Lit History: How Cannabis Allowed a Blind Dog to See Again

Cannabis has a long, fascinating history. Lit History is a weekly series that tells follow that history by sharing some of the long forgotten stories of weed’s contribution to medicine, science and culture. Today, Schwilly uncovers a nearly lost account of cannabis curing canine cataracts.

“The Puppy Show,” illustration from the book ”Dogs: How to Care for Them in Health and Treat Them When Ill” by E. P. Anshutz 1903

During a desperate attempt to save his friend’s dog’s vision, a man stumbled upon a surprising cure for canine blindness: cannabis.

Illustration from the book ”Dogs: How to Care for Them in Health and Treat Them When Ill” by E. P. Anshutz 1903

This cannabis cure was first published in “Zeitsch. fur Homeapathice,” or a “Time for Homeopathic” by B. von Reichberger, a German book that has since been lost to history.  Fortunately, Reichberger’s story was reprinted in the fifth volume of “The Homoeopathic Recorder” in 1890 in an  article titled ”A Cure for Blindness in a Dog”.

Reichberger was studying natural treatments to write a book on homeopathic remedies when he discovered the cure for his friend. The friend was completely heartbroken over the illness of his Newfoundland dog, Pluto. The lovable dog had suffered from a inflamed sore on his head that spread and caused a ”dense white coating” over both of his eyes.  The cloudy coating had left Pluto completely blind.

Reichberger reassured his friend and predicted that “his dog would regain eyesight inside of a week,” according to Reichberger’s text.

Utilizing a cannabis tincture, he prepared a solution of two drops of the tincture mixed with a teaspoon of water.  This dose of the cannabis mixture was given to Pluto orally every two hours. Reichberger also applied a few drops of the tincture directly to the dog’s eyes every two hours.

After three days of using the cannabis treatment, Reichberger wrote that he started to see results. “On the third day the dog commenced to see, for although the eyes still looked opaque he walked everywhere.”

By the fifth day, Reichberger documented that the dog could see. “The eyes were as clear as ever, not a trace of the opacity remaining.”

Pluto was cured!

Reichberger reported that the cure was noticed by townspeople, “As Pluto was a well known and favored personality in the whole town this astonishing cure created much surprise.”

“A Cure for Blindness in a Dog” by B. von Reichberger published in The Homoeopathic Recorder Volume 5 1890

Reichberger’s account was reprinted a decade later in “Dogs: How to care for them in health and treat them when ill” by E. P. Anshutz in 1903. The anecdote appeared as a cure for cataracts for dogs.

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