Pet Owners Using This To Help Their Pets Feel Better

Having an animal companion is one of the greatest joys in life, and supporting him or her through illness and the end of life can be one of the most difficult times.

As human caregivers, we want to know that the treatments we are giving our animal companions are effective, humane, and causing more good than harm.

Given that our animal friends may not be able to show us how they are feeling with complete accuracy, we are often left to make decisions about their medical treatments based on advice and good intentions.

CBS New York reports that veterinary cannabis use is on the rise across all segments of society, and particularly among pet owners whose pets have severe or even terminal illnesses that do not respond to conventional treatment.

Major conditions like cancer, many pet owners are finding, respond quite well to cannabis use when nothing else does. And unlike conventional treatments, cannabis treatment does not cause any harmful side effects.

As the social stigmas and taboos about marijuana that largely emerged during the "Reefer Madness" generation continue to be stripped away from the public consciousness, an increasing number of people are beginning to look at this all natural herb with fresh eyes, recognizing its incredible potential for healing.

This includes a growing number of pet owners who are now using the plant and its essential oils to safely and effectively treat their ailing pets.

Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational: What’s The Difference?

The earliest records of marijuana come from ancient Chinese and Indian medical texts, in which the plant was described as a medicine with many uses. Some of these uses, such as arthritis and pain management, represent the most common conditions that marijuana is prescribed for today.

Likewise, recent surveys show that a majority of doctors and veterinarians believe cannabis still has a place in modern medicine.

It’s true that marijuana is often used to get high, which is why it is labeled a recreational drug. The high is caused by a single chemical in marijuana known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC acts on different parts of the brain to create a feeling of euphoria or pleasure. THC also stimulates appetite and sleep, and is known to enhance certain sensations such as smell, taste and temperature.

Contrary to popular belief, not all types of marijuana are psychoactive. In other words, some types of cannabis simply won’t get you high, no matter how much of it you ingest.

These varieties of cannabis contain small amounts of THC. But they are usually rich in a different chemical called cannabidiol (CBD).

Due to its inability to get users high, CBD has received a lot of attention as a medicine. For example, CBD-rich cannabis is thought to be more useful in certain situations, such as when being administered to children and pets.

Studies show that CBD-rich cannabis may have unique medical benefits as well. Recently, CBD-rich cannabis has been studied as a treatment for schizophrenia and rare forms of epilepsy.

Comments From Pet Owners Who Have Treated Their Pet(s)

 Many CBS New York commentors with pets seem to agree with these sentiments, as some of them posted their own stories about how medical cannabis helped their pets.

1. Dr. Amanda Reiman, who is the California policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Based in San Francisco, Reiman leads the DPA’s marijuana reform work in California.

She has conducted numerous studies on medical marijuana dispensaries, medical marijuana patients, and the use of marijuana as a treatment for addiction. She is also currently a lecturer in the School of Social Welfare at the University of California–Berkeley and lives in Oakland with her cat, Mama Cass.

2. The following is Dr. Reiman's personal 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.

It was through researching this treatment that I discovered that medical marijuana for animals was not a new concept and was not as “out there” as I had originally thought."

3. Another inspirational story is "Luna" Capers, the beloved dog of Rowyn Capers who reportedly gained her quality of life back after being given a non-psychoactive cannabis oil extract for late-stage lymphoma.

When chemotherapy left the dog gravely ill and on the verge of death, Rowyn began to administer the natural therapy instead, which produced incredible results.

"Her lymph nodes were like golf balls and she was coughing constantly and she couldn't breathe, and I just thought it's time to say goodbye," said Rowyn to CBS News about Luna's condition before the cannabis.

"The first time I dosed her with cannabis I was so scared. We were looking at her all night. But the more I increased her cannabis dose the less side effects that she had. The vomiting stopped, the diarrhea stopped."

4. Similar success was achieved by Mary Lynn Mathre, the owner of a 13-year-old golden retriever who was also diagnosed with cancer. After learning about cannabis, Mary Lynn began to give all of her dogs a daily cracker topped with cannabis-infused butter, which not only helped the sick one but also helped improve the health of all her dogs, including one with a strange bald spot on its leg.

"There was no hair on a circle that it would lick and lick," stated Mary Lynn to CBS New York, noting that both dogs experienced dramatic improvements as a result of the cannabis.

Recommend Reading: The Examiner - Pot for Pets?

5. One woman recounts how her three-year-old dog almost died from epilepsy but experienced a dramatic and immediate recovery after being placed on a regimen of medical cannabis.

"As a last ditch effort after her last bout of seizures and being unable to come out of her postictal state, despite being administered a heavy sedative by our vet, we tried marijuana we had received from a friend of ours (it's legal in our state)," writes the commenter.

"Within less than 15 minutes, our dog came fully out of its postictal state, laid down, and napped for (about) 2 hours before waking up and wanting to play tennis ball and tug. It was beyond anything I had seen before with this dog."

6. Al Byrne's three dogs, who range in age from three to 13, have also responded positively to marijuana. Besides noticeable increases in energy among all the dogs, Al says each of his furry family members now has a shinier coat and a "shine in their eyes" that was not there before.

"When you see them enjoying life and feeling better and not being sick, you know you've hit something," says Darlene Arden, a certified animal behaviorist who is a strong advocate for veterinary cannabis use.

"I think we can now see marijuana for exactly what it is and what it can do. It's not a street drug but a legitimate medication to be used under proper supervision."

Hemp Supplements for Cats & Dogs

"Veterinarian Doug Kramer from Los Angeles has developed a special tincture for dogs and cats made with marijuana called Canine Companion. The tincture is sold in medical-marijuana dispensaries and is designed to treat animals for pain, inflammation, and end-of-life health issues.

As with medical marijuana for humans, it is personal experience that usually precedes involvement. Kramer had a similar experience with his dog as I did with Monkey. 

Marijuana eased the pain during her final weeks. The marijuana caused her to stop whimpering and start eating, gaining weight, and acting more like herself.

It wasn’t a cure, but he believed it helped alleviate her pain during her last days."

For human caregivers, this relief is really all we want for our animal companions.

More News On Medical Marijuana
Pot for pets: The future of veterinary medicine?
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