New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs

Will New Mexico’s medical marijuana program be extended to dogs?
New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs
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Pot for pooches? It could happen in New Mexico, where activists are lobbying to expand the state’s medical marijuana program to cover ailing dogs. 

The Associated Press is reporting that the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will take up a pair of petitions at its meeting next month to expand the qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis. One petition is conventional: it calls for the program to extend to people with attention deficit disorder.

But the other one is where things get a bit more exotic. Citing veterinary studies in support of cannabis use for animals suffering from seizures, the petition calls for the state’s medical marijuana program to apply to dogs with epilepsy. 

The New Mexico Department of Health withheld the names of petition sponsors, according to the Associated Press.

Potential Problems With The Petition

It is unclear which studies the petitioner cited advocating for cannabis for canines. The American Veterinary Medical Association has said that “although cannabinoids such as CBD appear to hold therapeutic promise in areas such as the treatment of epilepsy and the management of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, the available scientific evidence pertaining to their use in animals is currently limited.”

“While findings from a few well-controlled studies have been published, much of what we know is related to anecdotal or case reports or has been gleaned from studies related to use in humans, including the study of animal models for that purpose,” the AVMA says in a primer available on its website. “The AVMA continues to encourage well-controlled clinical research and pursuit of FDA approval by manufacturers of cannabis-derived products so that high-quality products of known safety and efficacy can be made available for veterinarians and their patients.”

In a letter sent to the Food and Drug Administration in July, Janet D. Donlin, the CEO of AVMA, called for more regulatory clarity regarding the labeling, safety, and use of cannabis-derived and cannabis-related products.

“Veterinarians have a strong interest in and enthusiastically support exploring the therapeutic potential of cannabis-derived and cannabis-related products, but we want to be sure we can have continued confidence in the efficacy, quality, and safety of products used to treat our patients,” Donlin wrote. “We are aware of several research institutions with both completed and ongoing investigations into the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids for companion animals, with results that appear promising in some areas (e.g., osteoarthritis, epilepsy, pain management, oncology).”

Donlin said that the AVMA has received many reports from its members “that animal owners are actively purchasing these products and administering them to their pets and horses to treat medical conditions, often in the absence of veterinary consultation, and without the assurance that comes with FDA review and approval of therapeutic claims being made by their manufacturers and distributors.”

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