HB 5085: Veterinarians Can Now Discuss CBD with Pet Owners

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CBD products have become increasingly popular in recent years — for humans and pets alike. Curious about the potential health and wellness benefits of CBD, many pet owners have turned to their veterinarians for advice on CBD. According to a recent survey, 63% of vets are asked about CBD oil for pets at least once a month and 52% of pet owners have tried CBD for pets because of a vet recommendation.

In many states, however, answering questions about CBD puts veterinarians in a legal gray area, as products derived from cannabis are subject to a complex web of state and federal laws. Thanks to a recently-enacted law in Michigan, HB 5085, vets can now consult with their clients about the use of CBD and THC for their pets without putting their license or livelihood in jeopardy.

HB 5085 is an important new law for veterinarians, pet owners and pets alike, as it allows pet owners to get accurate information and specific advice about CBD products that could boost their pets’ well-being. Below, we outline what this law says – and the reasons why you might ask about CBD on your next visit to the vet with your fur babies.

What Is HB 5085?

House Bill 5085 (HB 5085) is a 2019 bill sponsored by Michigan state Representatives Gregory Markkanen, Hank Vaupel, Douglas Wozniak and Sara Cambensy. First introduced in October 2019, it was approved by the Michigan House and Senate in 2020 and signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on December 29, 2020. The purpose of this bill, now known as Public Act 280 of 2020, is to allow veterinarians to consult with pet owners on the use of marijuana and CBD in certain situations.

The bill came about when an Upper Peninsula veterinarian, Dr. Kellie Holmstrom of Marquette, approached Rep. Markkanen about the challenges she has faced in her own practice. Her clients would often bring their pets in for a visit, and would ask questions about products that contain CBD oil and THC (the psychoactive ingredient in *marijuana*). Under the then existing laws, it was unclear whether Dr. Holmstrom and other vets could legally answer those questions.

WithHB 5085, Michigan state law now allows vets to provide insight and advice to pet owners about giving CBD and THC products to their pets. This may include advising clients on possible interactions with prescription medications, providing information about appropriate serving sizes, and even informing clients about how CBD and THC could help their pets. According to the bill’s legislative analysis, this law will allow veterinarians to become “a trusted source of information, in a marketplace with many competing and confusing claims,” which will benefit both pets’ health and their owners’ peace of mind.

Should I Ask My Veterinarian About CBD for My Dog or Cat?

Research on CBD, or cannabidiol, is still in its early stages. However, studies have shown that CBD may be helpful in reducing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, pain, cancer and arthritis in both humans and pets alike. For this reason, many pet owners are interested in learning more about this more natural way to improve their dogs and cats’ health and wellness.

Currently, there are no CBD products that have specifically been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in pets. This is unsurprising, as the FDA does not regulate CBD for use in humans at this time, with the exception of one prescription medication that contains CBD. However, the FDA does advise pet owners to talk to their veterinarian about appropriate supplement options for pets.

Importantly, while HB 5085 allows vets to talk to pet owners about both CBD and THC products, most CBD products on the market contain no more than a trace amount of CBD. That is because under federal law, hemp (from which CBD is extracted) can contain no more than 0.3% THC. In comparison, marijuana may have as much as 30% THC. If you are worried about giving your dog or cat something that could make them feel high or stoned, stick to CBD products produced from American-grown industrial hemp.

To date, only a few studies have been performed on pets regarding the use of CBD. A 2018 study found that 80% of dogs with osteoarthritis who were given CBD showed improvement in their pain and mobility. In 2019, researchers found that dogs who were given CBD along with anti-epilpetic medicines for seizures had significantly fewer seizures compared to the dogs that got a placebo instead of CBD.

These studies are promising, but keep in mind that they are still limited in scope. Similar research conducted on how CBD may help humans may be applicable to cats and dogs, given that CBD is thought to work by affecting the endocannabinoid system that all mammals have. However, until scientists perform more studies on how CBD specifically affects pets, your best option as a pet owner is to consult with your veterinarian about using CBD for your dog or cat.

If you do decide to give your pet CBD after talking with your vet, there are a number of options for administering it, including treats, oils, and creams. In 2018, researchers found that giving CBD oil to dogs with epilepsy was more effective than applying a CBD cream or giving the dogs a gel CBD capsule. Your veterinarian can help you decide whether CBD is appropriate for your dog or cat, the best way to give it to them, and the right serving size for their weight/size and condition.

Choosing a CBD Product for Your Pet

There are a lot of CBD products on the market, many of which make outlandish promises about potential benefits. Because the FDA does not regulate CBD products, it can be hard to know what to buy. If your vet doesn’t recommend a specific product, there are a few things to look for when shopping for CBD for your pet.

First, you should only buy a CBD product that has been independently tested and makes those laboratory results available online. You can review the product’s certificate of analysis (COA) to find the CBD and THC content of a given product and to make sure that it is free from pesticides and heavy metals. If a particular pet CBD product doesn’t offer a COA, steer clear.

Second, look for products that are made from hemp that is grown in the United States, which will ensure that it contains no more than 0.3% THC to comply with federal law. While THC is believed to be safe for dogs and cats in low doses, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lists THC as a toxic substance for dogs and cats. If you want to avoid THC entirely, look for a product labeled as a broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate. These products may also be labeled 0% THC or THC free.

Green Wellness Life offers a number of independently tested CBD products for pets, each of which is made from industrial hemp grown in the United States. Depending on your dog or cat’s specific needs, you may want to try:

No matter what product you give your dog or cat, carefully observe them to see how it affects them. While side effects with CBD are usually rare and tend to be very mild, watch for symptoms like excessive panting, lethargy, vomiting, and loss of balance. If you notice any of these issues, they may have consumed too much CBD.

At the same time, look for potential positive changes after administering CBD to your pet. For example, if you gave your dog CBD on the Fourth of July and he is calm during fireworks (when he would usually be panicking), the CBD is probably working to calm his anxiety. Similarly, if you give your cat CBD for arthritis and notice that she is running and jumping like she used to, you may be able to conclude that the CBD is working for them.

Buy Top Quality CBD Products for Your Pet

As a pet owner, you want what is best for your fluffy family members. For some pets, CBD may be a good way to improve certain health conditions or their quality of life. Under HB 5085, you can now talk directly to your pet’s veterinarian so that you can make an informed decision about whether CBD is right for them.

At Green Wellness Life, we aren’t medical professionals, and cannot diagnose or treat you OR your pets. What we can do is offer our own experience with CBD, along with the latest research on the possible benefits of CBD. If you’d like to learn more or need help shopping for a high quality, independently tested pet CBD product, give us a call at 1-866-244-4223, fill out our online contact form, or click the live chat button.


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