Cannabis For Pets: New York's Medical Marijuana Program Could Include Pets
State lawmakers in New York have been working to advance a bill that could mean the state's medical marijuana program could soon include cannabis for pets.
The bill was introduced back in March and has now reached the Senate and State Assembly Health Committees. New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin was responsible for proposing the bill, claiming it would tackle problems created by our nation's opioid epidemic.
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New York passed its first medical marijuana law back in 2014. Currently, veterinarians are unable to prescribe or recommend medical cannabis for pets. However, due to the opioid crisis, vets are often not allowed to prescribe sick animals opioids either, for fear their owner will abuse the drugs provided to their pets. Vets are finding it increasingly difficult to provide pets with the care they need as painkilling drugs are becoming increasingly restricted.
By legalizing cannabis for pets, New York would give vets all over the state a new, much more effective method of treating pets with serious conditions to recommend to owners.
Cannabis for pets is not a revolutionary idea, by any means. The University of California, Davis has been conducting research into the topic of cannabis and pets, finding that CBD can be particularly effective in treating animals. However, it is important to note that, whilst CBD can be effective and safe in treating animals, THC has the potential to be toxic for some animals. There is a danger with small dogs and cats, in particular, of consuming too much THC which can be fatal to these animals.
If the bill passes, it is likely New York's medical marijuana program will make a distinction between CBD and THC for pets in addition to being the first in the country to allow vets to recommend cannabis for pets. It remains to be seen how the program will recommend the safest way to administer cannabis to pets, or if this will be left up to the discretion of veterinarians.