The past few years there have been continued discoveries of new evidence suggesting that cannabis is not the dangerous and addictive drug that we previously thought, but it instead has a wide variety of medical applications. With the counter-culture association with marijuana slowly dissipating as it works its way to the mainstream, scientists and researches have been running more and more experiments to discover new information about this flower. From helping fight against cancer and multiple sclerosis, to aiding those with PTSD and eating disorders, the new benefits of marijuana are being revealed at a phenomenal rate.
But can we be certain about the results of new marijuana news or should we remain skeptical? New findings stemming from an increase in research have been coming in so quickly that it is hard to discern the truth from the unfortunate presence of false tabloid advertisements highlighting “benefits” of cannabis. With this in mind it seems utterly ridiculous for one to believe that PETA and veterinarians (two groups that are notorious for advocating on behalf of animal health and safety) are beginning to endorse cannabis as a safe and beneficial option for veterinary medicine. Despite the initial skepticism, it would seem that the evidence is speaking for itself.
For decades, maybe even hundreds of years, marijuana has been made synonymous with a plethora of false stereotypes that paint this plant as an addictive life-destroying drug. Yet, humans, and now even pet owners, have been advocating for the plant’s medicinal benefits. For pet owners, this doesn't mean including your dog into the blunt rotation or even putting a small edible into the kitty bowl. Instead, pet owners and medicinal marijuana companies have been synthesizing specially made doggie treats and using cannabis oils to treat ailing terminally ill pets and the results have been astounding. One testimonial is from Dr. Amanda Reiman who used PETA.org as a platform for her story:
"This was the situation I was recently in when my kitty of 11 years, Monkey, was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. The tumor was not operable, and the vet believed that the best course of action was to keep her feeling as good as we could for as long as possible. The cancer has caused her to lose a lot of weight, and she was having trouble sleeping. I decided to mix a little cannabis oil in with her wet food and was astounded at the difference. She started acting like a kitten again, able to eat and play. She slept and purred and acted like herself again. Even though I ended up losing her to cancer several months later, in that time I got to enjoy her for the kitty she was, not watch her slowly disappear before my eyes. I had shared with my vet that I was giving her these treatments. My vet was supportive, and as a medical-marijuana patient in the state of California, I had access to the medicine that she needed" (PETA).
Maybe it's time we start paying attention. This issue made it to the television community in the form of a brief segment called “Sugar Rush” on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It is a hilarious and extremely interesting segment on an Oregon marijuana grower being interviewed and profiled by a Daily Show correspondent. This grower rescues animals that often tend to naturally consume the leaves of his cannabis plants (a substance high in protein) in order to recuperate.
If veterinarians and pet owners alike are saying it is safe and even beneficial, then who is to say that we shouldn’t experiment with these types of treatments for our terminally ill pets in our states? Well, Nevada, early in 2015, introduced a bill that would allow pet owners to give marijuana to their animals if prescribed by a veterinarian to treat an illness for which they believe the plant can ease the animal's pain.
“The proposal is in its earliest stages and faces several legislative hurdles before it could become law. The pot-for-pets provision of SB372 is 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” (Huffington Post).
When asked to elaborate on the motivation and concerns behind this pot-for-pets provision of the bill, Nevada’s Democratic senator Tick Segerblom responded by admitting that while “he's concerned that some animals might have adverse reactions, ‘you don't know until you try’" (Huffington Post). Although there seems to be a surmounting level of support in this area, there are some animal rights activists that are rightfully concerned about the validity of certain testimonials and the safety concerns associated with allowing our pets to ingest cannabis. It may still be too early to decide for sure whether or not we can include our pets into the medical marijuana phenomena, but it’s important that we keep our ears, eyes, and mind open to continue to find out more about the medical benefits of cannabis.