An animal shelter in Quebec’s Laurentians region is treating a pair of sick wards — a raccoon and a skunk — with cannabis oil.
And, according to the shelter’s co-founder, Jacques Lessard, the unconventional treatment is proving to be effective.
The shelter, which is called Centre-refuge Nymous and is located in Sainte-Béatrix, Quebec, is currently nursing 36 sick animals back to health. This includes several racoons, a coyote, a fox, a possum, a deer, and a groundhog. The shelter has taken in most of these animals after they have been hit by vehicles.
It has been three months since Lessard and co-founder Rachel Garenne first started incorporating cannabis oil into their treatments. The cannabis oil is administered by the shelter’s staff orally, either by mixing it with the animals’ food or through a syringe.
Gaby and Lou
The skunk, named Gaby, has damaged hind legs and could not walk. Part of her brain has also atrophied.
Meanwhile, the raccoon, named Lou, suffers from body spasms as a result of hypothermia.
After cannabis oil was administered, Gaby experienced almost immediate results. She has stopped trembling and has better coordination and better balance. And the cannabis has not stupefied her.
As for Lou, the cannabis oil has lessened the intensity of her spasms.
Why use cannabis oil for sick animals?
According to Lessard, the idea to use cannabis oil came to him after doing some research online and consulting some veterinarians. Afterwards, he went to a medical cannabis dispensary in Montreal, Clinique la croix verte, and it agreed to provide them the cannabis oil — for free!
Shantal Arroyo, the clinic’s director and founder, said that there is a growing market for marijuana products that are made especially for animals. In fact, she said that in the U.S. alone, it has already hit the billion-dollar mark.
Experts are optimistic but remain cautious
The Quebec Order of Veterinarians’ president, Caroline Kilsdonk, said that studies into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis haven’t shown any definitive conclusions yet and data is still incomplete, so people should remain cautious. According to her, they do not recommend that veterinarians prescribe cannabis-based products — at least not yet.
She also noted that difference between cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When it comes to animals, the most promising effects of THC are that it reduces pain, anxiety, and epilepsy, and stimulates their appetites, she explained.
Arroyo, meanwhile, said that she only prescribes CBD-based products. She explained that contrary to THC, CBD does not bring about psychoactive effects and does not impair animals.
What’s more, Arroyo said that she does not prescribe more than 10 milligrams per kilo. According to her, this is what works best.
Arroyo also assured that she always asks to see an animal, as well as read the records from the vet, before she makes certain decisions about cannabis medication for animals.