How Medical Marijuana Saved a Dog’s Life

“The best way to gauge your dog is to watch them. With my involvement with my dog, my vet feels comfortable with my decision,” Mansfield said.

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The day before Wendy Mansfield’s appointment to have her ailing senior dog put to sleep, she decided to try one last option:  cannabis cookies.  Unlike everything else she had tried, this worked, and Mansfield isn’t the only loving pet owner embracing this effective alternative.

Mansfield lives in California, where medical marijuana is legal.  Kali, her 15-year-old rescued Lab mix, often licked her paws, a sign of pain, which lead to coughing fits from the amount of fur she was ingesting.  After giving her a cookie, Mansfield said the licking stopped.  Carefully monitoring her dog, she gave her a couple more of the edibles.

Surprisingly, the formerly morose and lethargic dog got up to have a drink of water and go for a walk outside, which is something she hadn’t been able to do without being in pain.  Mansfield immediately canceled her vet appointment.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have anticipated this,” she told Quartz. “It brought my dog back.”

Kali was given an Auntie Dolores snack made for humans, but the company launched a line of pet treats last year.  Unlike their marijuana-based varieties for humans, the pet edibles, called Treatibles, are made from hemp.  The cannabis stems are low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is what produces the “high” feeling, but hemp contains cannabidiol (CBD), which mitigates pain.

Alison Ettel began using marijuana after emerging from a coma caused by meningitis.  She launched a company called TreatWell in 2014 with a cannabis grower.  Distressed pet owners contacted her about making tinctures for their ill animals, which she has also used successfully on her own cat, who had cancer.

Ettel uses cannabis products instead of hemp, noting that most hemp is manufactured for its fibrous properties rather than its medicinal ones.  She believes that cannabis is also more effective than hemp.  Additionally, she worries that imported hemp will be bathed in pesticides, diminishing any health benefits.

But because of the red tape involved, Ettel is wary about marketing her products to pets, and sells directly to California patients with medical marijuana cards who join the collective.  Members must provide vet records to establish the legitimacy of their pets’ ailments.

“There’s always going to be risk involved,” she said. “To be honest, helping these pets and these people is much more important to me.”

Unfortunately, veterinarians aren’t currently able to prescribe such treats, and the FDA has sent warning letters to a number of companies selling edibles for animals, taking particular offense to how the treats are marketed.

Sarah Brandon, co-owner of Canna Companion, and her husband attended veterinary school and in 2014, started a business selling hemp powder for animal consumption.  The language used on their website made the product sound like a drug, which the FDA frowns upon, rather than a supplement.  The company said the powder was “safe and effective” and could “reduce cancer-associated symptoms.”  But because of the FDA’s grievance, they changed the wording on the site.

“Being vets, we are required by law to use medical terminology,” Brandon said “We don’t say an animal has tummy pains. We say they have gastritis and we use those terms.”

Marijuana is used to treat a multitude of health issues – everything from depression and anxiety to epilepsy and Crohn’s disease.  People suffering from cancer praise its ability to mollify the unbearable side effects of chemotherapy.  When pet owners see their beloved animals suffering, they want to minimize their discomfort and marijuana seems to be the safest remedy.

 

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The current amount of research on the efficacy of marijuana use on animals is lacking, mostly due to the legal gray area under which its study falls.

“If you think about it, universities are still in limbo,” said Soren Mogelsvang, CEO of Peak Pharmaceuticals. “They don’t know if they can research cannabinoids and are worried about losing grant funding. The hemp laws, the farm bills – there’s very little case law that defines what’s right and what’s wrong.

However, as professor Dawn Boothe notes, studies have been done on lab animals with human drugs that contains cannabinoids.  Sativex is a mouth spray that helps people suffering from multiple sclerosis.

“We can’t ignore the therapeutic benefits,” she said.

But Boothe recommends that people consult their vets before making any health decisions for their pets.

“I’d like to think that people would think it’s a bad idea to treat children without a physician’s advice,” she said. “I think it’s the same with animals.”

Sarah Brandon agrees.

“As a business owner, pet parent, and veterinarian, I absolutely understand that desperation people feel,” she explained. “They feel this beloved member of their family is suffering and they don’t know how to help them.”

Mansfield didn’t talk to her vet before giving Kali the canna-cookies, but she did afterward.  The vet told her to check in periodically.  Now, instead of taking a number of narcotics, Kali is given a three or four biscuits every few hours and a painkiller to sleep at night.

“[Vets] are in a strange position, and this is all new,” Mansfield said. “The best way to gauge your dog is to watch them. With my involvement with my dog, my vet feels comfortable with my decision.”

Mansfield wouldn’t do anything for her dog that she wouldn’t do for herself.  She has Bell’s Palsy, and while recovering from meningitis, encephalitis and the medically-induced coma, she decided not to take the oxycodone she was prescribed, and self-medicated with marijuana instead.

“I’m a walking miracle, too.”

 

The opinions on marijuana use for medicinal and recreational purposes remain divided, and we understand that discussion can lead to heated debate.  Please keep comments civilized.

