From Stoned Bunnies to Cannabis-Based Pet Care: What's the Effect of Pot on Animals?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — It appears that the DEA will stop at nothing to slow down and frustrate medical marijuana reform. That said, the latest "health warning" from the agency, this time in Utah, borders on the bizarre.

Special Agent Matt Fairbanks, a member of Utah's DEA marijuana eradication team, told a state panel of lawmakers in early March that stoned bunnies pose a major threat to public safety and as a result, should impede the current cannabis legalization initiative now the table in the state authorizing medical use for specific conditions.

"I come to represent the actual science and I come with some severe concerns," Fairbanks told lawmakers during his testimony. According to the concerned agent, "even rabbits...had cultivated a taste for the marijuana, where one of them refused to leave us." Apparently this keen-eyed member of DEA enforcement also thought it was distressing that the rabbit's "natural instincts to run were somehow gone."

The idea of wildlife "getting high" from eating the live, raw plant, is actually scientifically untrue.  Furthermore, cannabinoid-based pet care is not a new idea. Cannabis appears to have a similar effect on animals as it does on humans. Some cats react to pot the same way they do to catnip (although catnip does not work on people). While the ASPCA at least for now recommends against feeding cannabis to pets, there are many credible reports of the efficacious treatment of sick animals with the plant - both historical and recent.

According to Julianna Carella, the CEO of Auntie Dolores and Treat-ibles, a company that produces medical edibles for pets, "Unless rabbits have learned how to use fire - they aren't going to be getting high.  It's simple chemistry! In the living plant, the cannabinoid THC is in its acid form - known as THCA. This compound isn't psychoactive until it goes through a process called decarboxylation; this occurs with heat exposure. Since rabbits would eat the living plant - they wouldn't be in any danger of experiencing euphoria or any result caused by the psychoactive nature of Delta-9-THC."

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