BOSTON (CBS) — We hear a lot about medicinal marijuana and its ability to relieve pain in people. Now, some pet owners are saying something similar might be able to help their dogs and cats.
Jane Fulton gives her dog Dutchie biscuits made with industrial hemp. Like pot, they are part of the cannabinoid family of pain relievers.
These biscuits contain CBD and promise to provide pain relief without any neurological side effects, like feeling high.
Fulton first gave these supplements to her dog Tasso in his final days.
“I was amazed at how well he did,” she says.
Tasso had fatty tumors and a hard time walking. Fulton believes it was hip dysplasia based on the way he was walking.
“He really couldn’t take one of the drugs that was common for hip dysplasia and pain,” she says. “I was looking for alternatives and this was definitely an alternative that worked for him.”
Dutchie is getting the supplements to relieve arthritic pain.
Scary seizures became a thing of the past for Leo, after he started taking a cannabinoid supplement.
Owner Chiara Subhas describes the scary episodes: “Just violently shaking. His mouth is open. His eyes are rolling back. He’s drooling.”
Dr. Lisa Moses of the Angell Animal Medical Center believes there is a lot of potential with these supplements. She specializes in pain management.
Clients are asking her every week if this is a viable option.
“There’s no real regulation on them,” Moses says. “We don’t have any information on whether they are safe, and how they will work with other medications. But we also don’t have any information that says they are not safe. It’s kind of a buyer and user beware situation.”
Veterinarians are also concerned about dosage levels. Because there are no uniform standards in this area, pets can potentially get a dangerous amount of the drug.
“We don’t have any real data to tell us what those dosages should be,” said Dr. Moses. “The doses that are on those products are completely derived by the manufacturer. They are not from scientific data.”
The Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning to some manufacturers for marketing unapproved drugs.
Fulton consulted her vet before giving Tasso the supplements. She agreed there was a limited downside.
“Tasso was family,” Fulton said. “To see him struggling was heartbreaking and we wanted to do something for him, so we gave it a try and it worked, and it was just glorious to see that.”
Veterinarians tell us no one should ever experiment with real marijuana around a pet. Moses says they see a number of animals in their emergency room who have been poisoned by pot.