Several states across America have decided to legalize medical marijuana, but it’s still a controversial issue. Proponents argue that humans have been using the cannabis plant for thousands of years to treat a variety of human diseases from nausea to pain.
But what about cats?
The idea of giving your cat marijuana may sound strange. But there is a growing community of people who believe this is a safe and natural alternative to veterinary medicines. Many dog parents also tout the benefits of giving cannabis to their pets.
What do the experts say?
The stories almost sound like a miracle. An article on the American Veterinary Medical Association website reports on a man named Ernest Misko who gave Borzo marijuana tinctures to his 24-year-old cat. In a few days he was walking normally and painlessly.
Sarah Brandon, DVM and co-developer of the Canna Companion product line, also shared several experiences with The Conscious Cat. According to Brandon, older cats respond particularly well to joint problems. The Canna Companion website also lists a number of benefits that come from supporting the immune system and maintaining a healthy GI tract.
“The future of cannabis in the cat world is pretty bright,” says Dr. Brandon in an interview with The Conscious Cat.
“I believe that within two to three years it will be a common option in veterinary clinics for relief of pain and inflammation, neurological disorders, and mild behavioral disorders. Cannabis is not a panacea, and there is no way we are advocating discontinuing prescribed medication without consulting your cat’s vet. Even so, it has its place in the cat world, and we’ll see more of it over time. “
Do cats get a lot of medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana isn’t about getting kittens up.
The part of marijuana that is known for its euphoric effects is called tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC), but there is another compound in the plant known as cannabidiol (or CBD).
There is evidence that CBD not only blocks the effects of THC, but also blocks the medicinal benefits of marijuana. Hemp based pet food supplements focus on enhancing the benefits of CBD while minimizing the euphoria caused by THC.
But as times change, veterinarians in many states still cannot legally prescribe cannabis to cats, even in states where medical marijuana has been legalized for humans. At the time of this writing, marijuana is a Schedule I Controlled Substance, a category reserved for drugs that currently do not accept medical use in the United States. Drugs on this schedule include heroin and ecstasy.
Marijuana for cats continues to be a controversial topic.
We need more research
The late Dr. Douglas Kramer, who died of cancer in 2013, was a passionate advocate of less restrictive regulations for marijuana research. He believed there was enough evidence to support cannabis use for pets. However, veterinarians needed more research to properly assess their risks and benefits.
Dr. Robin Downing, one of the top animal pain management specialists in the country, does not want to rule out the use of marijuana but urges caution. “Marijuana therapy for animals is untested, unproven, unregulated medicine,” Downing said in an interview with the Denver Post. “Every time you use untested therapy there is an increased risk … We already have good (pain) tools.”
The official position of the American Holistic VMA remains cautious but open. A journal published in 2014 states: “There is growing veterinary evidence that cannabis can relieve pain and nausea in chronically ill or suffering animals, often without the murky effects of narcotics. This herb can potentially improve the quality of life for many patients, even in the face of life-threatening diseases. “
Use with caution!
Despite conflicting opinions, all experts will agree on one thing. It is that You must always consult your veterinarian before introducing medication to your pet.
The Animal Poison Control Center has seen an increase in marijuana poisoning among pets. Most of the cases are due to accidental poisoning – cats and dogs getting into their humans’ poorly hidden hiding places.
Symptoms include urinary incontinence, imbalance, high heart rates, or restlessness. Do not ever Give medical-grade cannabis to pets without consulting your veterinarian!
Do you or would you ever consider treating your sick cat with medical marijuana? What does your vet think about this? Let us know in the comments below.