Though some states like New Jersey are setting their sights to expand their medical marijuana programs, there’s still a giant population without access: our furry friends.
While physicians can legally recommend cannabis for patients, veterinarians are still not permitted to, despite the abundance of availability of CBD products for animals.
While it is a hot topic among veterinarians, many are wary of taking any position that may put their license to practice at risk. Even suggesting it to a pet owner as an option for treatment can lead to trouble.
“No one wants to take any risk. You don’t want to be the pioneer and risk your license”, said Dr. George Cattiny, a veterinarian in New Jersey.
However, expanding medical cannabis to veterinarians has caught the attention of lawmakers.
A bill in the California
Assembly that is headed to the state’s Senate may spark a change. The bill would “protect state-licenses veterinarians from disciplinary action for discussing the use of cannabis on animals.”
Though medical marijuana for pets is “good in theory”, says Dr. Robin Downing, a veterinarian in Colorado, there is no formal scientific research regarding cannabis for dogs. Like humans, dogs have cannabinoid receptors, creating the hypothesis that marijuana could help treat the same symptoms of illnesses as it does for humans.
Some pet owners aren’t waiting for science or the law to catch up with what they view as an effective and safe way to make their pets more comfortable. There are currently many cannabis products made from hemp that are available for pets. Hemp usually contains very little THC (which is toxic to animals), but contains CBD. Quite a few hemp-derived edible pet treats are available online and even at veterinarian offices.
However, many vets do urge caution when using hemp products for pets. Because they are treated like supplements and not pharmaceuticals, they have not undergone the same testing as medicines do. Different products will have different levels of their active ingredients, and can severely harm an animal if too high.
For now, we don’t know for sure if animals can benefit from medical cannabis in any form, but that could change as research develops.
Would YOU consider giving your dog medical marijuana?