We know that medical marijuana has helped many people cope with cancer. But about cats? Can cannabis be used to treat cancer in felines? Find out if pot can have a positive effect on your cat’s cancer symptoms.
In the last few years, we have seen that the use of medical marijuana can effectively treat symptoms of cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other maladies, in humans. The typical marijuana plant is classified as cannabis sativa, and contains CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) compounds. THC is the compound in cannabis that induces the chemical “high.” Products that are made with less than 0.3 percent THC are considered to be legal for purchase in all 50 states.
Using marijuana to treat certain medical maladies is not a new phenomenon. It’s been used as an ingredient in medicines for centuries. In fact, records indicate that pot was used by the Chinese as a curative herb, beginning about 10,000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks used cannabis to treat tissue inflammation.
By the 1970s, many Vietnam War veterans used marijuana to reduce muscle spasms from injuries sustained in battle. A few years later, a synthetic version of THC was introduced, and was used to great success to offset the violent nausea associated with chemotherapy. Cannabis therapy was used in the treatment of chronic pain as well.
But at this point, you might be asking: “What does this have to do with CATS?”
Well, since cats are warm-blooded mammals, just like you and I, they’re just as capable of getting cancer. According to the Pet Health Network, the most common forms of cancer in cats are: lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer, and skin cancer.
How does medical marijuana actually help cats cope with cancer?
The CBD in cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties, which also lessens some of the adverse side effects of THC in pot. In higher concentrations, THC can be toxic to felines. However, if the THC is used at levels below 0.3 percent, this CBD/THC treatment can be quite beneficial.
One of the products that uses this cannabis combo is Canna Companion. Created by Dr. Sarah Brandon and Dr. Greg Copas, this hemp-based supplement also contains Omega 3, fatty acids, Vitamin B6 as well. Hemp has no known negative drug interactions.
According to the manufacturers of this CBD/THC product, Canna Companion can:
• Control chronic pain and inflammation
• Reduce seizures
• Decrease nausea
• Reduces dementia
• Relieve bronchial spasms
• Lower anxiety
“The future of cannabis in the cat world is quite positive,” says Dr. Brandon, in a recent article in The Conscious Cat. “I believe with 2-3 years it will be a commonly offered options in veterinary hospitals for pain and inflammation reduction, neurological condition, and mild behavioral concerns.”
But isn’t marijuana still an illegal drug?
Yes. At least when it comes to recreational use. Marijuana is still considered to be a Schedule 1 controlled substance, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). However, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 29 states (plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico) allow for the medical use of marijuana. And since Canna Companion is a supplement, and its THC content is less than 0.3 percent, the product is currently exempt from the DEA’s purview.
What are the side effects of this medical marijuana treatment?
The most common side effect of this CBD/THC product is mild lethargy, typically in the first few days of treatment. Some treated cats experience soft stools and more frequent bowel movements. Hemp itself tends to have a high fiber content, which some cats might be sensitive to. Lowering the dosage can relieve that particular issue.
“Cannabis is not a cure-all and we certainly don’t advocate discontinuation of prescribed medications without consulting your cat’s veterinarian,” says Dr. Brandon. “None the less, it does have its place in the feline world and we’ll see more of it as time goes on.”
Now isn’t that just the cat’s meow?