Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
With two-thirds of the country legalizing cannabis in one form or another, it was inevitable that discussion would turn to using it for pets that are in pain.
Why the Popularity?
In areas where medical marijuana or cannabis is legal, the drug is used to help treat patients for everything from nausea from cancer chemotherapy treatment to muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis and helping glaucoma patients in reducing eye pressure. It can be smoked, taken orally as a capsule of ingested as an oil. There is a growing number of advocates who are extolling the virtue of using cannabis oil to treat seizures, stress, arthritis, back pains and a host of other issues in pets, particularly dogs. They argue that cannabis doesn’t damage internal organs and has no threatening side effects if used properly.
Look Before You Leap
One of the first states to legalize cannabis was Colorado. At a forum held earlier this year by the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, one presenter offered results of a 2017 AMA study that showed that only 31% of products offered by 31 CBD online retailers were correctly labeled. Another veterinarian panelist discussed the research she had been conducting after having seen many dogs euthanized after suffering epileptic seizures as a result of side effects from medication. In her double-blinded study, she discovered that dogs had a significantly lower number of seizures when taking cannabis.
The issue today is that there aren’t any FDA-approved cannabis supplements for pets. That and the uncertain labelling issue pose a problem. Any veterinarian or pet-related supplier recommending cannabis faces serious potential legal risks. Unless and until the FDA gives its okay about the use and dosage of cannabis for pets, this issue is best left unaddressed regardless of how well-intended you may be. Don’t even intimate anything like this to a pet owner. While a pet owner has every right to give cannabis to their pet, encouraging or implying that it could help opens up a potential legal door if something happens to the pet.
A Better Solution
Pet owners whose pets carry the same burden of angst and care that parents with ailing children do. They’ll do and try just about anything if they think it will help. You can best assist by keeping them informed about best and approved practices while keeping them updated on issues like cannabis for pets.
At the same time, monitor and track the progress of cannabis. It’s very likely and just a matter of time until cannabis will be approved for use in animals. Have a marketing plan in place with potential reputable suppliers so when it is approved, you’ll be ready to roll it out and get a jump on your competitors. Also be prepared to work with and cite reputable veterinarian sources for their advice on the use of cannabis.