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Veterinarian’s Opinions on Using CBD for Pets

With the growing prevalence of CBD products in the natural health sector you have no doubt at some point seen someone advertising CBD for your pets.

Considering CBD is non-psychoactive and has virtually no side effects it is no wonder that many people would consider this as an alternative to prescriptions with more potential dangerous side effects. However, you may be weary about talking to your vet about using CBD products with your cat or dog – but the good news is you shouldn’t be afraid! While your vet may not know much about CBD or medical cannabis, they may be able to refer you to someone who does – and it’s always better to include a veterinarian in the crucial decision making when it comes to your pets’ health.

Here, to give you an idea of what vets are saying about CBD and medical marijuana for pets, we’ve compiled three vet’s opinions.

Dr. Stephanie McGrath

Dr. McGrath specializes in neurology and is currently leading the very first study on the efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) for treatment of epilepsy and osteoarthritis in dogs at Colorado State University. The study will consist of two separate trials at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and hope to at least get an idea of how well CBD is able to treat these conditions in dogs, considering its efficacy for these conditions in humans.

“We have diseases that we don’t have treatments for that work, so there's a problem. A solution to that problem is trying to find a solution that does work, so we are always searching," McGrath said. "That, along with this drug becoming legalized, prompted a lot more questions from clients and veterinarians. And [with] me being unable to answer their questions, that really bothered me. So the more I started looking, the more I realized what a void there was in cannabis research."

Gary Richter, DVM, Integrative Medicine Veterinarian

Gary Richter is an integrative medicine veterinarian based in Oakland, California and considers medical cannabis of all kinds to be a part of the holistic approach to animal medicine. His practice applies a combination of western, complementary and alternative approaches that include acupuncture, chiropractic, Chinese and western herbs, nutritional supplementation and more.

“Animals can benefit from medical cannabis for many of the same reasons it helps people—for pain, seizure control, gastrointestinal disorders, anxiety-related issues. We‘ve also seen positive results with cancer,” Richter told Project CBD.

Dr. Douglas Kramer

At one time, Dr. Kramer worked at a small animal practice in California where patients would occasionally admit to giving their pet marijuana for a medicinal reason – but had never expected to do it himself until his Siberian Husky developed terminal cancer. Now he runs his own mobile practice in Los Angeles that focuses on pain management and palliative and hospice care.

“I don’t want to come across as being overly in favor of giving marijuana to pets,” Dr. Kramer noted. “My position is the same as the AMA’s. We need to investigate marijuana further to determine whether the case reports I’m hearing are true or whether there’s a placebo effect at work. We also need to know what the risks are.”

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