PERSPECTIVES: Cannabis for pets? part 1 of 3. A pet owner’s perspective…

Pet owners around the country, especially those who live in states with legal cannabis, are wondering if their pet would benefit from medical cannabis therapy. There seems to be a lot of talk about cannabis these days…on the news, in various magazine publications, through social media and in conversations going on all around us. Perhaps they’ve read an article on this subject in their favorite pet news outlet or maybe they’ve seen CBD products in their local pet store or even overheard friends at the dog park discussing it. But with all the constant chatter on this subject, how do they “weed out” the good information from the bad? Where is a pet owner to go for reliable information? Their veterinarian? The pet supply store? A dispensary? Google?
Despite the seemingly endless supply of outlets for insight on this topic, pet owners beware! There is a lot of erroneous information out there…and even well-meaning people can inadvertently give incorrect advice if they aren’t well versed in not only medical cannabis, but pet health needs as well.
From the pet parent perspective, this can be an interesting, yet daunting topic. Consumers are regularly bombarded with all types of marketing campaigns…sometimes without even realizing it. How does someone seeking credible information avoid being misled? Ideally, getting information from multiple sources and cross-checking facts can help point one in the right direction. When doing online searches, look for websites that are informational or educational in nature instead of those seeking to promote products. It can be helpful to learn who is providing the information, what their background is, how long they have been researching the subject and if there are any potential conflicts of interest. There are plenty of longstanding organizations that seek to provide information from experts in the field, which would be preferable to an individual posting their opinions on a particular subject. Looking for scientifically based information that can be backed up with research is the gold standard.
Obviously, the best resource pet owners have when it comes to their pets’ health is their veterinarian. Whether or not an individual pet is a candidate for medicinal cannabis is an important discussion to have. However, this can be a bit tricky. At this point in time, it is illegal for veterinarians to recommend, administer or dispense cannabis products in their practice, due to the schedule 1 status imposed by the DEA. There are some exciting changes happening on this front, but progress will take time. California veterinarians will soon be able to have this important conversation with their clients. Ultimately, as the pet parent, discussion with your veterinarian is the first and most important step in this process, but in the foreseeable future, owners may find that deciding on which products to use and administering them would have to be done at home. Pet owners must do their own research and ask questions to be the best advocate for their pets.

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