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California Legalizes Cannabis for Pets

Pet parents in California are celebrating this week with the passing of Assembly Bill 1885, which has granted veterinarians the right to recommend cannabis to their furry friends.

Previously vets had been granted the right to discuss cannabis with pet owners, but not recommend it, and the potential disciplinary sanctions then were so unclear that most vets just decided to keep quiet about cannabis altogether and not risk losing their license.

The Summary of Assembly Bill 1885 Veterinarian Recommendation and Cannabis for Animal-Use authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra reads:

“AB 1885 would allow veterinarians to recommend the use of cannabis on an animal patient for potential therapeutic effect or health supplementation purposes and requires the Veterinary Medical Board to adopt guidelines for veterinarians to follow in recommending the use of cannabis-derived products on an animal within the veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

The bill also allows cannabis products intended for use on an animal to be accessed in licensed dispensaries if they adhere to cannabis regulations and relevant manufacturing, packaging, and labeling standards.”

AB 1885 recognizes that there are not many studies or trials proving the efficacy of cannabis use in animals, due to its illegal status with the Federal government. However, it does mention the clinical findings of a CBD-based product for dogs by Cornell University in 2018. Cornell found the product was “safe and efficacious for pain in dogs with osteoarthritis, chronic joint pain, and geriatric patients.”

The bill reasons that the healing properties of cannabis extend beyond CBD and that THC is also a valuable cannabinoid for pets. But the problem was pet parents medicating their pets without the proper guidance. Veterinarians just weren’t willing to discuss something that could cost them their livelihoods.

The Bill calls for the Veterinary Medical Board to “establish guidelines for veterinarians to recommend the use of cannabis on an animal patient.” It also says that new, pet-inclusive language will be added to the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, so that new products coming to market for pets will be tested and labeled just like every other dispensary product.

This is definitely a win for the cannabis movement, and for those who would rather medicate their pets with something natural than with a pharmaceutical.



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