I'll start by apologizing. I just can't resist a bad dog pun, and medical cannabis seems to be going to the dogs these days.
Here's the meat: The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board has received a petition to open the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program up to pets suffering from epileptic seizures. According to the Associated Press, the petition cites recent studies in veterinary medicine that recommend cannabis for animals coping with seizures and links to a YouTube video that shows an epileptic dog suffering from the illness. The petitioner says that authorizing cannabis for animals would minimize the danger of animal abuse (don't ask me how) and provide new treatment tools to veterinarians.
It's all very sad, of course—and who can resist a sick dog video? But the whole thing has a certain … disingenuous odor about it. I might just be paranoid, but if we start letting puppies and kitties enroll in the state's cannabis program, won't that provide an opportunity for dubious pet owners to take their animals' meds? I know we recently started letting Texans into the program, but surely we have to respect some kind of limit.
I would roll my eyes about medicating animals with cannabis, but California already protects veterinarians who discuss cannabis with their patients' owners and is currently considering a bill that would allow them to recommend medical cannabis for animals. New York is considering giving animals access to medical marijuana. Connecticut and Tennessee have proposed protecting vets who talk about cannabis.
So I probably don't know what I'm talking about. And to be honest: I'm really not all that concerned about someone trying to choke down their horse's THC tablets, either. Maybe I've given into despair. Who knows?
All of that being said: Blowing smoke into your sick pet's face would definitely be considered animal abuse, and I would never ever in a million billion years encourage such a thing. Not even once. Ever.
Unless their vet says it's ok.
At a recent town hall event in Las Vegas, Nev., Democratic presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden proved once again that he has no idea what his constituents want by calling cannabis a “gateway drug” and saying he wasn't comfortable legalizing it. This, in spite of the fact that a recent Pew Research Center poll found that two-thirds of the nation now support marijuana legalization.
For a week, he stumbled around in a daze, his eyebrows knitted and genuine confusion painted across his face. Everywhere he turned he found enemies. The headlines mocked him. Social media influencers cringed at his '90s rhetoric. And then came the coup de grâce.
During the Democratic debate last Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker pulled the biggest reaction from the crowd by criticizing Biden. “This week I hear him literally say that 'I don't think we should legalize marijuana,'” he said before turning to the former VP. “I thought you might have been high when you said it.”
The crowd exploded with laughter, but Booker continued. “Because marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people, and the War On Drugs has been a war on black and brown people … With more African Americans under criminal supervision in America than all of the slaves since 1850, do not roll up into communities and not talk directly to issues that are going to relate to the liberation of children. There are people in Congress right now who admit to smoking marijuana, while there are people, our kids, who are in jail right now for those drug crimes.”
Good Lord, I'm getting weepy transcribing it. Booker's passion and frustration betrayed a man who is all too familiar with the terrible sins of the Drug War and its human victims—sins that many have forgotten in places where marijuana laws have become lax.
Biden looked like he didn't know whether he wanted to laugh or cry. He raised his finger and opened his mouth before switching over to sociopathic robot mode and saying that he supported decriminalization of cannabis and the immediate release of all cannabis offenders locked in prison. Then he listed off some of his black friends. “I'm part of that Obama coalition,” he said. “I come out of the black community—in terms of my support.”
Booker looked shocked. Kamala Harris got in a good jibe while the crowd hollered. Biden just stared straight ahead and finished reciting his response through twitching lips. His eyes smoldered. No one could hear him over the laughter.
One of the most common uses for cannabis is as a sleep aid. A heady indica can send you straight to the land of drool in no time flat. But one side effect that no one thought about was the effect it would have on sales of over-the-counter sleep aids like Tylenol PM or ZzzQuil.
According to a study recently published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, “Using Recreational Cannabis to Treat Insomnia: Evidence from Over-The-Counter Sleep Aid Sales in Colorado,” in areas where recreational marijuana is readily available, sales for OTC sleep aids have declined. Overall OTC medication market market shares were reportedly growing prior to recreational cannabis availability in the area in question.
The study analyzed retail scanner data from Colorado retailers to compare the sales trends. It found that the monthly market share of sleep aids in a county declined as more dispensaries opened there. County-level cannabis sales were also related.
“These findings support survey evidence that many individuals use cannabis to treat insomnia, although sleep disturbances are not a specific qualifying condition under any US state-level medical cannabis law,” the study's authors noted. They also pointed out that nearly half the US population reports suffering from insomnia, making these findings “clinically relevant.”
Considering the many negative side effects associated with some OTC sleep aids, it would probably be in the public's best interest for health officials to take note.