Think humans are the only ones with Endocannabinoid Systems (ECS)? Think again! Animals also have an ECS, and it is becoming more common in practice for veterinarians to prescribe cannabis for our furry friends too according to the original article written by Gregory Frye. Cannabinoid receptors were first discovered in the early 1990's, and since then research has found that these receptors occur throughout our bodies, and pets’ bodies, in many different areas but primarily as part of the immune system and the brain.
Humans and animals are capable of producing their own cannabinoids, but sometimes deficiencies exist, facilitating a true need for medical marijuana to help bring levels back up to normal. The ECS has been found to help our pet’s bodies, and our own bodies, maintain homeostasis (a balance of internal processes that have to do with metabolism). One key difference when discussing pets and cannabis is that it is quite easy for pets to overdose. An overdose for a pet is not fatal, but it can cause blood pressure problems and some pets may not eat anything if they feel unwell due to too much too fast.
Dr. Gary Richter of Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care of Oakland, CA mentions in the article that there are many different forms of cannabis available for pet owners to choose from for their pets. He does specify that he is not a fan of hemp derived products because they contain little to no THC. He compares hemp products and cannabis products to be like throwing a bullet and shooting a bullet respectively. For the best result, cannabis products are recommended. It is always encouraging to see a broader reach of application in terms of this amazing natural resource.
My Opinion: Whether for humans or animals, it is certainly clear that there is a wide range of medical application in terms of cannabis related products. Would you treat your pet with cannabis if it were to become an option at your local veterinary clinic? I have a cat that has had to endure a lot of pain in his life. On Thanksgiving Day in 2014, I rushed him to a vet ER only to find out he was in kidney failure. Since then and quite unexpectedly he has recovered significantly, but still has trouble. If there were something that could ease his pain and make him feel better, I would most definitely talk to my vet about it. I am optimistic for pet owners everywhere that better and safer medicine will soon make it into the mainstream.
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