Nevada "Pot For Pets" Bill Could Mean Less Pain For Sick Cats & Dogs

LONDON - NOVEMBER 10: Three puppies wait for a new owner in a dogs home in London on November 10, 2008. In increasingly difficult economic times, dogs homes are experiencing fewer people looking to rehome dogs as well as a increase in waiting list times for those wishing to give up their dog to a dogs home. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Source: Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Having a pet is a little like having a child, except it involves less responsibility and more dog parks. When a baby is in pain, whether he's a human infant or a chihuahua, any parent will want to alleviate his pain however he or she can. Until now, painkiller options for domesticated animals have been limited, and pet owners have had to watch their furry roommates endure pain without being able to help. But if a new bill introduced Tuesday in the Nevada Legislature passes, pets in pain could be prescribed pot (say that five times fast).

Democratic Senator Tick Segerblom is sponsoring the measure, which is part of a larger bill called SB372 intended to overhaul Nevada's medical marijuana law. In addition to providing medical marijuana for pets in chronic pain, Segerblom would remove penalties for those caught driving with marijuana in their bloodstream. His bill also includes a provision to require training for pot shop owners, though it is not clear what that training would involve.

Segerblom said he decided to add the "pot for pets" provision after hearing from Nevada residents who swore by the remedy — specifically, after he was "approached by a constituent," according to The Associated Press.

[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/ABCNewsHealth/statuses/578260345082535936]

Segerblom is concerned that some pets could have adverse reactions to the drug, but he's not afraid of experimentation — he told The Associated Press:

You don't know until you try.
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/Newser/statuses/578242640451268608]

While marijuana for pets is not currently legal in Nevada, many pet owners have raved about the benefits it has had on their ailing and even dying animals. Some claim it has helped improve the quality of life for dying pets in the last weeks of life. The drug has been used on horses and dogs experiencing pain, anxiety, cancer, and lack of appetite

There are even two companies in Seattle based exclusively on providing hemp-based treatments for pets — Canna Companion and Canna-Pet. According to Canna-Pet's website, no animal has ever been harmed by taking the company's products. The company sells Canna-Pet for Cats, Canna-Pet for Dogs, and Canna-Biscuits for Dogs, though it acknowledges that the biscuits may also work on cats.

So what exactly does the bill say? Sections 13-18, 25, and 30 of SB372 address the nitty-gritty of marijuana for pets. And as out-there as prescribing pot to puppies may seem, the reality is that lawmakers are not considering it without regulations — in fact, they are taking it quite seriously. Any animal who is approved to receive medical marijuana would have to go through processes of "issuance, renewal and revocation of registry identification cards." There would also be specific regulations for the prescription of marijuana to animals, including a limit on THC content.

What would the requirements be for any pet seeking pot? According to the bill, a sick pet has to meet only three criteria — and have an owner who is a legitimate resident of Nevada with all the appropriate government paperwork — in order to receive a prescription:

(1) The animal has been diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition

(2) The medical use of marijuana may mitigate the symptoms or effects of that condition; and 

(3) The veterinarian has explained the possible risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana for animals.

Any veterinarian prescribing marijuana products or edibles would be required by law to inform the pet's owner of the "possible risks and benefits" of medical marijuana. The bill was read for the first time on Tuesday, and there are not currently any upcoming hearings listed.

Images: Getty Images (3)

Must Reads