The veterinary profession, like many these days, is deeply entangled in the hotly debated issues surrounding cannabis.  Throughout the US, practitioners are faced with questions on a regular basis.  Traditionally, vets would turn to their local veterinary medical associations, state boards or the AVMA for clarification on timely issues facing the profession.  These days, it’s not so “black and white.”  Within the past few years, there have been slowly evolving attitudes and perceptions on the issue of cannabis in veterinary medicine.

The stance taken from some of the professional organizations has evolved from; not engaging at all, to slowly realizing that the issue isn’t going away, to reluctant acceptance, and an eventual acknowledgement that the organization needs to provide guidance to its members.   In fact, the AVMA ‘policy’ regarding cannabis has recently disappeared from it’s website.   Instead, a newly revised statement on the issue appears on the homepage.   This paper is titled “Cannabis as Drug, Food, or Supplement in Veterinary Medicine” and is dated February 15, 2019.  This new paper attempts to provide an informational summary on available science and law as it relates to the profession.  The statement can be viewed by clicking the Cannabis: a legal update link on the bottom of the main page or below:

Also, as part of the AVMA’s new ‘Lead and Learn’ online CE program, there are multiple webinars members can sign up for convenient CE hours.

Last year, the first cannabis related program was launched.  It was titled “What Veterinarians Need to Know about Cannabis.”   When I viewed this live webinar back in 2018, I was somewhat dismayed by the overall negative tone and lack of practical information for the practitioner.

Fortunately, on April 20, 2019, a new, updated version was launched as a live webinar titled “Cannabis in Veterinary Practice: A Clinical and Legal Update.”  I was pleased to see that this current version is much improved over the original, both in content and perspective.  It included some basic science, relevant studies and helpful resources to assist the practitioner in furthering his or her own education.  This should be available as a recorded webinar sometime after Friday, April 26, 2019.

This program is also available via the AVMA/Axon icon link on the left of the AVMA’s home page

Or directly via

In addition, there is an upcoming webinar titled

“Cannabis in the Clinic: Laws, Risks, and Realities for Employers.”   A date has not yet been posted for the live version.

More updates will follow as they become available.

On a final note, it is encouraging and refreshing to see that the AVMA is slowly stepping up to help its members on their journey of cannabis education.  As the nation’s leading advocate for the profession, representing 93,000 members, the ability to engage and promote the potential for cannabinoid therapies as a viable option will help fulfill the organization’s vision of “promoting and advancing a strong, unified veterinary profession that meets the needs of society.” 🙂


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