Pot for pets? Seattle vets develop cannabis for dogs and cats

Dec 9, 2013, 5:20 AM | Updated: 5:23 am
Some Seattle veterinarians have developed the first medical cannabis for pets that offers all the b...
Some Seattle veterinarians have developed the first medical cannabis for pets that offers all the benefits without the high. (AP image)
(AP image)

With so many people using medical marijuana to treat a variety of conditions, a lot of pet owners are trying pot on their own animals. And it’s causing plenty of problems.

“If you get it right, it works, but the flip side is you can overdose them on it,” says Seattle veterinarian Sarah Brandon. “It’s not lethal, but most animals don’t like to feel the high of the THC. They get paranoia, they have respiratory discomfort, just all of the things that would go along with, if you will, a human having a freak out.”

But with so many animals needing treatment for conditions like arthritis, pain, and nausea, Brandon and her husband were convinced they could isolate the positive properties of pot.

For the last five years, they’ve been experimenting with hemp, the parts of the Cannabis plant that contain virtually no THC but have many of the beneficial compounds.

First, they tested it on their own pets and then expanded to other patients. Now, they’ve developed what’s believed to be the first cannabis treatments for pets.

Called Canna-Pet, the supplements feature all natural compounds such as Phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that are also found in marijuana, without the high.

Brandon says the results have been dramatic.

“We’ve had a 100 percent positive reaction. We’re seeing cats and dogs experiencing discomfort walking or even moving around significantly improve.”

Shoreline pet lover Lisa Anderson is among those heartily endorsing Canna-Pet. The veterinary tech says she has a number of sick animals she’s taken in over the years. As a medical marijuana patient, she’s tried to treat some of them with her own medicine, but it hasn’t worked. “My dog got really loopy and sick,” she says

Anderson gave the cannabis a shot with her ailing Chihuahua after he suffered several conditions and had to have teeth removed.

“I thought I would give it a try instead of having the little guy suffer in pain while his mouth was healing, and it worked. He’s not loopy, he runs around, he plays, he plays with the cats.”

She’s since used it on several other pets, including another dog suffering from a bruised vertebra that left her nearly paralyzed.

“And she was up and moving around within 24 hours whereas 48 hours before that she wouldn’t even lift up her head.”

The Canna-Pet sells for $1 a pill. Brandon says one or two supplements a day are generally prescribed to treat most conditions. And it’s completely legal, since it’s made from hemp.

While their research is extensive, the veterinarian says there are still plenty of mysteries.

“If you give an animal the hemp and use it for pain control, they don’t get hungry. If you’re using it for controlling nausea, or help increase appetite, they eat better. I can’t explain it.”

Brandon hopes other professionals will take her research and continue working on new applications for medical cannabis for both pets and people alike.

“It would be really nice for people to be able to take something like this instead of the stuff that makes them high and be able to go to work or whatever they want to do.”

In the meantime, she’s just happy to be able to offer an alternative to opiates or other medications, many of which are extremely hard on animals or allergenic.

“It’s a little cheesy, but I’m really excited because there’s so much positive feedback from people who say it’s made their animals lives more comfortable. And that’s our main goal.”

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Pot for pets? Seattle vets develop cannabis for dogs and cats