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"Cannabis Real Talk: What Science Says" Q&A With Stephen Cital

Isabelle Perlman

Vet Show @ Home is officially this month, but we couldn’t wait to hear more about Stephen Cital’s session, “Cannabis Real Talk: What Science Says.” 

Cannabis medicine for animals is a topic that seems to grow (no pun intended) with more interest each year in the veterinary community. This lecture is for vets who are curious about the use and benefits of cannabis in the clinic, and for the ones who are unsure how to correctly speak to their clients about this stigmatized topic. 

Q - Tell us about yourself! How did you get started in veterinary medicine, what are your interests and specialties, and what have you been up to during COVID?

A - I have had an interesting career path. Originally, I wanted to be a human nurse…but after starting clinics for human nursing I found people are gross. Nice to talk to though (most of the time). After that, I decided veterinary medicine is really my passion. We get the medicine, the science, and animals all in one. Since then I have worked in almost every aspect of the ‘veterinary industry,’ from GP and specialty practices to zoo and pharma, to research in academia. The academia setting is by far my favorite. I have become more focused in my practice areas and have specialized in anesthesia and pain management with a dash (or dab) of cannabis research.

Since COVID hit, my life has been affected pretty dramatically. As an avid lecturer all over the country and world, I was saddened to not get to travel and meet all the awesome professionals that keep my spirit upbeat. Also, having family who contracted COVID was a real eye-opener about life’s priorities which have since been re-adjusted. Besides self-reflection, I have finished some writing projects and relaxed! That’s not easy to do for a busy body like me, but I did enjoy 4 months of no full-time employment or obligations.

Q - We're really looking forward to your session, "Cannabis Real Talk: What Science Says.” What's your inspiration behind speaking on this topic and what's your background/education in this?

A - This is quite the topic and one that is really fun to discuss. We as a society have largely stigmatized the use of this plant despite the mounds of scientific evidence for its practical therapeutic utility. The catalyst into learning about this topic really started with personal use and clients asking. It somehow snowballed from there, and I found myself working with groups on studying this plant's compounds and its clinical uses; with that came lecturing on the data at hand.

Q - We don't want to give away what the science says… but what are your thoughts on cannabis for animals and why do you believe it's important for vets to know about? 

A - Cannabis is one of those topics we are all curious about. If you have ever had a client ask about it and you didn’t know what to say, this is truly the lecture for you. We will talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Q - What are some common misconceptions about cannabis for animals?

A - When people first hear about cannabis for animals, their first question or statement is: “You want to get my pet high?” when really, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Only one molecule out of hundreds from the cannabis plant does that, and I rarely recommend products where the animal will become intoxicated.

Q - What are you most looking forward to at Vet Show @ Home?

A -  While I’m sad I didn’t make it to a few of my favorite [Vet Show] cities like Chicago, London, and New York, I’m excited to present on this topic and expand the reach of this knowledge. Drinks after the lecture will be much cheaper from home also ;) 

Cann-not wait for Vet Show @ Home? Register now for the most fun and interesting free online event of the year!


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