Pot Patch for Pups


In February 2011, a company called Medical Marijuana Delivery Systems, LLC (MMDS) acquired the rights to a patent for a transcutaneous (through the skin) delivery of medical marijuana to humans and animals. The MMDS goal is for public availability of this patch by year end.  Given the trade name Tetracan, this skin patch delivery system could be called a pot patch for pups, canine cannabis or even medical marijuana for mutts.

Animals suffer from many of the same debilitating illnesses that humans do, like arthritis and cancer.  With many U.S. states legalizing the use of medical marijuana for humans, it doesn’t seem like such a stretch to apply this concept to animals.

How Tetracan Originated
In 2000, a Santa Ana Pueblo tribe member in New Mexico, Walter Cristobel, experimented with finding a transcutaneous delivery system of marijuana for his mother’s pain relief and was awarded a patent.  In 2010, businessmen Jim Alekson and Chester Soliz — learning of Cristobel’s patent — joined him in forming MMDS, “a company devoted to the advancement, research and development of marijuana delivery modalities.”

“MMDS is pleased to be working with Walter Cristobal to help him develop his innovative ideas as MMDS advances the research and development of TETRACAN holistic, therapeutic products,” stated Jim Alekson, ADG Market Focus spokesperson for MMDS in a press release.  Other delivery systems such as creams, gels and oils will be explored for other ways of delivering medical marijuana.

Alekson informs me he has been working on a stock exchange listing for MMDS that is expected to take place shortly.  With that and the new bio-chemists with trans-dermal expertise coming on board, the arranging of manufacturing contracts in medical marijuana-legal states should see the Tetracan patch available by second quarter, 2012.


Photo credit: Chris Yarzab via flickr

The Controversy
The use of medical marijuana is controversial.  Many people erroneously assume patients who use medical marijuana are only seeking a legal way to get high. The negative connotation of teenagers getting high at pot parties has been a part of the cultural landscape for decades.

“The industry needs to shed the word ‘marijuana,’ focus on the holistic, therapeutic pain relief benefits of topical applications and through focused marketing efforts within the 15 Medical Marijuana States, eventually become acceptable to mainstream American society,” says Alekson.

It is important to understand Tetracan is a reliable delivery system that ensures the pain relieving effects of cannabis is transmitted to the patient; it will not make you high.  The transcutaneous patch helps patients with symptom management — pain, nausea, anxiety — but without the psychotropic effect.

Currently 15 states and Washington D.C. allow the use of medical marijuana.  They are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.

As part of its marketing approach, MMDS will be encouraging states that have already legalized medical marijuana to expand the laws to include animals.  In an effort to organize and empower participants, the Medicine Wheel Project was created.  It is a group that advocates for medical marijuana patients by coordinating information and working politically to change laws.

The Controlled Substances Act makes possession and sale of marijuana a federal felony. One of President Obama’s 2008 campaign promises was to allow states that legalize medical marijuana to dispense it according to its laws.  However, the DOJ (Department of Justice) has recently reversed itself on this issue.  So, the debate continues.


Photo credit: 420magazine.com used with permission

What the Medical Community Says
The transcutaneous delivery of marijuana is new but many medicines have been delivered this way for years.  Nicotine patches to encourage smoking cessation and nitroglycerine for angina are some that prove efficacious.  Transcutaneous delivery for pain control has been a staple for many chronic medical conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), cancer, Crohn’s disease, arthritis and HIV/AIDS.

Smoking cannabis is not that efficient in getting the medicinal benefits to the patient.  Absorbing cannabis transcutaneously allows for better dosage control.  The patch delivery — once it reaches market — could make a significant difference in the quality of life for both humans and animals.

The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) does not currently have a position on the use of medical marijuana patches on animals but it has done studies on the use of Fentanyl patches for pain relief in dogs.  Fentanyl patches in dogs and cats are considered within normal veterinary practice standards. I wondered about dogs and cats trying to scratch the patch off, making the delivery less than optimal.  Having visited my veterinarian recently with one of my pups, I decided to ask.

Dr. Gang answered that the application of a patch in animals is achieved by shaving a spot on their upper back, using surgical glue to apply and wrap in coban for security.  This should prevent the pet from being able to dislodge the patch, potentially missing the appropriate dose or eating it and getting it lodged in their intestines.

Alekson told me in a phone interview the bio-chemists MMDS has hired are working on topical applications for animals in place of the patch.  It will be similar to applying the monthly Frontline flea and tick treatment that every pet parent is familiar with; a simple and easy way to treat your pet holistically.  Remember, cannabis is a natural plant, not a synthetic chemical.

What Do You Think?
Currently, MMDS is recommending the use of Tetracan patch for dogs, cats and horses.  What do you think about medical marijuana for pets?  Would you let your furry friend use medical marijuana?

Related Stories:

Justice Department Could Crack Down on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

U.S. Government Declares Marijuana Has No Medical Value

Medical Marijuana Bill Could Pass in Illinois

Photo credit: Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (www.wamm.org)


Fiona T.
Fi T.3 years ago

Let's go natural

christy s.
christy s.5 years ago

I think this is a wonderful, humane idea. I agree that vets would probably charge a lot of money for it. Wouldn't it be great if we could somehow create cooperative vet clinics all around the country with maybe one supervising vet and several vet techs. I think it's incredibly sad that there are so many homeless pets & so many older people living alone, in need of company, but can't afford to adopt a pet. To simply rescue an animal from a shelter can cost hundreds. I understand why that is, but it makes it hard to adopt a rescue. I get my rescues by word-of-mouth or sometimes they just show up on my doorstep. Another thing is so many senior living facilities don't allow pets. That's just wrong. We're depriving seniors and homeless pets of priceless companionship and love. I know humane societies often charge less for services than regular vets, but still there's got to be a way to fix all this. Maybe I'll get right on that, after I make sure all homeless families have homes, all jobless people have jobs, all hungry kids have enough food--you all know the story. I personally couldn't live without my little ones. I'd go without food myself to make sure they have food. I live alone, on a fixed income and it gets harder all the time. But they're worth every sacrifice.

Laurie S.
Laurie Siederman5 years ago

Some day in the future we will look back at how foolish man was when we realize the enormous benefits of marijuana and how much it can help. I have chronic pain and have found no relief thus far where the side effects were worse than the illness. Hope this dog benefits and the good news spreads.

Tom Sullivan
Tom C Sullivan5 years ago

Just have plenty of snacks for your doggie,

Yvette S.
Past Member 5 years ago

Pups on pot.....you go skippy!

Lois M.
Lois M.5 years ago

A naturally occuring substance that can treat a variety of symptoms is a definite plus. I would prefer it's use over chemically processed materials. Good article!

Kathleen P.
Kathy Parsons5 years ago

Why should an animal suffer pain anymore than a human? Maybe it's because they don't express their pain, it's easier to ignore. I think Tetracan and any other pain relieving medication that is suitable for an animal would help to ensure it had a good quality of life.

Russell R.
Russell R.5 years ago

For the safety of my pet, I would have to test it out on me, first! I think I'm getting myself a horse. My bird is to small!

Shelby Hooyenga

Perfect idea, green is the way to go. Stay away from pharmaceuticals!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lilithe Magdalene

It's a great idea, but I think most pets would not have these diseases if they were fed their native diet, rather than kibble full of grains.