Veterinarians in Canada want to use cannabis to treat pets


Veterinarians in Canada are pressing to authorize the use of medical marijuana for pets

Parliament Hill will visit the dogs today as veterinarians press MPs to authorize the use of medical cannabis for pets.

Veterinarians are bringing five dogs to the Parliament Hill to call attention about what they consider a clear omission in the legal regimes for medical and recreational cannabis.

Canadian law doesn’t allow vets to prescribe marijuana for pets, although previous studies have shown that it could be beneficial to treat pain, seizures, anxiety and more disorders.

On top of it, the lawmakers require that the cannabis products must have a label warning the users to keep the products out of the reach of children. However, they say nothing about the potential dangers for animals.

Dr. Sarah Silcox, president of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine, has said that they have been told that the omission is a “lapsus” that will be considered when the cannabis regime is reviewed in three years. But she says it is necessary to do something about it and do it right now.

And it has to be done right now because our pets age much faster than we do and they cannot wait three years for a revision of the law.

Because veterinarians cannot prescribe cannabis for animals or tell the pet owners what the most suitable cannabis products are, many people are administering cannabis to their animals without prescription. This can be a problem because very often they buy it in the black market and they know nothing about its safety and the dose. Canadian veterinarians can prescribe almost any drug, including fentanyl and other opioids and even products that contain cannabis. But they cannot prescribe cannabis itself.

Veterinarian preliminary research suggests that medical cannabis has benefits to treat pain from arthritis, epilepsy, anxiety and inflammatory conditions.

It has been proven that medical cannabis is very useful to treat cats because they are more sensitive than dogs to other pain medicines normally used for animals.

Silcox’s group and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association are pressing the government to allow veterinary use of medical cannabis. She said that the policy adviser to Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, answered that the issue was not a priority but that it could be considered once the Cannabis Act is reviewed within 3 years.

Fortunately, the Canadian government is going to review the cannabis laws in order to add edibles and oils to the list of legal products in 2020. Few changes are needed to add vets to the medical practitioners authorized to prescribe medical cannabis to the pets.

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