Bill would remove veterinarian gag rule on CBD

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It is hard to avoid hearing about the marijuana-derived product CBD and its alleged health benefits for people and pets. But one place you won’t hear about those benefits is at your veterinarian’s office.

Veterinarians were prohibited from suggesting CBD or THC products for pets under threat of losing their license.

But that could change under proposed legislation before the state Legislature.

“When the kid behind the gas station can talk more about your CBD and your pets than your vet can, there’s something wrong there,” said Janet Tombre.

She has been offering CBD products for people and pets for three years at her store The Grassy Knoll in Eastown. In that time, she has seen attitudes change.

“A lot of times people just came here as a last resort. Nobody could help their pet,” Tombre said.

She supports vets being able to be involved in the discussion of CBD treatment for pets.

“Ultimately, we are not veterinarians. We don’t know how it reacts with other medicines,” she said.

CBD is said to help things from anxiety and appetite to seizures and arthritis with claims of spectacular results.

“We got her on CBD and it completely changed her life,” said Chauncey Pearce, whose chihuahua-pug mix Lucy was a rescue dog that had social anxiety and epilepsy leading to repeated long seizures daily.

Pearce’s vet prescribed phenobarbital, which stopped the seizures but had significant side effects.

“Basically, it really gave her no quality of life. She slept a lot, really didn’t want to do anything else,” She said.

Her vet was not allowed to suggest CBD.

“She can go in public now and not be so overwhelmed with everything around her. Like the fact that she’s here right now was completely unheard of a year ago, it just wouldn’t have happened,” Pearce said Friday.

Earlier this month, a bill was introduced in the state House of Representatives that would allow vets to recommend CDB products if they choose.

Dr. Jeff Powers, a vet on Beaver Island and former president of the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, testified this week before the agriculture committee, advocating for the change.

“I’ve had a number of cases where clients have had remarkable results, as well as I have used it on my own pets,” Powers said.

Powers said people are using CBD and THC products without the support of their vets, which can be dangerous for those using products that aren’t safe or are ineffective.

He said pets were left out of Michigan’s medical marijuana legislation as an oversight, and that needs to be addressed.

Powers said that while CBD is not a cure-all, it is a tool for vets, who would be able to help with getting the best and safest products and prescribe dosages.

“It puts the veterinarian back in the leadership role to help direct clients,” Powers said.

The bill has a long way to go before it becomes law, but there is no outspoken opposition so far.

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