Pubdate: Wed, 01 Apr 2015
Source: Seattle Weekly (WA)
Column: Higher Ground
Copyright: 2015 Village Voice Media
Author: Michael A. Stusser


Can weed give our furry companions happier lives and more peaceful deaths?

Remember the right-wing homophobes who claimed that if we allowed 
gays to get married, pretty soon people would begin marrying their 
pets? Well, now, the damn hippies who voted to legalize the wacky 
weed are indeed trying to get their dogs and cats stoned! Hooked on 
the hound hemp! The kitty chronic!?

Companies like Seattle-based Canna-Pet and Canna Companion sell 
cannabinoid treats for dogs and cats-not to get them high (the hemp 
biscuits and capsules have very low levels of THC), but to help with 
joint discomfort and inflammation, and hopefully to make that yappy 
poodle across the street calm the fuck down.

Recently the Food and Drug Administration began cracking down on 
pooch-pot peddlers for some of the claims made in their marketing 
materials. The FDA wants phrases like "anti-cancer" and "anti-tumor" 
taken off Canna-Pet's packaging, as those medical claims have not been proven.

Canna Companion, from Snohomish County, says their products are 
all-natural, and inhibit cancer-cell growth and reduce inflammation. 
Clinical trials monitored by the FDA haven't taken place, because of 
course at the federal level, the testing or sale of marijuana is a 
felony offense-not to mention it's hard to get Fido to fill out the 
post-trial questionnaire. Cats are better at giving feedback, but are 
prone to hissy fits in the comments section.

Similar to humans, domesticated animals have endocannabinoid systems 
and can potentially be physically and psychologically aided by 
ingesting cannabis. While industrial hemp hasn't been proven as a 
puppy painkiller, many vets and owners have had success using the 
stuff to help pets gain weight after sicknesses and surgery, as well 
as to provide pain relief during end-of-life stages. Los Angeles 
veterinarian Doug Kramer told the Associated Press that he's had more 
than 300 patients use cannabis to help everything from infections to 
separation anxiety to feline immunodeficiency virus to 
irritable-bowel syndrome (which I thought was the very definition of 
being a pet). Talk about skunk weed!

After giving his husky, Nikita, cannabis oils for her terminal 
cancer, Dr. Kramer said she gained weight and was able to live an 
extra six pain-free weeks before having to be euthanized. "I grew 
tired of euthanizing pets when I wasn't doing everything I could to 
make their lives better," Kramer noted. "I felt like I was letting them down."

Things are going a bit too far in Nevada, where, as part of a bill to 
overhaul their medical-marijuana laws, state Senator Tick Segerblom 
proposed a Pot-for-Pets provision that would require animal owners to 
apply for medical-marijuana cards. Cards would be issued only if a 
vet wrote a detailed description of how Count Flufferton's condition 
might be aided with Puppy Chow Dank. Good Lord, it's hard enough for 
folks to clean up after their pets, much less register them for a 
Canine Cannabis Card. Feed 'em all the Purina Cheeba ya want, as far 
as I'm concerned-just pick up the poop!

Veterinarians agree that feeding a pet straight marijuana or blowing 
pot smoke in Mr. Bigglesworth's snout is never a good idea; most 
companies marketing for pets are using all-natural hemp treats, 
cannabis oils, and glycerin tinctures that can be put into the water bowl.

Not surprisingly, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has 
something to say on the matter. "Our position is that anything that 
can help animals," stated President Ingrid Newkirk, "if it's truly, 
properly administered in the right amount and can relieve a dog's 
pain-then they should be given the same consideration that humans in 
pain are given." (No comment on whether PETA gives ganja to the tens 
of thousands of pets they euthanize at their shelters after not 
finding homes for the non-rescued souls . . . )

While weed's not a cure-all for everything; it's also not gonna kill 
you (or your chronic companion). My neighbor's golden retriever, 
Bailey, not only drank half a gallon of paint I had (stupidly) left 
out one summer day, but also chowed the brush and sponge inside it. 
She hurled a lovely shade of Benjamin Moore chartreuse-green for a 
week, but went on to live-and crap in my yard-for another decade. The 
bottom line is this: I don't care if Snoopy gets high as the Red 
Baron on Snoop Dog Bud-Bones, just keep that pooch away from my 
personal stash. The steak's for me. Lassie gets the leftovers.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom