A Cannabis Cure-All for Your Pet? Proceed With Caution

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Watching a loved one suffer is stressful. Medical cannabis users say the drug alleviates levels of pain, but could it also help your sick furry friend?

Although many pet owners are already using the drug as medicine, experts warn it’s wise to take caution.

“The problem today is that there is no scientific data that supports the benefits of using cannabis products on pets and therefore, the medical claims are not evidenced based,” said Annemarie Del Mugnaio, Executive Officer with the Veterinary Medical Board.  “Veterinarians are treating a higher number of toxicity cases where dogs have come into contact with cannabis and ingested enough to cause them to become very ill.  We really have no idea what’s in the hemp/cannabis pet products to be able to confirm their intended use or benefits and these products are not FDA approved or regulated.”

According to the DCA Veterinary Medical Board, veterinarians in California cannot prescribe medical cannabis because it’s deemed a schedule I drug and licensees are prohibited from writing a prescription or recommendation for the drug. A veterinarian may be subject to disciplinary action for violating state or federal prescribing laws.

Meanwhile, a growing number of companies are marketing cannabis products for pets despite questions over legality, and pet owners are giving cannabis edibles and topical ointments to sick pets.

Most of these pet products, which aren’t regulated, contain cannabidiol or CBD, a chemical compound found in cannabis that doesn’t get pets or humans high. They contain little or no tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the cannabis compound known for its psychoactive effects.

Medicinal cannabis for pets is being sold as pet medicine at many licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

The DCA is tasked to regulate both medical and recreational cannabis through the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) and is responsible for issuing distribution, transportation, laboratory testing, and dispensary (sale) licenses beginning in 2018.

Medical cannabis is legal in 28 states, however, it remains illegal under federal law.

For updates on prescription medical cannabis for animals, or to check the license and license status of a Veterinarian, please call the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Veterinary Medical Board at (916) 515-5220, or visit their website at vmb.ca.gov.

For more information about the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, visit their website at bmcr.ca.gov.

 

Physical Therapist Agrees to Revocation of License

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SACRAMENTO – A Southern California Physical Therapist has agreed to have his license revoked as part of a stipulated settlement with the Physical Therapy Board of California following his conviction on fraud charges.

Eddie Choi’s license revocation will be effective March 11, 2015.

In March 2013, Choi plead guilty to illegally paying others to refer patients to him. Choi paid an acupuncturist $3,322.07 to refer Medicare beneficiaries to California Neuro-Rehabilitation Institute located in Los Angeles, which he and a partner owned. Between January 2010 and March 2011, the acupuncturist referred approximately 220 Medical beneficiaries to California Neuro-Rehabilitation Institute. California Neuro-Rehabilitation Institute then billed Medicare for 220 patients for physical therapy services which were never provided. Medicare suffered a loss of $1,058,047.26 for fraudulently billed services.

Choi was obligated to inform the Board of his plea within 30 days of the occurrence. He reported his conviction seven months later.

In June 2014, Choi was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

The Acupuncture Board of California has been notified of the acupuncturist related to this case.

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The Physical Therapy Board regulates more than 27,000 licensees who practice physical therapy in California.  The license status of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants can be verified by visiting the Board’s website at www.ptbc.ca.gov.  Information about filing complaints against the Board’s licenses is also available on the Board’s website.