There is no doubt that the legalization of marijuana in an increasing number of states across the country has launched a billion-dollar industry.
The production of the plants, use of those plants to create THC-laden products, the sale of those products, and even a travel industry around connecting consumers in states where the drug is still illegal to the locations where they can take advantage of its legal status are thriving.
One of the latest industries to be impacted by the legalization of marijuana is, surprisingly, the pet industry. A line of edible marijuana products is now being marketed to owners of pets who may – or may not – benefit from the medicinal qualities that marijuana may bring, per ABC News. According to PETA, the intent of these products is to provide relief from inflammation as well as some of the pain and discomfort related to end of life.
Is this a good idea? A crazy idea? Is it just one more way to introduce addictive substances into the home where others may abuse them? Or is this a viable and compassionate choice for animals in need?
THC vs. CBD
The big difference between these products and the medicinal marijuana used by humans is the active ingredient. Inedible marijuana products designed for humans, THC is the active component that causes the “high” experience as well as any medicinal effects. Inedible marijuana products created for animals, the active ingredient is cannabidiol, or CBD. This substance does not get animals high in the way that THC creates a high in the human user. The recommended dosage goes by weight: 1 milligram of CBD per 20 pounds.
Legal for Humans but Not Animals
Even in the states where medical marijuana is legal for humans, it is not legal for a veterinarian to prescribe marijuana edibles to an animal. Though some representatives of PETA may promote the use of medical marijuana for animals, there is always the risk that an animal will consume too much of the product and experience negative effects as a result. Because they are often sold in “treat” form, an animal may seek out the product and eat the whole bag, which could have a month or more worth of doses, depending on the size of the animal.
The Medical Validity of Marijuana
There is an increasing number of studies that support the efficacy of marijuana in the treatment of specific ailments for humans. It is not a cure-all, however, and its efficacy should be better controlled than it is currently. As it stands, there is no standardization of dosing available.
Patients are simply given the ability to purchase the plants and edibles that have a wide range of THC potencies and the limits of possessing a specified amount at any given time. Usage is not well directed, and different types of plants create different effects in the user.
For animals, there are no studies on the efficacy of medical marijuana. However, the dosing issue is actually better controlled, so acquiring this data may be easier as compared to doing similar studies in humans. As Dr. Wismer pointed out, though, we may be a few years out from the products and evidence necessary to make this a legal and standardized practice in the veterinarian industry.
Medical Care, Recreation, Marijuana, and the Future
It stands to reason that as marijuana is legalized for medicinal and recreational use in more and more states, the marijuana industry will begin to hybridize with other established industries. It’s important for voters to remain aware of changes as they occur and to think through the potential impact that these changes may have on individuals, families, and the community at large.
Marijuana is an addictive substance, and an estimated 9 percent of those who try the drug will go on to develop a dependence upon it. If you are concerned that your use of marijuana has begun to negatively impact your ability to maintain at work or at home, treatment services may be the right option for you. Changing your life starts with making the decision to address the things that aren’t working for you and learning how to practice lifestyle changes that will improve your physical and mental health. Is today the day you begin making those positive changes for your life?