September 28, 2022 4 min read
We just saw the headlines and maybe you saw it too: "California Fully Legalizes Medical Cannabis for Pets!" Please excuse the incredibly click-bait title here. Pets cannot consume your traditional medical cannabis products. What this headline should say is that for the first time, a sovereign US state extends animal access to a cannabis product the same way we as humans do. But of course, this very politically correct headline wouldn't garner hundreds of thousands of views, right?
All jokes aside, California legalized AB1885 along with a series of other cannabis-centric bills aimed at doubling down on their legal cannabis industry. Under the new law, veterinarians can legally prescribe CBD products to pets. Before this was a law, vets could only "discuss" such products with the pet owners; and the way in which something is either a discussion or a prescription was muddled in loopholes. Before too long, vets just avoided the topic altogether, thus endangering pets even more. This type of forward-thinking support from a state where the majority of the pet owners see their furry friends as replacements for a spouse or children are often the same demographic that puts their dogs in strollers and cats on a leash. Having the state fully support the health and well-being is a HUGE win for the CBD industry and sets the market that much closer to having the FDA finally approve its products.
We'll keep today's piece short and sweet. How did California get to this point? And post-signing, how do you and your furry friends benefit from a law like this?
Back in 1996, California passed Prop 215 which effectively opened up the state to medical cannabis to qualified patients. This meant that depending on what you were suffering from, doctors could prescribe you cannabis to ease down your symptoms. Fast forward 20 years and the state eventually passed Prop 64, opening up cannabis to be consumed recreationally by users of age. Then, in 2018, the Farm Bill passed, effectively removing hemp from the Schedule of Controlled Substances and paving the way for the explosion in hemp-derived CBD. So over the span of 20-ish years, the United States effectively turned the stigma away from cannabis and hemp as illicit drugs to something therapeutically sound enough for humans to consume and enjoy.
Despite the win for humans however, pets were not included in this, even though all lifeforms with a vertebrate share the same endocannabinoid system (ECS) thus making all cannabinoid-containing products safe and beneficial for them. What ended up happening was that on the legal cannabis end, businesses and users alike were suffering from over-taxation which spelled out disaster for controlling the illicit market. And in the same breath, on the hemp side of things, the FDA does not recognize hemp-derived CBD products as truly beneficial for humans and animals due to a lack of thorough scientific research. Do you see the pickle?
The pickle that exists is that while there are all these laws that effectively open up access to cannabis and hemp products, the bureaucratic apparatus cannot allow for widespread adoption without a government telling the apparatus to do so. So California, being the magical nanny state that it is, changed the narrative and finally allowed the apparatus to do its job!
As of September 18th, California passed a mega cannabis package that included everything from updated tax standards to workplace consumption protections to even opening up the communication line for more responsible guidance on prescribing potentially life-saving cannabis medications to pets.
Authored by State Representative Ash Kalra, AB1885 passed unanimously in both houses of the California legislature. Representative Kalra stated "...existing law allows veterinarians to discuss the use of cannabis products in animals, it does not let them recommend it for their own animal patients. This is a serious legal oversight, as veterinarian recommendations help pet owners make safer, more responsible decisions when they consider giving their animals therapeutic substances."
This law DOES NOT mean you can give your pets traditional THC products. Remember, THC is a known carcinogen to pets. The law simply allows vets to create bona fide guidance based on unbiased scientific research to prescribe pet owners a cannabinoid-centric prescription regimen for the pets that need it.
Before AB1885, vets have been 'discussing' using CBD to help pets alleviate seizures, decrease arthritis pain, ease anxiety, and stimulate appetite for pets suffering from cancer. These solutions are proven features of cannabidiol in general, per the various independent studies conducted. And by extension, CBD brands including Envy CBD have developed hemp-derived products using simple ingredients to further that narrative. The fact that a state as large as California can see the reasoning and the evidence to support it only further expands on what the industry has been trying to achieve all these years: ACCESS.
We're not here to push a narrative that CBD is your see-all, end-all, cure-all magic snake oil to help you get over anything and everything that is plaguing you. However, the available science behind it suggests otherwise. This is by no means the end of a very long road to true legalization. But it's a start. The next steps involve getting cannabis in general off the Controlled Substances List to open up widespread research into the effects it holds on humans and animals. Only then can we finally see widespread adoption for the magical plants we call cannabis and hemp.
All this being said, if you are a pet owner and looking to capitalize on helping your furry friends achieve a more enjoyable, wellness-centric life, talk to your vet about your non-pharmaceutical options. Who knows, they might even prescribe you a healthy dose of Envy CBD's Pet Series in the interim while more definitive regulations are being set.
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