January 03, 2019

Survey Probes Veterinarians' Comfort Level With CBD in Dogs

How much do veterinarians know about the veterinary use of CBD, and how likely are they to discuss it with clients or recommend it for patients?
By Amanda Carrozza
CBD for DogsAccording to recent survey results published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, a majority of veterinarians are comfortable in their knowledge of the differences between tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and marijuana, as well as the potentially toxic effects of marijuana in dogs. Of the 2130 veterinary professionals who completed the anonymous online survey, most (61.5%) also felt comfortable discussing the use of CBD in veterinary medicine with colleagues. However, less than half of the respondents (45.5%) were comfortable discussing the topic with clients.

The reluctance was not due to lack of interest from pet owners. In fact, only 8% of respondents indicated that they had never been asked about CBD products. Instead, concerns about the legalities of discussing and recommending products weigh heavily on veterinarians’ minds—with 53% indicating concerns about the legal status of cannabis.

To this end, respondents said they felt that their state veterinary medical associations and state boards did not provide sufficient guidance for them to practice within applicable laws, although those practicing in states where cannabis is legal were somewhat more likely to report that they had received sufficient guidance. Overall, 82% of respondents reported that CBD should not remain a Schedule 1 drug under federal law and 70% said the same about marijuana overall.

RELATED:
“Certainly, current laws and political forces make it challenging for veterinarians to gain the information they need to feel confident discussing CBD with their clients and offering sound advice, yet it is imperative for the veterinary field to rise to this challenge,” explained the study authors, which included faculty and researchers from Colorado State University, North Carolina State University, and the Veterinary Information Network.

When asked if they ever recommend CBD products for their canine patients, 66% said they never do, 12% said they sometimes recommend them, and just 5% said they “frequently” do. Not surprisingly, veterinarians and clients in states where recreational marijuana is legal were more likely to talk about the use of CBD therapies than were those in other states. Recent graduates were less comfortable discussing the topic than their seasoned counterparts.

When veterinarians did discuss or recommend the use of CBD products to treat a canine patient’s ailments, the most common uses were for pain management, anxiety, seizures, and storm or fireworks phobias.

“Given the positive feelings expressed by veterinarians in this study, it is suggested that all those affected by both the potential benefits as well as the risks, work together for legislative change that would allow for the expansion of knowledge needed to best capitalize on this potential medical tool for companion animals,” the authors concluded.

Sign up to receive the latest news in veterinary medicine.

Latest Issue

Client Education

January Client Handout  

American Veterinarian