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CBD for Animals: A Cautionary Note

CBD products are a hot topic in veterinary medicine right now, but it's important to not get ahead of ourselves as professionals with a responsibility to patients and clients.

Whatever your approach in thinking about the use of CBD, the truth is that these products are in the beginning stages of established approval for veterinary purposes. The future looks promising and there are studies being done, but in the meantime, veterinary professionals should take caution in what we recommend and say to clients.

Dr. Charlotte Lacroix, founder and CEO of Veterinary Business Advisors, returns to a Quick Cup of Knowledge to give her professional advice to veterinary teams regarding CBD. She warns not to treat the safe use of CBD products for animals as an established fact rather than something in early processes.

Medical Precautions with CBD

Everyone knows that CBD products will be a billion-dollar industry. It’s certainly becoming so after many states’ legalization of cannabis for humans. The reason for caution in the veterinary industry is two-fold: (1) the exploration and progress of cannabis is almost exclusive to the realm of humans, not animals, and (2) generally, we have no idea what’s in that vile.

Due to the unregulated nature of the CBD industry, and as professionals with an ethical responsibility to do no harm, Dr. Lacroix feels that we are not in the position yet to recommend CBD products in our practices. Without a proven knowledge of its effects on animals using the conventional standards all other medical treatment products are held to, it’s hard to say with confidence that so-and-so product with have such-and-such effects.

Legal Precautions with CBD

The legal complications of talking about CBD products in the veterinary clinic and the reason that even recommending them is a stretch, is that you can’t use it as a drug. It’s not a legal drug yet, and you can’t use it to “treat” a condition.

So, you may ask, how would veterinary professionals currently approach CBD? Would it be a therapeutic substance? It couldn’t be considered a supplement, right? You get the idea.

Because of the complexity, it’s probably better to avoid recommending it to clients altogether rather than risk unintentional side effects or legal trouble.

All in all, Dr. Lacroix says we must avoid confusing human FDA law and animal FDA law. She recommends going to the AVMA website for reliable resources on the topic and to your state VMA for information about individual state laws to avoid issues.

Possible Talking Points About CBD

At your practice, CSRs or other team members may experience clients approaching them with questions or wanting consultation about CBD products they’ve acquired themselves. Many may think, as Dr. Natalie Marks points out in the interview, that if clients don’t get a satisfactory answer about CBD they’ll take their business elsewhere.

Dr. Lacroix’s advice isn’t to decline to answer their questions, but to train your team with talking points that explain why you can’t provide a recommendation at that time.

Explain that this is a fairly new industry and that until we can get products that are labeled for animal use, it’s difficult for you to provide a current recommendation. Explain that you can’t confirm the concentration—these products are unregulated.

Dr. Lacroix is sure to mention that the future for CBD in veterinary medicine looks very promising. However, there are risks involved in recommending something before it passes through the standard processes of scientific scrutiny, approval, and industry regulation.

Stay in the Know!

For those who want to learn more about cannabis products in veterinary medicine, explore related courses taking place at WVC's 92nd Annual Conference.

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Topics: Veterinary, WVC, CE, Quick Cup of Knowledge, Continuing Education, WVC Academy, Veterinarian, Veterinary Technician, Veterinary Training, Cannabis, CBD, Cannabinoids, Charlotte Lacroix, Veterinary Business Advisors, 2020

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