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Pot Shots: Proposed Law Would Allow Vets to Prescribe Pot to Pets

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis that's effective for treating pets.

Is it time to slip your doggo some dope? Californians have been using medical marijuana for decades, and now more humans are sharing the benefits of blazing with their four-legged friends.

But before getting your furbaby lit on some good shit, Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) wants to make sure you check in first with your local veterinarian about the risks and options. That's why he wrote AB 2215, a bill that would protect licensed veterinarians in California from disciplinary action for discussing with pet owners the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for animals.

"The law is completely silent on veterinarians advising patient owners or on dispensaries being able to sell anything targeting pets," Kalra said at a reception in February for the Silicon Valley Cannabis Alliance. "It speaks only to human consumption. That's why we need this guidance."

Medical doctors would still be the only professionals permitted to issue medical marijuana recommendations in California but, according to the proposed legislation, "a veterinarian licensed under this chapter shall not be disciplined by the board or have his or her license denied, revoked, or suspended for discussing the use of cannabis on an animal for medicinal purposes."

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that's effective for treating ailments such as anxiety, insomnia, inflammation, arthritis, dementia and epileptic seizures in humans and household pets. Unlike THC, which gets you high, CBD doesn't have the same effect (bummer), but it poses minimal risks for animals (yay!). The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes veterinary professionals advising owners on using CBD or THC products, but some people are ignoring The Man.

Colorado State University is currently researching its potential for treating epilepsy in dogs, and scientists at UC Davis are also conducting their own anonymous online survey looking into cannabis safety and effectiveness for pets.

Public reception has warmed to using marijuana as medicine over the past decade, especially for our kitty and canine companions. Sales figures are hard to find but one San Jose dispensary owner said edibles make up nearly a quarter of all sales, with pet edibles accounting for about 12 percent of edibles transactions. Treatibles was one of the few brands making edibles for pets when Julianna Carella founded the company in 2013. "Pet stores wouldn't even talk to us" or work with them until 2015, Carella said, despite consumer demand for their hemp-based "wellness chews," capsules and oils. Now Treatibles are showing up in specialty pet stores, and some dispensaries are considering carrying more since recreational use became legal.