New Study Suggests Veterinarians are Still Hesitant to Discuss CBD Treatments

New Study Suggests Veterinarians are Still Hesitant to Discuss CBD Treatments

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In the last 6 years, the cannabinoid known as CBD (cannabidiol) has gone from something almost no one had heard of to something almost everyone wants to know more about. With the recent federal legalization of hemp, the hemp-derived CBD industry is poised to grow faster than it already has.

And the questions that surround CBD are not confined to the human realm. Dog owners are increasingly interested in what CBD can do for their canine companions. But a recent study shows dog owners may have to find other avenues of information regarding CBD – avenues that do not include their dog’s veterinarian.

A recent online survey conducted by researchers from Colorado State University, North Carolina State University and the Veterinary Information Network collected responses from some 2,130 vets across the country and “gauged US veterinarians’ knowledge level, views and experiences related to the use of cannabinoids in the medical treatment of dogs.”

While roughly 61% of respondents felt comfortable discussing CBD with their colleagues, only 45.5% were comfortable discussing CBD with the pet owners they see. That means more than half of vets won’t even broach the subject of CBD with owners whose pets may benefit from it.

And while vets “practicing in states with legalized recreational marijuana were more likely to advise their clients and recommend the use of CBD,” surprisingly “[r]ecent veterinary graduates were less likely to recommend or prescribe CBD.”

One has to wonder while vets who are newer to practice would be less likely to recommend something we know much more about than we did 5 years ago. What we have learned about CBD in that time has been overwhelmingly positive, with even the World Health Organization declaring CBD to be not harmful. “At its November 2017 meeting, the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) concluded that, in its pure state, cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm.”

It would seem that the natural tendency is for those new to the vet business to be more likely to recommend CBD as time goes on as medical practitioners in general become more comfortable with the substance, but so far the data doesn’t seem to have borne that out.

One key to veterinary reluctance on CBD seems to be a wish for more information and guidance. “Participants felt their state veterinary associations and veterinary boards did not provide sufficient guidance for them to practice within applicable laws,” the study’s abstract reads in part. “Recent graduates and those practicing in states with legalized recreational marijuana were more likely to agree that research regarding the use of CBD in dogs is needed.”

Another reminder that there is still a long way to go to unleashing the full potential of the cannabis plant for those who need it, whether they have two legs or four.

1 COMMENT

  1. As a veterinarian who does see beneficial effects of CBD in pets, I want to answer your question as to why more vets don’t recommend CBD. We are subject to federal law to keep our vet licenses, and it is ILLEGAL in this country to recommend marijuana-derived CBD, which is a Schedule 1 drug. My FDA license allows me to dispense Schedule 2 drugs and up, but not Schedule 1. It is unfortunate, for many believe the marijuana-derived CBD oil is more effective than the hemp-derived form, as the THC can potentiate the effects of the CBD. But if we are to recommend CBD oil to clients, we have to specify that is must be hemp-derived or we could potentially lose our licenses! And there are many vets that may not 1. Know that CBD oil can be either hemp or marijuana-derived, and 2. That hemp is now legal in the US. Finally, most vets prefer definitive studies over anecdotal reports, and because of the current laws there are few peer-reviewed studies on CBD in pets.

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