Pot and Pets: Should Dogs Get High?

Miles, a 12-year-old Labrador retriever mix, was slowly dying of cancer. His owner, after seeing the effect that narcotic painkillers such as tramadol were having on Miles, decided to try something else: medical marijuana.

Within hours of taking a tincture of marijuana from a medical pot dispensary in Los Angeles, Miles' appetite returned, he stopped vomiting and began walking and running around. "It couldn't have been a coincidence," his owner told the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Having a pet can really cheer a person up, but it can also have a much deeper impact than you might realize.

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As marijuana's once-ironclad restrictions become more relaxed, and researchers begin to find more therapeutic uses for the formerly banned substance, pet owners around the world may be wondering: Is pot good for my pet? [10 Surprising Facts About Dogs]

Pot's health effects

Since 1970, marijuana has been classified by the federal government as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has no recognized medical uses and a high potential for abuse, placing it in the same category as heroin and LSD.

Many medical authorities, including the American Medical Association and the National Association for Public Health Policy, scoff at pot's Schedule I designation. So do legions of people who openly buy the drug at pot dispensaries in the dozens of states and countries that allow medical use of marijuana.

But veterinarians warn that marijuana -- despite its potential therapeutic benefits -- isn't always a good choice for dogs, cats and other animals.

Two dogs died in Colorado from marijuana toxicosis after ingesting butter laced with medical-grade marijuana, according to a 2012 report in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

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