Cannabis legalization in the United States is both a topic of interest for humans and animals alike, and where people fall on the spectrum is just as diverse. Some are 100 percent committed to the decriminalization of cannabis, while others are skeptical and ask for further research and proof of its benefits. Wherever you lie on the spectrum, we can take a glance into what we already know.
At The Vet Set, education surrounding your pet’s health is important to us — we want you to be armed with the best information so you can decide what’s best for your pet. Examine cannabis with us and how it relates to your pet’s health and join in on the conversation in today’s post.
Cannabis has many chemical compounds, but the most recognized and studied include:
Both of these compounds have been studied for their therapeutic properties in relation to nausea, sleep support, inflammation modulation, and immune health — piquing the interest in those seeking an alternative to pharmaceuticals.
Cannabis laws are dynamic and ever evolving so they may change, but here is where we are currently.
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug and is considered to have no medical value.
Hemp is legal and companies can use this crop to extract CBD.
On the federal level, their position stands that cannabis has no medical benefits, while the individual states beg to differ otherwise. Whatever is known or not known about cannabis, the federal level places professionals in a strained position when it comes to discussing cannabis use in to human, with the veterinary space even more blurred and unclear. In states such as California, it is strictly forbidden by the veterinary medical board to discuss medical cannabis use at all, while Oregon is able to discuss this practice under strict documentation in the pet’s file.
Controlled Substances Act of 1970 – In 1970, the CSA added THC to the Schedule I list and defined marijuana as:
All parts of the Cannabis sativa L. plant — seeds and resin extracted from every part of the plant.
Hemp Bill of 2013 – This bill built a framework around industrial hemp from the Cannabis sativa L. plant. When growing and harvesting hemp, the concentration of THC can never exceed 0.3 percent. This law protects those who extract CBD from the Schedule I ruling of Cannabis sativa L. and makes it legal in the US.
In 2016 the DEA classifies hemp as a schedule I substance, but because an agency cannot uphold or change a law implemented by Congress, it cannot be enforced.
In 2017, the Congressional Research Service came out with a report that better distinguished the definition of hemp. When referred to as Cannabis sativa, it is being referred to the industrial, recreational, and medicinal uses. They also clarified that industrial hemp is used interchangeably with the term “marijuana.”
When you do a search online, because of its nature, there is only anecdotal information on its uses — typically from pet owners. The information can range anywhere from a “miracle cure” to it showing no effects. Dosages and ratios (THC to CBD) are also all over the place with suggestions as just adding a drop to their water or in their mouth and watch for signs.
Because there are no regulations, this can make cannabis use for your pet extremely dangerous, and if you are familiar with the concentrations of the compounds you could be doing your pet a grave disservice.
As you would with any pet medical inquiry you would turn to your vet, but when it comes to cannabis, vets are in a tough place. Most states haven’t even legalized cannabis, so having the right information on cannabis dosing and administration hasn’t even been established in pet medicine.
What You Can Do
When it comes to cannabis, truly the research and information is based on the research you do. You can decide on a CBD pet product, you can always request a certificate of authentication (COA) and observe the concentrations of the product you have. You can also ask around for more information from others who have used it, but be very thorough. Ask about what kind of animal they have, how much it weighs, and how they administered it.
The federal government stands firmly on the fact that cannabis has no health benefits, so the truth of the matter is, no one really knows if it will ever be available to veterinary medicine.