Medical Marijuana for Cats

Would you give your cat pot treats?

Last week, a senator introduced a bill to legalize marijuana for pets in Nevada.

Democratic Sen. Richard “Tick” Segerblom, sponsored SB 372 to establish medical use for pot and pets under a vet’s supervision. Dogs or cats could get medical marijuana cards only if their owners were Nevada residents and their vets could certify the dog or cat had an illness – not necessarily fatal that could benefit from marijuana consumption.

Some companies are set to provide pot treats to cats and dogs if that passes. In fact, Auntie Dolores Kitchen, provider of cannabis gourmet treats made for people, has already begun. They’ve created Treatibles dog treats made from Cannabidiol, an all-natural cannabinoid derived from the nontoxic cannabis hemp plant that is devoid of psychoactive elements.

“There is virtually zero THC in treatibles, and will not get dogs or other pets ‘high,’” says Treatibles CEO Julianna Carella. “The treats we make are made from hemp-derived CBD [cannabidiol] in a proprietary formula that includes all non-psychoactive compounds.” 

Carella says animals, like people, have endocannabinoid systems and, like people, feel relief from symptoms of separation anxiety, pain, immobility, arthritis, epilepsy, cancer, etc., when exposed to cannabidiol. She also notes that because of marijuana’s Schedule I narcotic classification, the difficulties in securing approval for testing on animals has been limited and no official tests have occurred or been published.

People currently appear to predict the positive effects of marijuana on pets by basing it off the benefits to people. In a Green Bay Press Gazette story, Sen. Segerblom said he added the pet pot approval portion to his omnibus bill because he was looking to strengthen the current medical marijuana legislation, and heard “from numerous constituents” that they wanted to pass along marijuana’s health benefits to their pets.

The article also quotes Segerblom saying “if a veterinarian says it’s OK,” he’d give pot to his own pets.

Cat Fancy vet consultant Narda Robinson, DVM, would only say it was OK if studies agreed.

“I would be hesitant to administer anything to my cat that didn’t have evidence of safety or effectiveness,” Robinson says. “In the absence of scientific research, we do not have enough information about what marijuana and its various active components cause in cats and whether it is safe.”

Robinson, who advised the magazine on holistic and natural therapies for cat health, says part of the challenge in recommending medical marijuana for cats goes beyond the legal approval of such a treatment.

“First and foremost, cats’ systems are very sensitive to toxins and safety is paramount,” Robinson says. “This applies not only to marijuana and hemp, but to any herb, whether Chinese, Indian or Western.”

Carella agrees that safety and caution is of utmost concern. As for now, Carella says simply that cats “seem to like being pain-free and anxiety-free, which CBD can provide.”

More proof of this treatment’s positive aspects could indeed bolster belief in what is now mostly speculative palliative for pets.

If scientific studies confirmed it was safe and effective, would you give medical marijuana to your cat?

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