Pot for pets? Exploring medical marijuana for our four legged friends

Medical marijuana is legal for people to use in 23 states in America. Arizona is one of those states, but what about pot for pets?

A Tempe-based company is working on some cannabis-derived treats for pets right now, and some see pet edibles as a potentially lucrative market.

Nevada lawmakers are debating a bill that would allow veterinarians to prescribe medical marijuana to pets. Some are interested in being able to provide potential relief to sick or aging animals.

"They said on the outside she doesn't look like anything is wrong with her, but on the inside she's a really sick dog," said Lauren Byrne.

Lauren Byrne of Cave Creek said she would consider giving pot edibles to her dog Sophie.

"If she ever gets to a point where she is not eating and is uncomfortable, and it's not necessarily that time yet, and it's proven to release pain and give her more energy in the ending days, I would absolutely consider it," said Byrne.

Her 8-year-old standard poodle was diagnosed with cancer last year. Byrne estimates she's spent $12,000 on surgeries and chemo.

"They told me 8-9 months ago she would only live three months, so she is a fighter," she said.

The President of a Tempe-based company called American Green, which is touted as the first publicly traded marijuana company, said he's working on cannabis edibles for pets.

"Probably in a biscuit form that is pretty common, there are (products) that can be rubbed on," said Stephen Shearin.

Shearin said unlike pot for people, his product for pets would not contain THC, which is attributed to the marijuana high. Instead, it would be made from hemp and contain CBD which is said to alleviate pain.

"It's a quality of life thing, and it's not designed for the psychotic effect, it's not something like get your dog baked ad in the back of the New Times or something," said Shearin.

Among the concerns critics have are the effects of pot on pets, and people making health decisions without consulting a vet.

"I would have concerns about people abusing it too, but in the right home, and in the right hands I think it would be a great thing. I mean they're your family member, so why wouldn't you want them to be more comfortable," said Byrne.

The FDA has been watching and reportedly sending warning letters to some companies selling cannabis-based products for animals. Specifically they cite advertising language and effectiveness claims, that market the products as safe and effective.
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