Surprise: Medical Cannabis Is Saving Lives in the Pet World!
As it turns out, humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from medical cannabis. This herbal substance can also help animals in several important ways.
In fact, two of the nation’s leading holistic veterinarians Dr. Rob Silver and Dr. Gary Richter have been getting so many questions about how to successfully use cannabis with pets, they decided to create an online Masterclass with Green Flower.
Silver has been a pioneering figure in the realm of holistic veterinary medicine since the 1980s. However, the theme of cannabis and pets came to his attention soon after Colorado legalized medical cannabis in 2000.
“Clients started trickling in with their pets who had problems I was trying to fix, and they would tell me about their successes using medical marijuana that they had gotten for themselves but shared with their pets. That got my attention,” Silver recalls.
Silver took a closer look, trying to understand more and digging into whatever research was available. For example, he found that dogs have the highest concentration of THC receptors in their brain, which makes them especially sensitive to this drug.
As cannabis became more popular in Colorado, Silver observed a disconcerting uptick in animal overdoses with cannabis. “The pet parents had either given them too much or the pets had actually grabbed an edible that had been left out – and that really concerned me,” Silver says.
“I felt that the best way to address this was through education, and education really is the best medicine. And so that’s when I wrote my book: Medical Marijuana and Your Pet.”
The book sparked a lot of discussion in the veterinarian world, and it was just the beginning.
In What Ways Does Cannabis Help Animals?
In the new Masterclass, Silver and Dr. Gary Richter cover how to effectively and safely treat a wide range of conditions with cannabis including:
- Degenerative joint disease
- End-of-life care
- Poor appetite
- GI problems
- Anxiety / stress / restless nights
Richter points out how gastrointestinal issues are one of the most frequent ailments for which people give their pets medical cannabis.
“Animals with inflammatory bowel disease or chronic vomiting and diarrhea were literally coming to us as their last resort before the pet was euthanized,” Richter says.
“Some of these animals are symptom-free now. And some of them have been able to reduce or discontinue the laundry list of Western medications they were taking just to manage these symptoms – so that aspect of it has been so dramatic and was a little surprising to me.”
And it’s not just pet owners who are picking up on this new medicine. As the nation furthers its embrace of cannabis, many veterinarians want to learn more as well.
“Quite clearly this is something that needs to be taken seriously. You don’t have to be on the cutting edge or fringe of the medical research community at this point to know that there are medical benefits to the use of cannabis,” Richter says. “Now it’s becoming common knowledge and part of the natural discussion.”
This Is Not About Getting Animals High
This is one misconception that Silver likes to address up front: cannabis for pets is a serious subject and not at all about getting the animals high.
“We used to see this giggle factor around the pot for pets topic, people thinking about blowing smoke in their pets ear or nose and getting them high and laughing at the animal’s discoordination, which is really because of how the THC is affecting their brain,” Silver says.
“To me that’s not what this is about. This is not about getting our pets high at all. It’s about getting them well. And it’s about trying to use the medicine in such a way that they don’t get high, a factor that you can modulate with CBD-rich products for example.”
The Surprising Results from Hemp-based Products
Hemp-based, CBD-rich products are often criticized because they have pretty much zero THC and the important medical properties that come with it.
Dr. Rob Silver however has seen positive results with clean, quality-assured hemp products.
“Right now I’m working with a canine patient who is using a hemp product for seizures,” Silver explains. “It was a situation where nothing else was helping. They started giving the dog a couple drops of this product daily, and it hasn’t had a seizure in a month.”
And in another case, one of the oncologists Silver works with was giving a CBD-rich hemp product to a patient who had a large tumor on the tongue and after six weeks the tumor reduced to the size of a pencil eraser, Silver says.
“We really hadn’t thought that CBD alone – which is really what you’re getting with the hemp – would be enough to knock back the cancer the way this did.”
Don’t Cut Your Veterinarian Out Of the Equation
Although you may be able to acquire cannabis and give it to your pet without veterinary guidance, both Silver and Richter suggest pet owners be extra careful here.
“You need to be aware that you can’t just casually give cannabis to your pet and expect that it’s going to get better or not have some kind of adverse reaction – because dogs are more sensitive than any other animal we’ve studied, so people need to be careful in that regard,” Silver says.
Plus, you may need a veterinarian to confirm whatever condition you think you might be treating.
For example, Silver had one client explain over the phone that cannabis drops didn’t seem to be helping her dog’s seizures. When Silver examined the animal in person, he found it wasn’t suffering from seizures at all but rather something called reverse sneezing.
And – as Richter points out – you may also need a veterinarian to help you calculate things like dosage amount.
The last thing anybody wants is to miscalculate and accidentally overdose their pet on cannabis, which can be a traumatic situation for both the animal and the pet owner. “So whenever somebody is going to go down this pathway for their pet, it’s imperative that they do so under veterinary care,” he says.
There’s never a benefit to giving your pet any medicine and keeping it a secret from your veterinarian, Richter adds. “Keeping your veterinarian in the loop and knowing exactly what the pet is receiving is a win-win for everybody.”
An Education Resource for Veterinarians and Pet Owners
Because of the federal laws against cannabis, veterinarians cannot legally prescribe or recommend cannabis for pets.
However, they can act as an education resource for pet owners, which is exactly what Dr. Rob Silver and Dr. Gary Richter do, advising people on the risks and how to make sure the animal has a positive experience.
“Education is key. People need to learn more about it and how they can use it effectively,” Silver says.
Have you ever treated your pet with medical cannabis? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
Would you ever treat your pet with medical cannabis?