The debate with regard to the beneficial properties of medical marijuana for human beings is to a large extent no longer a debate. Anyone with a modicum of common sense has by now accepted that when used appropriately, medicinal cannabis has the potential to help treat and relieve the symptoms of a whole world of short and long-term health conditions. Nevertheless, the debate as to whether medical marijuana for pets is a good idea is one that is really only just starting to hit its stride.
This, despite the fact that there is such a strong contingency of anecdotal evidence and growing demand for pet products and medicinal treatments that contain cannabis or cannabis extract.
Unsurprisingly, it is over in the United States that the debate is raging most intensively. If for example you live in Florida where it is still illegal to buy even medicinal cannabis, it is nonetheless possible to order cannabis-based pet products from companies like Treatibles. The reason being that products manufactured by Treatibles are manufactured using 100% legal hemp and have practically no THC in them whatsoever.
Nevertheless, there is a growing contingency of pet products and treatments that are not derived from hemp, but rather specific strains of marijuana with slightly higher levels of THC. In such instances, it would be necessary for those purchasing them for their pets to live somewhere that allows medical marijuana to be legally purchased. Even if they did, it would still be a legal requirement for them to have a personal prescription in order to allow them to even get through the door at a medicinal cannabis dispensary.
Which in turn means that when an animal is suffering from inflammation, anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy and so on, it is still prohibitively difficult to get hold of the kinds of products that have so far proved extremely effective.
Back in 2015, a state senator from Nevada, Tick Segerblom, actually created a bill which if approved would bring about the start of a new medicinal cannabis register for pets.
“They thought it was a joke,” he said, referring to the attitudes of his colleagues.
“It was the talk of the country for a while.”
Despite being to some extent taken for a bit of a fool at the time, Segerblom insisted that he was deadly serious about the whole thing. Not only this, but he was committed to ensuring that the subject would be debated openly and fairly, in order to ensure that a proactive and sensible decision was reached. Nevertheless, the hearing he expected never came to be, his explanation being that “it went to a committee headed by a person who hates marijuana, and he made sure that it died”.
So once again, another victory for those who base their actions and outlook on speculation and unfounded criticisms, rather than hard facts and public demand.
Drug Policy Alliance manager Amanda Reiman commented that what’s going on right now with regard to legal medicinal cannabis for animals is in many ways extremely similar to what went on in California in the 1990s, when there were significant clashes with regard to whether or not medicinal cannabis for humans should be legalised.
“When we first started talking about the idea of using marijuana as a medicine, people laughed about it,” she said.
“But they’ve come around, because when you know someone who was helped by cannabis it’s not funny anymore.”
She herself had faced a scenario where her own cat was diagnosed with terminal cancer – adding a little cannabis oil having proved incredibly effective in reducing the horrific side effects of her cat’s chemotherapy.
“It brought her energy back, she was eating and playing – she was actually acting healthier than she had been before she was diagnosed with cancer,” she said.
“I knew it wasn’t a cure for her, and in the end she passed away several months later. But I really do feel it gave her a quality of life at the end; instead of just fading away, she stayed strong right up until the end.”
Of course, veterinarians strongly advise pet owners not to start messing about with treatment without prior advisement.
Nevertheless, what’s clear is that the subject of potentially beneficial medicinal cannabis for pets is one that is not going to go away in the near future.