Canine Cannabis

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 1 2013 @ 9:54am

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Julia Szabo reports on rogue veterinarians and pet owners who risk arrest to ease the pain of sick dogs. Dr. Doug Kramer lost a much-loved Husky to cancer:

After studying the latest research on cannabis, he was moved to develop a homemade tincture and saw firsthand how it restored Nikita’s appetite and allowed her to enjoy her final months to the fullest. After Nikita’s death, Kramer resolved to safely harness medical marijuana, aka MM or MMJ, to benefit other animals with incurable and terminal diseases. He’s become an outspoken, tireless advocate of pain control for animals and has established a veterinary practice, Enlightened Veterinary Therapeutics, specializing in palliative and hospice care. He’s the first vet in the country to offer cannabis consultations as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for pet patients.

In doing so, Kramer is putting his professional reputation on the line and risking jail time. Veterinarians cannot prescribe MM for patients; it is illegal because cannabis is defined as a Schedule I drug by the FDA. “The decision was an easy one for me to make,” he says. “I refuse to condemn my patients to a miserable existence for self preservation or concerns about what may or may not happen to me as a consequence of my actions. My freedom of speech is clearly protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. This is an issue of animal welfare, plain and simple. Remaining silent would represent a clear violation of the veterinarian’s oath I took when I was admitted into this profession.”

(Hat tip: MeFi. Photo by of a dog with lymphosarcoma by Flickr user carterse)