Another Article About CBD and Dogs

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Another Article About CBD and Dogs

Postby Doc E » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:04 am

Pet owners across the U.S. are turning to cannabis to treat their pets when conventional options, like pain relievers, fail them. From cannabis-based extracts and ointments to cannabis edibles, pet owners describe drastic improvements in pets once debilitated by arthritis, seizures, anxiety and other ailments.

Not to be confused with marijuana, which contains the psychoactive chemical THC that can be toxic to pets, cannabis typically contains beneficial cannabidiol (CBD) but little or no THC. Unfortunately, federal and state laws can make it difficult for veterinarians to access cannabis products for pets, and many are reluctant to discuss it with their clients.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) still considers CBD a Schedule I drug, which means it’s technically illegal for veterinarians to prescribe. In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first CBD-containing drug (Epidiolex) for treating a severe form of epilepsy in humans, however, which may open up more doors for using CBD in pets.

Why Do Pet Owners Seek Out Cannabis Products for Their Pets?

While veterinarians must walk a fine line when speaking about cannabis for pets, many pet owners seek out the products on their own, encouraged by anecdotal reports. Lynne Tingle, who operates a pet adoption center and animal sanctuary, uses edible cannabis products and ointments on senior dogs for both health and behavioral problems.

She told Fox Q13 News, “You just see a real difference in their spirit. They’re just not in pain, so they’re happier and they’re moving better … They just get a new lease on life.”1 The news outlet also spoke with the owners of a company that makes cannabis tinctures for treating pet anxiety, loss of appetite, pain and inflammation, as well as diseases like cancer and glaucoma and kidney and liver problems.

Co-founder Alison Ettel said, “What we find is a lot of the animals are coming to us when there are no other options and pharmaceuticals haven’t worked for that animal. They’re at that last resort, and cannabis is really good for those types of situations.”2

Dr. Rob Silver, a veterinarian who wrote the book "Medical Marijuana & Your Pet: The Definitive Guide," explains that one of the most common applications for CBD is for anxiety and behavior issues in dogs. It seems to work very well for hyper dogs, at low dosages, which is a good think since CBD products can be expensive.

Further, cannabinoids have a strong affinity for the brain and nervous tissue, and are able to easily cross the blood-brain barrier. This makes them helpful for certain types of seizure disorders as well as applications like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Pain management is another area where cannabis products shine, even in cases of cancer pain.

The New York Times described the case of a 12-year-old chow-shepherd mix who was diagnosed with bone cancer and unable to tolerate a prescription painkiller. His owner bought him a cannabis-based tincture, and within four months he was able to reduce his painkillers while moving “with some of his old swagger.”3

The tincture also works on the dog’s anxiety, even during Fourth of July fireworks. Silver also described a client with a dog who had osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and was in a great deal of pain. The owner decided to offer cannabinoids to his pet, and after just five days, the dog was able to begin putting weight on the leg with the tumor.

Download Interview Transcript

Research Supporting the Use of Cannabis for Pets

Research on cannabis for pets is sparse at best, but it’s an area with growing interest. Veterinarians interested in recommending cannabis (and pet owners interested in trying it) will be pleased to know that research by Cornell University supports the use of CBD oil in dogs with osteoarthritis.4

In fact, the study found that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with the condition. Dogs with osteoarthritis given CBD oil showed a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity, and no side effects were reported by owners. The researchers are now looking at the usefulness of CBD oil in cats, and additional studies are planned to uncover whether CBD oil is effective in pain management, behavior management, for feline pain and for cancer patients.5

At the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, meanwhile, researchers are looking into the efficacy of CBD for the treatment of epilepsy in dogs. Each dog in the study will receive either CBD oil or a placebo for 12 weeks, then switch to the opposite treatment for another 12 weeks.

This study is still accepting participants; in order to qualify dogs must be diagnosed with epilepsy, have at least two seizures per month and be treated with conventional anticonvulsants.6

Hemp-Based Products May Be an Alternative to Cannabis

If you can’t find cannabis products, or are unable to legally obtain them, an alternative that’s available across the U.S. is hemp-based products. Although they contain no THC, hemp products are high in CBD, giving them therapeutic potential.

In 2014, the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the Farm Bill) was signed into law. This bill allowed for the study and cultivation of industrial hemp on a limited basis. The following year, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 was passed, which allowed U.S. farmers to grow and cultivate industrial hemp more widely, and also removed it from the controlled substances list as long as it contains no more than 0.3 percent THC.7

According to Silver, speaking to Leafly, “In my experience, I found that using hemp-based cannabinoids, which are very low in THC, can cover almost all the bases as far as applications. That’s where I always start.”8 If you’ll be using hemp or cannabis, be sure to start slowly with a low dose, only increasing it gradually while observing for side effects and efficacy.

Side effects such as vomiting or diarrhea, or problems with equilibrium, may indicate you need to reduce the dosage or stop treatment. Generally speaking, though, cannabis products may be useful for treating many of the same conditions in pets that they’re used for in people, including cancer, anxiety, arthritis, seizures and stress.

If you’re considering using a cannabis product in your pet, try to get a “Certificate of Analysis” which should show you how much THC it contains (it should never be over 0.3 percent), how it’s made and whether it’s organic and free of pesticides and other chemicals. As for how to administer the products, Silver says CBD is best absorbed via your pet’s oral mucus membrane, which is why using a liquid tincture that’s dropped on your pet’s tongue may be preferable.

For more information, Silver’s book (“Medical Marijuana & Your Pet: The Definitive Guide”) is an excellent resource.
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