A recently proposed California bill could pave the way for veterinarians to recommend cannabis as treatment for pets.
Since California legalized recreational cannabis, some residents have now turned their focus to allowing the use of medical cannabis for animals.
Currently, depending on state laws which are not always clear, pet owners can purchase CBD products for their pets. Yet that doesn’t always mean these pet owners can seek professional advice from veterinarians who would know how to give pet owners the safest options for their animals. It is currently illegal for veterinarians to discuss medical cannabis as an option for treatment.
This issue has led California Assemblymember Ash Kalra to propose Assembly Bill 2215. The bill would mandate the California Veterinary Medical Board to build guidelines so that veterinarians could discuss medical cannabis as an option with pet owners. AB-2215 would also protect these licensed professionals from “disciplinary action” for choosing to talk about cannabis treatments.
While Kalra’s bill is supported and sponsored by the California Veterinary Medical Association, the board itself did not pass the motion for the bill. There was some disapproval in the bill’s language, while others wanted punishment for any veterinarians who might recommend a dangerous dose of cannabis.
As the details of this proposal are re-examined, pet owners in California have no choice but to look towards other alternative sources for information. Without official guidelines on cannabis treatment for pets, owners often get their advice from the internet which is not always reliable nor is it patient specific.
With 20 years of experience as a veterinarian, Dr. Gary Richter shared that medical cannabis, “is at the forefront of the conversation in the veterinary world right now,” during his presentation at the California Veterinary Medical Association last October. San Jose-based Veterinarian Liz Hughston also noted that pet owners look to medical cannabis to ease anxiety, itching, pain and even noise-phobia in cats and dogs. Hughston first considered medical cannabis as a treatment for her own dog after a bad reaction from a pharmaceutical medication.
Although veterinarians in California are legally barred from recommending any type of medical cannabis treatment for their furry patients, the state of Colorado already allows its vets to offer the option of cannabis for pets. Hopefully the Golden State won’t be too far behind.