Medical cannabis proves miraculous for terminally-ill pets
- By Jonathan Benson - May 06, 2014
If your pet was sick, you would do anything possible to help it get better, right? Well the verdict is in, and medical cannabis is the way to go. Pet owners everywhere, thanks to the devoted work of people like California veterinarian Dr. Doug Kramer (who unfortunately passed away last summer), are coming to the realization that cannabis works, and that prohibition of a substance with such limitless therapeutic potential is a waste of resources and an affront to health freedom.
During an interview last spring with Vice.com, Dr. Kramer, who was also known as "The Vet Guru," provided insight into the beneficial effects of cannabis for pets. A longtime advocate of the therapy, Dr. Kramer told the story of how he was first introduced to the idea through one of his clients who successfully treated her terminally-ill dog Nikita, who had been diagnosed with "untreatable" cancer, using medical cannabis.
"She had a pet that was not responding well to any of the pain medications or the steroids that we were giving it, and she wanted to talk about getting medical marijuana," explained Dr. Kramer to Vice.com's Harry Cheadle. "She had gone through all of the traditional pain medications, even steroids. When it became clear that she was nearing the end, that's when she had nothing to lose, as long as it didn't hurt her. At the first dosage, she was up and around."
Dr. Kramer quickly learned that the therapy could be applied to all sorts of medical conditions, and that it worked safely without causing harmful side effects. As a result, he became somewhat of a pariah within his profession, at least initially, as he began to treat more and more pets with medical cannabis. Prior to his untimely death last August, he had been aggressively advocating for more widespread acceptance and legalization of the plant for veterinary purposes.
"Any animal that has the cannabinoid receptors would respond [to THC] the same way we do," he stated, noting that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the primary active ingredients in medical cannabis, helps alleviate chronic pain, reduce nausea, spur appetite and in many ways improve quality of life for mammals, including humans. "There are studies out there that show that pigs, chickens, monkeys, and rats all have those same receptors."
Cannabis as a first choice for health rather than a last resort
During a separate interview with Mother Jones, Dr. Kramer also told of how other pet owners had used medical cannabis to treat chronic arthritis in cats. One woman, he explained, even used cannabis-infused butter to treat her sick horse, which suffered from a foot condition known as laminitis. The solution helped ease the horse's swelling, allowing it to function as normal.
"A glycerin tincture is, to me, by far the optimal way to administer it because it offers the greatest accuracy in dosing," he said. "It's also sweet tasting. Obviously you can make it into butter or oil, so anything that you can cook or make with butter or oil would work, like homemade dog biscuits."
And while many pet owners might consider medical cannabis only as a last resort when all else has failed, its track record of success suggests that it might be better off as the primary choice. In fact, based on the way the cannabinoid receptors in mammalian physiology respond to cannabis, it may even be beneficial to preventatively use the plant in disease prevention.
"I cured my dog's brain tumor with cannabis oil," wrote one affirming Vice.com commenter. "It took only 3 1/2 weeks and both seizures and hallucinations have stopped. It's now been almost 6 months and she has had no recurring episodes."
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