|If passed, a new bill introduced on March 17 to the Nevada Legislature will allow veterinarians to prescribe their furry patients with medical marijuana.
Democratic Sen. Tick Segerblom, who’s sponsoring the measure that would allow pet owners to get medical marijuana for their pets if a vet certifies that the animals has an illness capable of being alleviated by the medicine, told the AP that although he’s concerned some animals may have adverse reactions, “You don’t know until you try.”
Still in its early stages, SB372 also faces several legislative hurdles before it can become law. In addition to its pot-for-pets provision, the bill would revamp Nevada’s marijuana laws. As it is now, SB372 would also require dispensary owners to have training, and would remove penalties for drivers who have marijuana in their blood.
The biggest challenge SB372 faces, though, isn’t the legislative process, but the fact that there’s a lack of empirical evidence supporting the idea that medical marijuana can help pets.
“Although there may be a place for medical marijuana in the treatment of animals, significant further research needs to be done first,” said Dr. Karen Kennedy, DVM from Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital. “I believe most practitioners have seen the toxic effects of marijuana ingestion in pets, and would be hesitant to prescribe it without the studies to show the benefits of it, and the proper dosing.”
Though the substance has yet to be a proven, effective painkiller for animals, pet owners in California are already using medical marijuana to help their pets. The hemp-based capsules contain only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol — or THC — the psychoactive ingredient that provides the cannabis high.
“It has truly been a miracle and I don’t say that lightly,” Conway told CNBC. “I feel like I have a whole new dog. [My dog] Georgia’s happy and relaxed. She’s not in pain. It’s amazing.”
Others, though, are less certain of the efficacy of giving pets medical marijuana.
“That gives me pause, said Sen. Mark Manendo, a Democrat and animal rights activist. “Alcohol is bad, chocolate is bad for dogs.”
Pet owners in California, though, insist it works.
“If Miles was on the tramadol, he’d be in bed, and he wouldn’t be enjoying anything or eating anything, and he’d probably be dead,” a pet owner, who wished her name to be redacted, told the American Veterinary Medical Association. “I’m just really grateful we found this.”