In 2014, the State of New York legalized medical marijuana and now it could be the first state in the union to approve the medication for… pets? That’s right. This past March, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin introduced legislation that could grant veterinarians the ability to prescribe the medication to pets.
Bill No. A10104, which is co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo will set to redefine “Certified Patient” to include the term “human” and “animal.” Originally State Senator Diane Savino, who sponsored New York State’s medical marijuana law, was skeptical of the bill, but has now lent her support.
The Bill states “Animal owners and caregivers would … be given an alternative option to alleviate their pets’ pain… This could be helpful to many animals in need of relief, especially those that have chronic illnesses and for whom more traditional medical treatment has not proven to be effective.” It also refers to similar bills from Nevada and California.
“Medical marijuana has helped countless people in the management and treatment of chronic and debilitating illnesses,” according to the bill. “Research suggests that animals can also benefit from cannabis use to similarly treat their ailments.”
The Uphill Battle
There are many issues to be faced before any action is taken. For instance, the bill has not yet gained a Senate sponsor. And though New York has allowed doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in non-smokable forms since January 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has moved cautiously with expansion. This has caused the program to struggle.
According to the state Health Department, the program currently has 1,500 registered practitioners and around 47,600 patients. Since the beginning of the program, New York has expanded the treatable ailments list, let nurse practitioners prescribe the medication, and double the number of dispensaries to 40.
Is Medical Marijuana Even Good For Animals?
Though there is little evidence to show how a non-human brain responds to TCH, what we do know is not exactly a ringing endorsement. According to a Popular Science article, high amounts of THC could cause animals to experience a steep drop in blood pressure and possibly slip into a coma. And though THC may not be the best choice the furballs in our lives, scientists are currently studying the effects of CBD on animals, which can offer the benefits of pain control without the psychoactive response THC can have.
Though there may not be too much research as of now, Assemblywoman Paulin still argues that “giving animals access to medical marijuana is a compassionate measure that will help in preventing unnecessary discomfort and suffering.”
What do you think about medical marijuana for pets? Would you give it to your furry friend if you thought it would help? @MMDOTCOM would love to hear your thoughts on the issue.