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Chronic for Canines? Veterinarians Campaign for Medical Marijuana Use for Pets

Update Date: Apr 05, 2013 01:59 PM EDT

Marijuana is lighting up people's minds these days. A recent study found that most people in the United States support legalizing marijuana. In many states, lawmakers have kept pace with the changing views of the American public; in fact, nearly half of the United States legalized or decriminalized marijuana, either for medical or recreational purposes. However, would people also feel all right about providing their pets with marijuana? A small group of experts have come out in favor of administering marijuana to dogs and cats, believing that it can help relieve pain and help the furry friends cope with life-shattering chronic illnesses.

According to the magazine Vice, veterinarian Doug Kramer first learned of the movement through a patient, a woman whom he describes as "a bit eccentric, but she was a very intelligent woman". Her pet was not responding to any of the medications that the practice had given for the pain, and she thought that medical marijuana was a feasible option.

In fact, the veterinarian has even administered THC to his own dog. His long-time canine companion Nikita had been diagnosed with untreatable cancer. He says that giving her dosages of THC greatly improved her quality of life, allowing him to delay saying goodbye to her.

The veterinarian says that THC can also be given to any pet with a receptor in the brain for the chemical - like cats, who can also derive a benefit. Cats typically see their appetites improve; the felines typically have suppressed appetites if they are sick.

As a veterinarian, Dr. Kramer and other veterinarians cannot provide a prescription for medical marijuana. However, they can provide consultations for concerned pet owners who feel that they may have exhausted every other option, Care2 reports.

According to Inquisitr, a recent study found that medical marijuana appeared to have no harmful effects on pets. A study that looked mainly at the effects of the drug on dogs found that, out of 250 dogs, no deaths directly related to the treatment were reported.

However, even the veterinarians who are proponents of medical marijuana for pets frown upon human owners blowing marijuana smoke into their dogs' faces, especially if the dogs are healthy. Dr. Kramer says that is tantamount to animal abuse, and that pets do not experience the same "high" that humans experience when exposed to marijuana. In fact, exposure to marijuana causes neurological toxicity, the symptoms of which do not appear to be pleasant for Fido, the Huffington Post reports.

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