Now that clinical pot is legal in 29 U.S. states and is treating human patients for pain and diseases, it is only a matter of time before it becomes a pet-friendly alternative to synthetic medicine. California, who has had legal medicinal weed since 1996 and just approved it for recreational purposes, is now paving the way for veterinarians to prescribe the remedy to their animal patients.
One veterinarian, Dr. Tim Shu, has founded VETCBD, a clinically tested manufacturing supplier of CBD tinctures for dogs. CBD is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant with 80 cannabinoids that relieve ailments like inflammation, nausea, epilepsy, and chronic pain. Although it is legal to produce the medicine, it is still illegal for veterinarians to prescribe since the medical bill only allows doctors to recommend treatment to humans. Because of this, Shu’s products are only sold in California dispensaries not vet offices.
To allow vets the ability to supply and control doses of CBD oil to pet owners, research must first be conducted to understand its effects and the recommended dosages. Regulation is important for pet owners to understand the difference between THC and CBD and to not self-prescribe their pets. Animals that ingest THC could become unresponsive as levels vary depending on the strain of cannabis and the pet’s weight and metabolism.
Recently, Cornell University conducted one the first studies on CBD for dogs. They found that more than 80% of their patients were relieved from most of their pain and illnesses. More studies like this one need to continue in order to move the process along.
The law also needs to be changed to include pets in the medical marijuana loop. In San Jose, State Assembly Member Ash Kalra has begin to push legislation in order to let vets write pet CDB prescriptions and educate owners on its use. However, there is push back from the California Veterinarian Medical Association as they claim the FDA needs to get involved to approve dosage amounts and conduct more research.
For now, the discussion still remains of how much involvement veterinarians will have in the entire process. But, the fact that CBD oil has already been proven to improve the lives of both humans and animals, it is only a matter of paperwork to ensure the safe use of the plant on our beloved pets.