Cannabis is now for pets

Rebecca Olmos,
Staff Writer

Products containing cannabidiol, better known as CBD, are becoming more common for cannabis consumers to find in their local dispensaries.

CBD is the part of the cannabis plant that does not get you high but instead it has been proven to provide a variety of medical benefits for humans including relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, seizures and more, according to Project CBD, a non-profit group that promotes and publishes the latest research relating to CBD.

Pet owners are now able to give their animals relief from these same ailments through specially formulated pet products that use CBD. VetCBD is one product that can be found in California marijuana dispensaries.

Stephanie Gascon, business development manager for Dope Magazine, is a pet owner and also lives in the Bay Area. She heard about VetCBD through local dispensaries and gives her two-year-old blue nose pitbull, Rhino, VETCBD every day.

Rhino is a rescue dog that was found tied to a pole. He suffers from separation anxiety as well as two torn cruciate ligaments on his back legs which cause him limp.

VetCBD helps Rhino calm down and relieves the pain in his legs so he can enjoy his walks. It is also cheaper than the surgery that would help fix his legs.

“I truly think he knows it provides pain relief,” Gascon told The Pioneer. “I notice he’s not whining or whimpering in pain when we go for our little walks. The surgery is still on my list of things to do but what are you supposed to do when you don’t have $12,000?”

VetCBD is a CBD tincture, a liquid cannabis extract, designed for animals by a veterinarian, Tim Shu. He said that traditional prescription medications for seizures, anxiety and pain for dogs can have side effects.

These side effects can leave pets feeling lethargic or cause liver damage. VetCBD can be used as an alternative to the traditional prescription medication.

Shu told The Pioneer that the problem is not that California laws currently prohibits veterinarians from distributing cannabis-related products for pets, but that it does not allow them to even speak to their clients about it as an option or how cannabis may affect their pet.

The California Veterinary Medical Board released a statement earlier this year saying while they do not have a formal stance on the topic of pets and cannabis, they do side with the federal laws. These laws say that cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug that cannot be incorporated into veterinary practices.

Shu explained that when a pet owner considers giving their pet cannabis there are things like medical history and current medication that must be taken into account. If veterinarians are restricted from being able to discuss cannabis to clients who have questions, then pet owners are left to seek out their answers from non-medical resources.

Shu and VetCBD are lobbying for bill AB-2215 which would allow veterinarians to answer questions and discuss medical cannabis with their clients. The bill was introduced in February by assembly member Ash Kalra.

This bill would still prohibit veterinarians from distributing cannabis medications, but it would also prohibit the Veterinary Medical Board from denying or revoking a veterinarian’s license or disciplining them for solely discussing the medical use of cannabis for pets.

Allowing veterinarians to discuss CBD as an option for a pet’s medical conditions could give pet owners a cheaper alternative to expensive surgeries. It could also provide pets with a medication with little to no side effects.

The bill is still in the amending process and waiting to be approved by the California Senate.