemical THC and also, the inability to choose the right strain of “medicine”. Big UPS to them, for thinking so empathically, I thought…they must be true animal lovers to evaluate this issue from other than their pro-medical marijuana paradigm. Interesting. I think I will run this one past a bioethicist I know…thanks for commenting upon this LONG post 😉 Please visit us and this article on Facebook at AHELP Project!

  2. Lena Says:

    I think in the future it will become a huge tool in hospice, hoping that is soon.