California veterinarian Doug Kramer has launched a campaign to legalize medical marijuana for dogs. Kramer believes THC in marijuana could help canines with conditions that are not responding to other treatments.
Kramer has a website focused on alternative medicine called “Vet Guru: Enlightened Therapeutics.” The About Us page reads:
Rather than relying solely on pharmaceutical medications alone, Dr. Kramer believes strongly in a more holistic and comprehensive approach.
Kramer told Harry Cheadle at VICE he got the idea for medical marijuana from a client. “A client first brought it to my attention.”
“She had a pet that was not responding well to any of the pain medications or the steroids that we were giving it, and she wanted to talk about getting medical marijuana,” Kramer said.
When asked how he would administer THC to dogs, Kramer suggested a glycerin cannabis tincture, which requires the patient take a drop of, usually tasty, THC on the tongue, rather than smoking or eating it.
“A glycerin tincture is, to me, by far the optimal way to do it because it offers the greatest accuracy in dosing. It’s also sweet tasting. Obviously you can make it into butter or oil, so anything that you can cook or make with butter or oil would work, like homemade dog biscuits.”
Kramer had a dog named Nikita who was diagnosed with untreatable cancer. When he administered THC, he says she was suddenly up and around again. “I didn’t cure her,” he said. “It was just a question of increasing her quality of life and putting off inevitably euthanizing her.
The vet also says he has seen THC increase appetites in cats, which can be very finicky when they are ill.
Kramer made clear that he disapproves of the dangerous practice of blowing marijuana smoke in the face of housepets.
“To me, it’s animal abuse, really. It kills me because it devalues what I’m trying to do,” Kramer said. “Especially in the early stages, starting the dialogue with veterinary medicine, the last thing you want is for people to do that. The dog doesn’t need the medication in that situation.”
The biggest question for researchers in this area is how animals, dogs or cats, metabolize marijuana. Although men and women are the same species, we don’t even metabolize alcohol the same way. Until we understand how this is done in pets, there is no way to be sure they are benefiting from THC.
Medical marijuana for humans is currently legal in 18 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia. No states currently have laws regarding the use of marijuana for animals.