Right now, states that have legalized cannabis in some form are allowing its use in some manner. As with everything, there are always people who want stricter controls on its use, and their way is to make it illegal for a veterinarian to prescribe it.
In the past few months, a handful of states in the U.S. have begun to consider legislation that would legalize the prescription of cannabis for dogs. While the bill is far from passing, advocates are hopeful that it could spur further discussion for legalizing cannabis for other animals.
Smoking anything is bad for you, but that doesn’t mean you should smoke something that is bad for you. The federal government is poised to legalize cannabis for all human consumption, but the rules are still a bit murky on cannabis for pets. The Colorado State Veterinary Board recently approved the use of cannabis to treat canine epilepsy, but the issue of whether or not cannabis will be legalized for vets to use in treating their patients isn’t settled yet.
A bill that would allow veterinarians to recommend cannabis products for pets is currently being considered by California lawmakers. Assembly Bill 384 is an extension of a law passed three years ago that allows veterinarians to discuss marijuana with pet owners without penalty. Many products, such as treats, capsules and CBD-enriched oils, are now available for pet owners to purchase. Veterans are legally allowed to talk about them, but they are not allowed to recommend them.
The bill reportedly has unanimous bipartisan support in the Assembly Commerce and Professions Committee and is supported not only by organizations like NORML, but also by the California Veterinary Medical Association.
Our cannabis lawyers in Los Angeles understand that pet owners are essentially left in the dark about how much or what type of cannabis they can give their pets for various medical conditions. Veterinarians cannot comment on the possible effects of a particular product on a particular animal or advise on what dosage would be safe and effective. In the absence of this guide, pet owners are essentially on their own and must guess or rely on the opinion of the dispensary salesperson, even though these people know nothing about the effects of cannabis on animals.
US law prohibits veterinarians from possessing, administering, prescribing or dispensing cannabis or cannabis-related products. California state law recognizes that cannabis can be legally consumed by adults over 21 and that doctors can prescribe it to patients, but the law still does not allow veterinarians to prescribe it to animals. A veterinarian who prescribes cannabis to an animal is violating state law.
AB 384 will change that, but will it be safe? Unfortunately, because this drug is a Class I narcotic, not much research has been done on the safety or efficacy of cannabis for pets. There are also no animal or breed specific quality control measures. This does not mean that cannabis is not useful for animals, only that more research is needed to establish regulatory guidelines. As veterinarians probably know, animals like dogs and cats can be more sensitive to the effects of certain drugs, including cannabis. Side effects may also occur if the animal is already taking another medicine or supplement. Therefore, it is important that veterinarians are able to discuss issues such as dosage with owners.
This bill requires the California Veterinary Medical Board to develop guidelines for veterinarians who recommend the use of cannabis for animal patients. It would also amend the Adult Recreational Marijuana Act 64 to extend it to animal products.
This measure also has its critics. For example, the Cannabis Veterinary Society fears that the bill in its current form will open the door to unscrupulous manufacturers, operators and advertisers targeting a sensitive market without considering the potential consequences.
Animals suffering from cannabis poisoning may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Lack of coordination and balance.
- Lowering of the heart rate.
- Pupils dilated.
- Urine loss.
- Sensitivity to light and sound.
- Excessive salivation.
While it is unlikely that cannabis itself would kill a dog or cat, it is possible that the animal would become so sedated that it would choke on its own vomit.
Pet owners and veterinarians in Los Angeles can report cannabis poisoning to the Veterinary Public Health program. The program is designed to be anonymous to the pet owner and the pet being reported, so the agency can gather information about potentially dangerous pet products – as well as information about possible doses that could be dangerous.
Veterinarians or manufacturers of cannabis products for animals should contact a cannabis advocate if they have any questions or concerns.
The Los Angeles-based CANNABIS LAW group represents manufacturers, dispensaries, suppliers, patients, doctors and people accused of marijuana use. Call us at 714-937-2050.
Additional resources :
Cannabis and pets, Los Angeles CountyThe cannabis plant is a controversial plant from a botanists perspective, but many people are open to using it for its medicinal benefits. Many states have been considering the possibility of legalizing medical marijuana to treat various illnesses, but there is still a long way to go before this happens. Some veterinarians are against the idea of cannabis being used in much of their practice, but others believe it may be a better alternative to some of the medications they prescribe.. Read more about pets project cbd reviews and let us know what you think.
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