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How to Ask Your Vet about CBD for your Pet

October 12, 2019 3.5 min read

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What should I ask my veterinarian about CBD?

Right now, there are only a handful of states where a veterinarian can open the conversation about CBD and pets. While more states are expected to follow suit, veterinarians in many states currently can’t broach the subject at all or can only discuss CBD when you start the conversation. 

Veterinary board regulations on discussing CBD vary from state to state, and your veterinarian may not be comfortable, or even allowed, to further the conversation until the state board has determined that there’s scientific proof of safety and efficacy. 

The only true way to know what your veterinarian can and can’t talk about is to start the conversation. You should feel free to ask questions. The law may limit what they can discuss, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying to get as much information as possible.

First things first: what veterinarians can’t talk about

Two main topics: They can’t suggest obtaining CBD as a potential treatment for your pet, and they cannot recommend any particular products.

So, what can veterinarians talk about?

Depending on the state in which they practice, that state’s regulatory board and the individual veterinarian’s comfort level, they can talk with you about the potential benefits and possible harm of CBD.

How to start the conversation 

There’s no ‘blueprint’ for the perfect conversation between you and your veterinarian. But there are a couple of questions that will help establish a dialogue and get the ball rolling.

Start simple: ‘What can you tell me about CBD for my pet and my pet’s condition?’

Then, and this is important, listen. Veterinarians are highly-trained professionals whose sole concern is the safety and well-being of their patients. They should be your ‘go to’ resource for information about CBD, your pet and your pet’s individual condition. 

If the answer to this question is, “I’m not allowed to talk to you about this,” or, “There isn’t enough evidence and scientific data about CBD at this time for me to be comfortable talking about it,” take that as reason enough to discontinue the conversation.

Ask about certificates of analysis and how to read them.

The Certificate of Analysis, or COA, shows lab results as to what a product is comprised of and the amounts of compounds. A COA will report how much CBD the product contains, as well as information concerning any contaminants, like fungicides, pesticides, heavy metals and more. Your veterinarian deals with COA’s as a matter of routine and can help you better understand the packaging you see on CBD products.

Over the past several years, the FDA has issued several warning letters to companies that marketed CBD-containing unapproved new drugs for humans. As part of those actions, the FDA tested levels of CBD in the products and found that many of them did not contain CBD at levels claimed on their package. A COA can help to ensure levels of CBD in a product, as well as levels of other compounds.

Remember: While not having a COA is an almost certain sign of a CBD product to avoid, having a COA isn’t a guarantee of purity or efficacy.

After that, let common sense rule

Veterinarians have a tremendous responsibility to safeguard the health and well-being of our pets. And they take that responsibility very seriously.

So, if your veterinarian is willing to discuss CBD with you, ask questions. Voice your concerns. Bottom line, take advantage of their expertise. And wait, as they are waiting too, for the research to validate CBD. You and your pet will be happy you did.

Finally, remember this is an ongoing conversation

This is an emerging science. In fact, until the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, it was illegal to grow hemp in the United States, much less extract CBD oil from it and study its health benefits for pets.

Today, scientists and veterinarians at Canopy Animal Health and across the globe are performing due diligence and conducting the important research necessary to prove CBD's safety and efficacy.

As more research comes in, more and more state veterinary and regulatory boards may allow their member veterinarians to discuss CBD products.

So, remember, each time you visit your veterinarian is a great opportunity to ask them more about CBD and how it might help your pet.