California doc pushes for veterinary medical marijuana


Here’s one for our cannabis-friendly canine lovers out there: should dogs be allowed medical marijuana the same as humans? According to California veterinarian Dr. Doug Kramer the answer is a resounding yes.

Not a medical or recreational cannabis user himself, Kramer nevertheless advocates for medical cannabis use. Kramer tells that he’s been administering cannabis to pets for some time now after seeing medical marijuana patient pet owners come to him with stories of how they had seen success in their own animals. He says the catalyst came when his own dog, Nikita, developed cancer and he turned to cannabis as a way to help heal her and get her through the eventual end.
Dr. Doug Kramer.

Kramer’s outlook on cannabis for pets is the same as many doctors: it’s a safer alternative to often-deadly pain medications, and when used properly it can be an amazing therapeutic substance. On his website,, he posts a study he conducted that showed cannabis use could help decrease the dosage of opiates used for pain.
“Overwhelming documented and empirical evidence suggests that there is a role for medicinal marijuana in veterinary medicine,” Kramer wrote. “In many, many scientific studies, THC and its synthetic derivatives have been shown to be effective in most animal models of pain.”
Other vets chime in throughout the article, including an Ohio vet who says he’s frustrated that there isn’t any interest in the subject beyond what Kramer is doing in California. He says he’s all for using specific strains to target nausea, appetite and pain relief just like with humans. But marijuana’s position as a Schedule I controlled substance with the feds pretty much kills any hope for veterinary research anytime soon (again, just like with humans).
And since California’s medical marijuana laws make no mention of animal use, Kramer acknowledges that he could be putting himself in a rough spot legally. But the benefit he sees with his patients outweighs the current dangers of pharmaceutical drugs that frequently cause overdoses in animals.
“The decision was an easy one for me to make,” he tells “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 … 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.”
The article also details how a Nevada woman who used whole-flower cannabis oil to help her dog battle a kind of doggie leukemia. The woman says that the prohibitive cost of chemotherapy kept her from taking that avenue when he was first diagnosed in 2010, but that after her Rottweiler became skin and bones at 64 pounds a few months later she knew she had to do something to save her four-legged friend.
After some research, the woman – who the article doesn’t name or go into much detail other than to note she’s not a recreational cannabis user – found a recipe that mixed buds and leaves with coconut oil. She began giving it to her pooch, Sampson, who began a quick turnaround that kept him around for two more years.
While we here at Toke are all for alternative healing options for our pets, it should be noted that getting your dog stoned just to get it stoned is still not cool. Kramer agrees, noting that cannabis toxicity in animals is a very real thing vets see very often. Though the pets don’t die from cannabis consumption, they can get very sick – not unlike your friend Brian who ate too many brownies at that one Halloween party.
As I pointed out in my weekly Denver Westword column, Ask a Stoner a few weeks ago: Your dog doesn’t want to get high at all. What you’re saying is you love to get your dog stoned, and you need to stop. Getting your dog (or cat for you lonely folks) high is the animal equivalent of giving a few puffs to a three- or four-year-old child with their already very narrow and limited understanding of the world around them.
Your dog or cat really only wants your attention and would enjoy a walk around the block or a hike around a lake a whole helluva lot more. Well, maybe not the cat. They probably would just rather you got a laser pointer and went to town with it on your living room carpet.
Dr. Kramer checking in on a patient.