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New York, California, Nevada and Utah have introduced bills to allow veterinarians to prescribe marijuana and begin the path for clinical research
Dr. Jasmine Streeter, DVM
Published: 03 May 2018

Quality of life and wellness are at the forefront of every pet owner’s mind, yet longer pet lifespans bring age-related disorders.

Many owners with geriatric pets are now turning to medical marijuana, specifically cannabidiol (CBD), as a solution for a variety of chronic and debilitating illnesses. Surprisingly, even with a rise in CBD use and interest for pets, current laws haven’t kept up with the trend.

Although recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon, it is still registered as a Schedule I controlled substance. The Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board (OVMEB) currently advises veterinarians under its jurisdiction to use caution in discussing marijuana use with clients. There has been little research conducted on the effects of THC and CBD compounds due to a delay by regulators.

New York, California, Nevada and Utah have introduced bills to allow veterinarians to prescribe marijuana and begin the path for clinical research. The American Veterinary Medical Association's policy-making body said last summer it wants the DEA to declassify marijuana as a Schedule I drug "to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses."

Cannabis has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years; medicinal cannabis was referenced as early as 2900 BC by the Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi.

Cannabis sativa L. can be separated into two main types, non-psychotropic hemp, which is high in fiber and CBD but contains low THC, and psychotropic marijuana which is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis produces cannabinoids, chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Cannabinoids are not only found in cannabis but also in plants like echinacea, cacao and black pepper.

The two main cannabinoid receptors in the body which responsible for helping maintain homeostasis are CB1 and CB2. These receptors are found in a number of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. Dogs contain a large number of CB2 receptors - more than humans - which makes them sensitive to THC.

CBD is currently being considered as a treatment for conditions such as seizures, inflammation, cancer and behavioral issues.

Personally, I have seen CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic results for treating arthritis, dermatitis and anxiety in my pets. I have also listened to countless stories from owners of how CBD treatment has changed their pet’s life for the better. Education and activism focused on furthering clinical cannabis research will be needed to move this budding field forward.

If you or someone you know has used CBD oil to treat your pet, please contact me at [email protected].

I would love to hear your story.

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