155 thoughts on “How Medical Marijuana Saved a Dog’s Life

  1. I wish I had known about this before I put my old Sweetie to sleep in March. It may have just given a little more life to her life for just a little longer 🙁

  2. Stel Pontikes
    Wilamena M. Pants
    Heidi Dubrouillet
    Ted Hartshorne
    Kevin Kane

    There’s more to this article than the headline implies. It’s a standing ovation for CBD’s, not for marijuana.

  3. Weird… we suggested this to our vet when our rottie was dying. He said cannabis would only do more harm. Sigh…

  4. Liz
    How would that be possible? I can’t imagine how giving the dog a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory he has no side effects could be harmful.
    This article talks effectiveness of CBD’s.exe. Maybe he was a little confused

  5. Lon — I don’t understand your question. We asked the vet if pot would help, he said no. Three years after the fact, I learn via this article that my vet was wrong. End of story. You’re engaging with me for what reason?

  6. Canna-Pet Max CBD tabs work wonders for Chloe, my 16 year old golden. With arthritis, this girl is still going and no longer needs Tramadol. The CBD pills on an empty stomach plus a 1/4 Rimadyl on a full stomach does the trick!

  7. I’m not trying to be an ass, but those cookies only prolonged the owner from having to say goodbye. Our pups always tell us when it’s time to go; been there twice & it’s hard as hell. I’m wondering if the cookies really made the dog feel better or if it just alleviated the owner’s emotional pain.

  8. I think they should note in the header above the article it’s made from hemp and to please don’t actually give your dog marijuana it’s literally toxic to them

  9. Thank you, LWD, for sharing such an interesting topic…I had no idea this was even an option. Should the need ever arise, I will surely consider!

  10. Helps with cats also. Cat would not eat and constant puking. Lots of tests at the vet and no definitive diagnosis. MILD spray twice a day and she eats, no longer in pain, and not puking all the time. It is not a cure but has improved her life until she cannot be helped anymore.

  11. this is why canabis is ilegal in the most of the countrys…because the pharma industry can’t sell you theyr stuff!

  12. If one does not heat, or cook the marijuana the thc is not released. Heat releases it, do your research. Juicing marijuana is where the healing comes in. <3

  13. I blew smoke in my kitty’s face during the last few months of his life. He would just relax and his bones would feel better. This combined with special food and medication he was comfortable until I had to put him down. He was 17 and lived in a loving home.

  14. I guess I’m a little confused. Is she keeping the dog alive for herself? If he’s 15 and requires 3 or 4 treats every couple of hours and a pain killer at night to get through with little or no pain, I think she’s keeping him alive for herself, something I don’t agree with at all.

  15. I’m being censured…every time I use the T or C word I get a red exclamation mark and a warning from fb

  16. There is cannabis and there is Medicinal cannabis. I am literally a non smoking (never tried) non drinking (a completely happy teetotaller) practising christian and I firmly believe thst Medical Cannabis should be legalised for those whom dictirs and vets believe require it.

  17. The site we get our cats cannabis supplements from sell these. Dalyla likes them but they don’t last long and since she’s not sick it’s not worth the extra expense yet. Cannabis supplements couple with our medical therapy from our vet has saved our cats life. He was diagnosed with liver failure almost a year ago and was given a week to live. He’s almost a healthy weight now and is playing again. It works wonders!

  18. be careful with what anyone here posts, a man was giving his sickly daughter cannabis oil and got arrested, look up Fearless Father and see for yourselves, its a page here on fb

  19. A friends dog recently found and ate some cannabis infused gummy bears. The vet was much more concerned about the amount of sugar in them than the cannabis. She was extremely lethargic for a day but no apparent side effects. Diane Case

  20. I would love to try this for my senior dog he is 14 years old and has some pain as well.I wish I could get these some where in Ontario,Canada here.

    1. Check your facts, cannabis is not toxic to dogs, cats, or any other mammal. I have personally witnessed both accidental ingestion as well as deliberate medical treatments of dogs, cats, and horses. Never have I witnessed any ill affect, unless you consider peaceful sleep an ill effect. On the contrary, I have witnessed some “miracle” turn arounds and dare I say cures of various ailments. I will gladly give cannabis oil to any of my beloved pets should the need arise.

  21. This is something to be further researched. Pharmaceutical companies are killing us every day with the garbage they produce. I love the tv commercials for meds that have 10 seconds of the benefits of the med and 3 minutes of the possible bad side effects!

  22. This is something to be further researched. Pharmaceutical companies are killing us every day with the garbage they produce. I love the tv commercials for meds that have 10 seconds of the benefits of the med and 3 minutes of the possible bad side effects!

  23. I fully plan on using cannabis for my dogs when they are old & need it, my last dog (50 pound collie/golden) lived to be 17yrs old, she got arthritis at 10yrs old, and spent the last 7yrs of her life taking pain pills, & ant inflammatory meds, that destroyed her organs, I know 17yrs is a great long life, but I can’t help but wonder if I would of had even more time & if her quality of life would of been even better, if I had used cannabis instead

  24. I fully plan on using cannabis for my dogs when they are old & need it, my last dog (50 pound collie/golden) lived to be 17yrs old, she got arthritis at 10yrs old, and spent the last 7yrs of her life taking pain pills, & ant inflammatory meds, that destroyed her organs, I know 17yrs is a great long life, but I can’t help but wonder if I would of had even more time & if her quality of life would of been even better, if I had used cannabis instead

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