With all the widespread and sometimes conflicting medical news on the use of cannabis for pets, having a trustworthy source of information is important.
Thankfully, we now have one.
A website that doubles as an educational portal was launched recently by the Veterinary Cannabis Society (VCS) for veterinarians as well as pet owners, and cannabis product businesses.
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How this helps patients and doctors
This follows years of the exploding popularity of cannabidiol use for pets, as it’s shown promise in helping treat many ailments naturally: from cancer to anxiety in pets, while helping relieve arthritis, pains, and other illnesses that affect them in old age. But despite this, there are still many questionable claims, uses, and products out there.
This is especially challenging in certain states where veterinarians aren’t even allowed to legally discuss the use of CBD with pet owners.
“Veterinarians today struggle to discuss cannabis with pet parents, as they either lack the knowledge or want to avoid potential legal implications,” explains Dr. Trina Hazzah, VCS President and Co-Founder. “No veterinarian should have to risk their license or livelihood simply because they are trying to do what is right for their patient.”
In addition, VCS says that 68% of veterinarians won’t share advice on cannabis use with pet owners simply because they don’t have the knowledge to do so. That’s also why the VCS was launched last year – to bridge the education gap when it comes to the correct use of cannabis for sick animals. Members of the VCS will now be able to enjoy access to general information on its use while taking advantage of many educational resources available including reviewed articles, podcasts, a research library, presentations, and videos.
“What we are striving for is an educated and empowered global veterinary medical cannabis community,” says Dr. Hazzah, whose interest in medical cannabis grew when she was researching about integrative approaches for cancer-ridden pets. The VCS is also working with organizations, parties, and certain states so that reasonable legislation for the veterinarian use of medical cannabis can take place. They are also dedicated to establishing a standard for the quality of products.
Important need for our furry friends
It’s only normal to want the best for our pet dogs and cats, and the use of cannabidiol has shown to be more than promising. In fact, CBD could very well be the treatment we’ve all been looking for to extend the lives of our pets, and add life to their years.
“Dogs actually have a higher concentration of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans,” says Steve Sakala, a co-founder of Mana Artisan Botanics. “This makes dogs more receptive to the benefits of CBD.”
“In general, older pets, just like older humans, seem to have a bit more of a noticeable outcome from using CBD. The higher energy levels in older pets when administering CBD is quite pronounced,” he explains.
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PS: Don’t give THC to your pets
Animals are sensitive to the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in cannabis plant. Its dangers are prevalent: “If you ask any of our emergency room veterinarians, they would all say that the number of cannabis-intoxicated dogs has increased by leaps and bounds since legalization of medical and then recreational marijuana for humans,” said UC Davis professor of vet sciences, Karl Jandrey, to the Los Angeles Times. Dogs getting cannabis poisoning from humans accidentally leaving edibles laying out in their home, or them picking them up from the street, parks, or beaches in recreational states, is becoming increasingly common.
However, many people are unaware of the impact THC can have on pets, which is why we sorely need an educational resource such as what the VCS launched.
Nevada is on the forefront of the industry: earlier this year in June, they became the first state that authorized vets to recommend and give CBD thanks to a new law that protects veterinary practitioners from any legal action if they decide to treat their pet patients with CBD. The law took effect since October 1st.
Steve Yeager, an assembly member who sponsored the bill, said that it clarified vet rules around the use of CBD. Additionally, they can also talk to pet owners about it and consult with them about its use, dosage, and even administer the medication to pets directly. “They can do all that without having to worry about being disciplined by their board, which was really the main concern behind the bill,” said Yeager. Meanwhile, in Michigan and California, vets are only allowed to consult regarding cannabis use but aren’t allowed to administer them to their pets.
With the widespread use of cannabis in more than 40 states medically, and 20 states recreationally, there still are no guidelines on the appropriate use of CBD for pets even with a flourishing market as entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to develop products made for pets.
“I think we fast-forward six years later, and the landscape is just really different in the state,” Yeager says. “I think there’s a comfort level with the cannabis industry, with CBD, that just was not there in 2015.”
We expect the pet cannabis industry to continue booming, with the hopes that more vets and pet owners will have the knowledge and guidance that they need in order to safely and confidently medicate their cats and dogs.