A “Pot Patch” for Pups?
A company called Medical Marijuana Delivery Systems, LLC (MMDS) acquired the rights to a patent in February 2011 for a transcutaneous (through the skin) delivery of medical marijuana to humans and animals. Since our pets suffer from many of the same debilitating illnesses that we do, and with many states legalizing the use of medical marijuana, it doesn’t seem like such a stretch to apply this concept of care to our pets. This “pot patch for pups” has been given the trade name Tetracan, and the goal is for public availability by year’s end.
At first blush, the thought of canine cannabis sounded a bit over the top to me. However, current research is touting that it is a very reliable delivery system. The maker of this product ensures that only the pain relieving effects are transmitted to the patient and that it will not make your pet “high.”
This transcutaneous patch is being developed to help patients with management of pain, nausea, and anxiety but without the psychotropic effect. MMDS is also working on topical applications for animals in place of the patch and it will be similar to applying the monthly flea and tick treatment that every pet parent is familiar with.
Of course, to buy the patches, you’d need to be a medical marijuana patient yourself since Fido can’t get an authorization from the veterinarian. That is, at least, not yet. The company is pressing for changes in state law that would allow veterinarians to prescribe medical cannabis for pets, which is something that is currently not allowed.
What does the American Veterinary Medical Association think of all this? At this time, it does not have a position on the use of medical marijuana on animals, but it has done extensive studies on the use of Fentanyl patches for pain relief. Fentanyl, a highly controlled substance and potent synthetic narcotic, is considered to be normal veterinary practice standards, and is something I dispense frequently. This leads the medical devil’s advocates to ask, “Why not try to integrate a more natural, plant-based approach?”
While the patch does conjure up visions of pups frolicking in fields of poppies and begging for extra helpings of kibble, I have to say that I can see the potential benefits if it is something that is well developed, and it will be interesting to see how the medical and legal aspects of its use unfold. It may prove to be a potential alternative to chronic pain in our pets, especially when some chemical pharmaceutical painkillers can be harmful, sometimes even fatal, in weakened pets.
What do you think about medical marijuana for pets? If it were deemed safe for dogs, and was recommended by your veterinarian, would you consider using a marijuana patch on your furry friend?