Veterinarians in Michigan can now consult on cannabis and hemp therapy

Published Jan 11, 2021 10:00 a.m. ET
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Michigan pet owners can now legally ask their veterinarian for advice on CBD for pets. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a new bill that will allow pet doctors to speak with clients about industrial hemp and marijuana for pets. The bill simply states that a vet has the legal ability to consult with the pet owner about the use of cannabis or industrial hemp as a treatment for animals.

House Bill 5085 opens the door enabling pet owners to have a conversation about cannabis and CBD for pets with a veterinarian. The door will also be opened for vets to approach the use of CBD and THC pet products. The bill passed both chambers of the Michigan Legislature in December.

How the law has changed

Before the passing of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s bill, your veterinarian, who you trust to keep your pet healthy and happy, could not recommend or discuss a CBD product for your family pet. However, the salesclerk at the downtown doggy spa can suggest and discuss CBD products for your pet, which seems a little unsafe.

Veterinarians today look upon themselves as being fairly knowledgeable about the use of marijuana as a treatment for pets. Surveys conducted in 2018 indicate veterinary boards and professional associations are not providing enough guidance on cannabis and animals. Most vets today report knowing a bit about cannabis and hemp therapy, but only half of those who answered one survey said that they felt comfortable discussing the subject with pet owners.

Information is flowing from everywhere when it comes to CBD for pets. The pet wellness trend has owners of fluffy friends opening their wallets more and more. Pet products with CBD, the compound found in cannabis, are derived from the hemp plant, not the marijuana plant. Nielson Global Connect, a market analytic giant, surveyed 100 vets and documented the fact that vets appear to have a greater knowledge of CBD than human physicians do.


The studies on the effects of CBD on dogs have been few and far between, with no formal research conducted. Scientists have acknowledged the relationship that the endocannabinoid receptors have with cannabinoids in keeping the body balanced and healthy. Anecdotally there is also the suggestion that CBD can treat pain, assist in the control of seizures, and that it's especially beneficial for neuropathic.

There is no conclusive evidence, according to Dr. Klein AKC's Chief Veterinary Officer, but CBD is being used for these benefits also.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties

  • Anti-nausea effects

  • Anti-anxiety impact

  • Possible anti-cancer benefits

  • A study in Colorado State is being conducted to evaluate the use of CBD in the treatment of resistant epileptic dogs. The CHF (AKC Canine Health Foundation) who is sponsoring the study, is hopeful that this will be the first study to gain scientific data about epileptic dogs and the use of CBD.

    As with any drug or supplement, there can be both positive and negative side-effects from using a new product. Although the scientific data on the side effects of CBD for dogs is nonexistent, we do know about those that impact humans like:

    • A decrease in blood pressure

    • Drowsiness

    • Dry mouth

    Final words

    Sales for pet products are growing like weeds today, and CBD for pets is at the top end of available pet products. This noticeable growth comes as the US Food and Drug Administration, which oversees foods and drugs, including those for human consumption, refuses to acknowledge CBD for pets.

    Survey reveals 9 out of 10 participants would recommend CBD for pets


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