BY RUTH HILL R.N.
Cannabis Corner has always been at the forefront of advocating cannabis for pets. Just as the nursing profession has been educating the public in all forms of safe cannabis use through organizations like the American Cannabis Nurses Association, Cal NORML, and the Society for Cannabis Clinicians, we now have veterinarians forming the Veterinary Cannabis Society (VCS).
All non-humans have an endocannabinoid system. Pets, as well as pet owners, can develop endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome. Pets have pain, anxiety, cancer, or seizures. We want pets to recover from their injuries without complications of infection or loss of limb.
According to a Colorado State University (CSU) Study around 3 to 5 percent of all dogs have genetic epilepsy, and 14 million dogs are affected by arthritis. CSU is running two trials at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, studying how effectively CBD can treat osteoarthritis.
In previous articles, Cannabis Corner has detailed how the complexity of the plant makes treating with medical cannabis a specialty medical practice. Education for the provider is akin to studying for board certification in other disciplines. Each species is different. Dogs have very few CB1 receptors, the receptor for delta9-tetrahydrocannabinoid (THC). It is imperative that many pets only be treated with cannabidiol (CBD).
“The VCS is committed to bringing together veterinarians, pet parents, and cannabis companies to ensure the appropriate and safe use of medicinal cannabis in pets”. Their website shows the breadth of veterinary reach across the world. From the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine, a Russian and Latina organization, studies in Germany on pets, all coming together and sharing the science of cannabis treatment for non-humans.
Pet cannabis medicine is starting to discover which cannabinoids are most effective. CBDA, for instance is COX-2 inhibitor. COX-2 is an enzyme involved in inflammation, so CBDA might be good to include in the profile of molecules we are looking for to treat that.
While cannabis or (at least) cannabis extracts are permitted for medical use in nearly all states now except Idaho, California is one of the few states that has taken the first tentative steps toward providing some legal clarity on the status of cannabis and cannabinoids for veterinary use. Currently the State Board of Veterinary Medicine can discipline a veterinarian for discussing cannabis for pets.
Several bills in the Assembly are addressing the issue of allowing Veterinary use of cannabis for pets. “SB-627 Cannabis and cannabis products: medicinal use on an animal: veterinary medicine”, failed miserable last year. A new bill introduced this year, AB 384, again by Ash Kalra, would prevent the Veterinary Medical Board from disciplining a vet for recommending cannabis, but does not actually define cannabis products for animals as medicine, as SB 627 did.
What lawmakers fail to understand is recreational laws allow pet owners to acquire cannabis for themselves yet do not have education on the toxicities, product safety and the individual physiology of animals’ vs humans. It is important that pet owners not give the same products as humans. Each species has its own distribution and quantity of CB1 and CB2 receptors. Issues most needing of cannabis medicine are gastrointestinal issues, pain, and inflammation, and seizures. Since the passage of Prop 64, there has been an increase in emergency admissions for cannabis toxicity from pets eating an owners’ edible.
With Oklahoma’s passage of a medical marijuana law, advocacy organizations say there is now only one state in the entire union without some sort of legal provision for medicinal use of either herbal cannabis or cannabinoid extracts: Idaho.
The VCS will be lobbying for clarity in laws state-wide, participating in research on what products are tested, and regulated, under the standards of MAUCRSA, California’s cannabis framework. Veterinarians all over the world are seeing increased toxicosis in pets due to owners using products for humans.
Budtenders are no more able to educate a customer on the treatment of arthritis than is a guy giving you a dry martini in an upscale bar. The tortuous sausage-making of legislative bills for cannabis continues to ensure access is only determined by zip code. To support legislation allowing Veterinarians to recommend cannabis for non-humans go to the website PetCannabis.org and sign the petition.
Contact Ruth firstname.lastname@example.org