Cannabis Use and Pets

​What Veterinarians Need to Know

Learning Opportunity

Earn 1 hour of veterinary CE credit at no charge by viewing the on-demand webinar What Veterinarians Need to Know About Cannabis. Available exclusively to AVMA members.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, federally designated as a schedule I controlled substance. Despite this, more than half of U.S. states have passed legislation permitting medicinal use of marijuana in humans under strict guidelines. Some states have even passed laws permitting its recreational use.

These state laws are in direct opposition to federal law, so it is important for veterinarians to understand and be able to communicate marijuana’s legal status with our clients. The danger of marijuana toxicity in companion animals makes it even more important that veterinarians be able to diagnose and treat cases.

Whether fielding questions about marijuana use in pets or managing a case of acute toxicity, veterinarians need a working knowledge of marijuana and its status in veterinary medicine. The document Cannabis: What Veterinarians Need to Know, which is available exclusively to AVMA members, will help you advise clients and treat patients who may have been exposed to marijuana. This comprehensive background document provides information on the legal status of medicinal marijuana use in veterinary medicine; how cannabinoids function; marijuana risks to pets; clinical signs and treatment of acute marijuana toxicosis; and the effects of chronic marijuana exposure.