Dependent on what part of the world one scores it, maryjane, gange, pot, grass, hemp, reefer, weed, Maui Wowie, hashish, Panana Red and countless other pseudonyms all fall under the herb known technically as cannabis. And while it's been a underground staple of humanity's medicine chest for hundreds of years, up to recent date, it's been prohibited in most states throughout the U.S.
Helping to alleviate chronic pain, reduce nausea and stimulate the appetites of the terminally ill, marijuana's therapeutic benefits for man are no longer questioned. But what about man's best friend? Why should they be denied the same medical assistance their masters are receiving.
Well that's about to change due mainly to the efforts of the "Vet Guru." California veterinarian Dr. Doug Kramer has been working diligently to use the drug with his sick pets - with great results, particularly for those at the end of their lives.
His book "Sweet Serenity" is the culmination of over 5 years of work and research. This guidebook outlines not only detailed medicinal cannabis production but also clearly advises pet owners how to properly dose their animals with the optimal amount of medication.
Kramer got the idea from a patient who suggested obtaining medical marijuana for her pet when steroids and other pain medications were not working. Similarly, he claims the drug alleviated his cancer-stricken Husky dog Nikita’s chronic pain and stimulated its appetite. ”At the first dosage, she was up and around. I didn’t cure her. It was just a question of increasing her quality of life and putting off inevitably euthanizing her.”
The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) supports this kind of treatment as long as the drug is indeed used for medical purposes and does not exploit its recreational value. As PETA president Ingrid Newkirk told ABC News:
Though the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of marijuana for any purpose, there is a synthetic form of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana called dronabinol or Marinol that is FDA approved -- and, there are at least two veterinary textbooks that provide recommendations for treating pets with dronabinol.
Lynne White-Shim, assistant director with the division of scientific activities of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said legalizing medicinal marijuana use for pets is a “brand new” idea for her organization – so new that it does not have a policy on the issue.
She stressed the importance of conducting research into the effects such a drug would have on animals before going forward with treatment, because not all drugs affect humans and their furry friends in the same way.
But, even with that word of caution, it's becoming very clear that man's best friend can benefit from the same treatment that's been helping their masters for years. And beyond dogs, Dr. Kramer asserts that any animal with cannabinoid receptors can also be helped in coping with debilitating and chronic conditions.
However any treatment of one's pets using cannabis should always be done under doctors' care. In Kramer's interview he reaffirmed that not only is blowing smoke in a dog's face to get them high not cool, it should be viewed as "animal abuse" -- as it devalues all of the work the doctor has done to help legitimize this type of treatment.